RECAP: How Roar defeat sealed Robinson’s fate

A 3-0 humbling at the hands of lowly Brisbane Roar thrust Carl Robinson further into the spotlight.

Western Sydney Wanderers were no match for Brisbane, who clawed themselves off the foot of the Isuzu UTE A-League table thanks to Nikola Mileusnic’s brace and Rahmat Akbari’s first goal in the competition.

It left Robinson’s future as Wanderers head coach seemingly hanging by a thread.

KEEPUP followed on LIVE to bring you all the highlights, scores, analysis and biggest talking points.

MATCH REPORT: Brisbane roar to victory over woeful Wanderers


‘Unacceptable’ Wanderers in the firing line after ‘catastrophic’ showing

It’s been four seasons since the Wanderers last featured in the A-League Men’s finals and that drought looks set to continue, unless things change dramatically.

The Wanderers could end the weekend rooted to the bottom of the table after their abject display away to the previously cellar-dwelling Roar.

Western Sydney have just one win to their name in seven league appearances, while they were also bundled out of the FFA Cup by APIA in the last 16.

The Wanderers were in the firing line post-game as Paramount+ commentators and analysts took turns at scathingly dissecting the state of the out-of-sorts team.

“Walk in the park [for Brisbane],” former Australia international Luke Wilkshere said post-game.

“Red and white mannequins in the first half and the second half was no different. And it’s not good enough. You talk about the bare minimum, that’s energy, effort, passion and desire. There was none there from the Wanderers.”

Fellow analyst Bruce Djite joined in, saying: “Even not as a Western Sydney Wanderers fan, you’d like to see a club of that stature, with all that infrastructure that they have, from the players, training base.

“And they’ve lost them (supporters). They won’t get them back any time soon if they put out performances like that.”

Commentators Simon Hill and Andy Harper then took apart Western Sydney and their issues, dating back to the pre-Robinson era.

“We just ran through the list of quality players. They have plenty of quality in that squad but for whatever reason, it’s not working. There just didn’t seam to be any sort of plan or fight tonight,” Hill said. “That’s not good enough for a club that labels itself as a big club. If you’re a big club, you have to play under big pressure.”

Harper added: “It’s a catastrophe. That’s what it is. It’s such a catastrophe that as good as Brisbane Roar were tonight, we’re still talking about the Wanderers. That’s how catastrophic that performance. And it’s not an isolated performance.

“The last time they ran out was against Melbourne City and I thought now I’m watching a football team. It’s taken them whatever to get to that point and between then and tonight, it’s evaporated. IT’s not the first time that I’ve felt I’ve had to describe a Wanderers performance as unacceptable.

“I don’t know where they go from there. This has to be a bigger problem.”

Discussing on air, Hill asked Harper: “Is it too easy to say get rid of the coach, it’s the coach’s fault, because this has been going on for several seasons now, long before Robinson was there?”

Harper replied: “Since [Tony] Popovic left, they’ve been in a tailspin. The only coach who’s had the team going in any sort of consistently positive direction was when JDP had the reigns on the back of Markus Babbel’s release. For whatever reason, that relationship couldn’t be consummated into any long-term deal…. You have to be inside of the beast to be able to accurately make an observation of what’s going on.”

Robinson embracing pressure as speculation intensifies

Western Sydney boss Robinson appears to be on borrow timed, but don’t expect the Welshman to take a backward step amid the mounting pressure.

There is a growing view Robinson’s tenure is becoming untenable, but the former Newcastle Jets head coach doesn’t see it like that.

“Pressure is on every manager,” Robinson told Paramount+. “It makes me no different because I’m a foreigner because I’m in this league. Anyone who is not in the play-offs is probably under pressure and that’s fine.

“If you don’t embrace it and enjoy it, you come out of it a better person when you can get through it – sometimes you do and don’t. Nothing changes in terms of work ethic.”

“You have to analyse yourself, go back to square one and you have to roll your sleeves up and fight. No one’s going to give you nothing in life in general, never mind when you’re a manager or player at a football club,” he continued.

“What you do is you find out about characters, I’ll certainly find out about my group now.”

Isuzu UTE A-League: Western United 1-0 Melbourne City

Western join Victory at the ALM summit

John Aloisi’s Western love 1-0 wins and they added another to their collection at the expense of rivals City.

City had only lost one of their last 10 A-League Men fixtures heading into the contest as Western claimed another win over the champions, having conquered the Citizens in December.

