Isuzu UTE A-League Round 2 preview and kick-off times

The football keeps on coming as Round 2 of the Isuzu UTE A-League season gets underway on Friday night. 

All 12 teams return to action after an opening weekend which served up six highly competitive contests, of which three ended in draws with the remaining fixtures decided by one-goal margins.

Here’s what’s at stake in Round 2 of the 2021/22 Isuzu UTE A-League season, and how you can watch every last second of it unfold.

Key stats collated by Stats Perform.


REPORT: Wenzel-Halls gets Aloisi’s men off the mark


The storyline

The ‘Nix return to their home away from home in Round 2, with Wollongong’s WIN Stadium the setting for their clash with Central Coast Mariners.

The Mariners are flying high after defeating Newcastle Jets 2-1 in the F3 Derby. Homegrown talent was put on full display in the gutsy win, with academy products Jacob Farrell and Josh Nisbet bagging the all-important goals. 

For the Phoenix, a 1-1 draw first time out against Macarthur FC was a satisfactory result in tricky conditions, with key import Gary Hooper getting off the mark with his first strike of the season. 

The Mariners won 2-0 the last time these two teams played , a result which snapped a six-game losing streak against the ‘Nix. A second win on the bounce against Ufuk Talay’s team would ensure the Gosford side continue a red-hot start to the new campaign.

The key stat

The Phoenix are on a club-record 12-game unbeaten run in the Isuzu UTE A-League (W6, D6); they have led at half-time in each of their last six games in the competition.

Why to watch

Farrell and Nisbet striking in Central Coast’s clutch F3 Derby win was one of the feel-good stories of Round 1. A lot has been made of the young talent on display emanating out of the club’s academy, but with youth comes the question of consistency – can the young guns bring the heat for a second game running? 

Match Details – Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners
Saturday, November 27
Kick-off: 5.05pm AEDT
Venue: WIN Stadium
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The storyline

Sydney FC host Macarthur FC on Saturday night with both sides eager to notch win number one for the campaign. The Sky Blues drew 0-0 with Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 1’s Sydney Derby, whilst the Bulls and Phoenix ended all square at one goal apiece.

Disaster struck in the the Sky Blues’ midweek FFA Cup win over Sydney Olympic, with star central midfielder Luke Brattan succumbing to an ACL injury in the first half.

With Brattan facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines, attention will turn to how Corica manages to fill the void left by one of the most important figures in his starting XI. 

READ: Sky Blues avoid cup-set, but ACL fears for Brattan

The key stat

Sydney FC have won their last six Isuzu UTE A-League games on the bounce at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium; although, their last defeat at the venue came against Macarthur FC in February 2021.

Why to watch

Both teams possess immense firepower in the final third. Eager to make up for respectively lacklustre attacking performances in Round 1, the floodgates could open for both sides at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

Keep your eyes glued on two of the league’s silkiest creators in Ulises Dávila (Bulls) and Miloš Ninković (Sky Blues). The two smooth movers can pick a lock, pinpoint a pass, and bag a goal at the crucial moment. They shared Johnny Warren Medal honours last season, judged as the league’s two best players throughout 2020/21, and whoever manages to have the greater impact could prove the difference between victory and defeat on Saturday night. 

Match Details – Sydney FC v Macarthur FC
Saturday, November 27
Kick-off: 7.45pm AEDT
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
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Milos Ninkovic of Sydney FC.


The storyline

A vibrant home crowd is sure to create a hostile environment for reigning champions Melbourne City as the Reds return to Coopers Stadium on Saturday night.

City scraped past Brisbane Roar in Round 1 to record a 2-1 victory in less than convincing fashion and if Adelaide suspect Patrick Kisnorbo’s side are even slightly off the pace in Round 2, the hungry hosts will be ready to put their visitors to the sword.

Adelaide head coach Carl Veart was adamant his side deserved more than a point in the aftermath of a 1-1 draw with Perth in Round 1. It was an energetic performance from the Reds, with Craig Goodwin playing a bit part role off the bench. Returning home for Round 2 should spur the young and hungry side to gun for maximum points against the most feared team in the land.

The key stat

Adelaide United have won their last three Isuzu UTE A-League games at Coopers Stadium against Melbourne City FC; their last home defeat to City came in December 2018.

Why to watch

Isaías Sanchez makes his highly-anticipated return to Coopers Stadium as he begins his second stint at Adelaide United this season.

The club legend won every trophy on offer during his initial six-season spell with the Reds, and the Adelaide faithful can hardly contain their excitement at seeing the Spaniard in full-flight once more. 

Round 2 also offers the second opportunity of the season to see City’s star-studded front three in action, with Socceroos trio Andrew Nabbout, Mathew Leckie and Jamie Maclaren all eager to get off the mark in 2021/22 after a fruitless first outing against the Roar. Reds fans in attendance will brush off the prospect of curtailing the fearsome strike force, but deep down they’ll know an immense challenge lies ahead for their side.

READ: Reds return felt right ‘in my head and heart’
MORE: Is this the strongest Oz-made attack in A-League history?

Match Details – Adelaide United v Melbourne City
Saturday, November 27
Kick-off: 7.45pm AEDT
Venue: Coopers Stadium
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Isaías returns to Coopers Stadium on Saturday night.
Image credit: Jordan Trombetta


The storyline

Tony Popovic and Melbourne Victory are riding a wave of confidence after a clutch win on the road in Round 1. But Brisbane Roar impressed as well, albeit in defeat, making this Sunday-afternoon bout a tough one to call.

Victory’s Round 1 clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Western United suggests that Tony Popovic has successfully managed to imprint his coaching philosophies all over his Victory side in the off-season, with resolute defence at the core of the two-time Isuzu UTE A-League Premiership winner’s past success. 

Warren Moon will be heartily excited about the prospect of his Roar outfit dulling Victory’s shine. Brisbane rallied late in Round 1 against City when most expected the travelling Queenslander’s to wilt; a second-half cameo off the bench from Luke Ivanovic saw the Roar storm home, making the Champions earn all of their three points on the night.

It’s unlikely this resolute side will offer any less of a resilient effort against Victory at the same venue, AAMI Park. 

The key stat

Brisbane Roar have won their last three Isuzu UTE A-League games against the their Round 2 opponents. They have never won more than three in a row against Victory.

READ: Victory’s Miranda ready to step up again

Why to watch

Popovic takes charge on his home debut. There’s anticipation in the air at Victory thanks to the arrival of the head coach and his bevy of off-season recruits, with the likes of Chris Ikonomidis, Roderick Miranda, Jason Davidson and Josh Brillante – who is fit to feature this weekend – excited to perform in front of a home crowd.

As for the Roar, attention will focus on whether Ivanovic can replicate his Round 1 form –  from the start or off the bench – and whether Moon can inspire his side to go at it from the start – if Brisbane can manage that, Victory’s so-far resolute defence will be in for a severe test. 

Match Details – Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar
Sunday, November 28 
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEDT
Venue: AAMI Park
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The storyline

The final game of Round 2 sees Newcastle Jets travel to face Western Sydney in Wanderland. The Jets fell to a 2-1 loss at the hands of Central Coast Mariners in Round 1, a disappointing result on home soil which head coach Arthur Papas will hope his side bounce back from with haste. 

As for the Wanderers, a 0-0 draw to Sydney FC was one neither side was hoping for. Returning to play in front of their home fans in Round 2, there’ll be a mounting expectation for goals as a team overflowing with attacking talent looks to fulfil its potential after four lean seasons.

The key stat

Newcastle Jets have lost only one of their last 10 Isuzu UTE A-League games against Western Sydney Wanderers (W5, D4), scoring at least one goal in each one of those 10 games.

Why to watch

There’s a touch of magic on either side of this Sunday-afternoon matchup with creative players such as Daniel Penha and Ramy Najjarine capable of producing a moment of individual brilliance without warning.

Penha threatened to break the F3 Derby apart in Round 1, showing an abundance of confidence to carve out a handful of nearly moments in attack which Jets fans will hope convert into goals in the coming weeks. But if Penha fails to produce the cutting edge on Sunday, Najjarine may just succeed. His start in the Sydney Derby showed head coach Robinson has faith in his young creator – will he keep that faith when the Jets come to town?  

Match Details – Western Sydney Wanderers v Newcastle Jets
Sunday, November 28 
Kick-off: 6.15pm AEDT
Venue: CommBank Stadium
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