Western are now level with Victory on 15 points at the top of the table.

Debut time for an Italian

In need of a goal, City turn to Italian import and former Empoli striker Manuel Pucciarelli in his first A-League Men appearance.

GOAL! Whirlwind minute sees Western ahead

Amid the disappointment of Diamanti’s unsuccessful penalty, the mood quickly changed as AAMI erupted in celebration following Steven Lustica’s 71st-minute strike.

Not to be deterred, Diamanti was in the thick of the action as Lustica rifled home the opener in wild scenes for his second in two games.


Oh-Dia! Italian maestro denied from the spot

It’s not often you see Alessandro Diamanti fall short in the attacking third, but that is what happened 20 minutes from the end.

The Western captain stepped up after a spot-kick was awarded for handball upon a VAR review.

However, Glover produced a great save to keep out Diamanti and Western.

It’s the Young show at AAMI!

If not for Young, Western would be trailing the defending champions in Melbourne.

After his first-half heroics, Young was at it again six minutes into the second half, his superb reflexes keeping out City’s Florin Berenguer.

Somehow, it’s still 0-0.

Young stakes his claim for save of the season

Well maybe it won’t go close to the save of the season, but it was a brilliant stop from Jamie Young to keep City at bay prior to half-time.

In the 40th minute, Western keeper Young got down low, using a big strong hand to palm away Scott Jamieson’s goal-bound effort.

That moment and the woodwork minutes later ensured the scores were level heading into the break.

Glover kept busy early as Western enjoy bright start

In Nikolai Topor-Stanley’s 350th A-Leagues appearance, Western made a strong start at AAMI Park.

City goalkeeper Tom Glover was all that was standing between Western and an early lead in Melbourne, where Alessandro Diamanti and Lachlan Wales were both denied within two minutes of each other.

It could be a busy night for Mr Glover.

Pre-game Opta preview:

  • Western United have won their last two A-League Men matches against Melbourne City, after losing all their five meetings prior.
  • Western lost their most recent A-League Men game in Victoria (3-1 v Melbourne Victory, 26 December 2021), snapping a four-match winning run in their home state; they had kept a clean sheet in each of those four wins.
  • City have lost only one of their last 10 A-League Men matches (W5, D4), a 1-0 defeat against Western (4 December 2021).
  • Western have a shooting accuracy of 52% in the 2021-22 A-League Men season, the second-best rate of any team in the competition (Perth Glory – 53%).
  • City have had 18 shots per game in the 2021-22 A-League Men season, the most of any team and three per game more than Western (15).
  • City have made 519 passes per game in the 2021-22 A-League Men season, the second most by any team in the competition (Newcastle Jets – 619).
  • Neil Kilkenny (Western) has made 102 passes into the final third this A-League Men season, the most of any player in the competition and the only individual to have logged 100+.
  • Andrew Nabbout (City) has had seven goal involvements in the 2021/22 A-League Men season (4 goals, 3 assists) – the most of any player in the competition.

Isuzu UTE A-League: Brisbane Roar 3-0 Western Sydney Wanderers

Roar climb off the foot of the table

Brisbane haven’t had much to celebrate this season but they produced a brilliant performance to move off the bottom of the ladder.

The scoreline flattered 11th-placed Western Sydney, who were second-best throughout as the post-game fallout will no doubt centre on Robinson and his future at the helm.

As for Brisbane, they are suddenly eighth and within two points of the top six.

GOAL! It goes from bad to worse for WSW

Western Sydney’s woes are laid bare after their horrendous night sinks to a new low in the 73rd minute.

The Wanderers made a meal of a a simple ball over the top and substitute Rahmat Akbari capitalised with a simple finish.

3-0 and counting for Brisbane.

GOAL! Mileusnic at the double!

The Roar midfielder could easily have a hat-trick, but for now, he can be satisfied with a double.

Brisbane had their way with Western Sydney at will and got the goal their dominance deserved in the 65th minute – Mileusnic on hand to poke home the rebound.

2-0 Brisbane and the pressure increases on embattled Wanderers boss Carl Robinson.

Woeful Wanderers barely hanging on

The less said about Western Sydney, the better.

Completely outplayed on the road, lowly Brisbane had another chance to double their lead but goalscorer Mileusnic rattled the woodwork approaching the hour-mark.

It’s quite remarkable Brisbane’s lead is only 1-0, such is there dominance.

Rodwell flashes just wide

Jack Rodwell spoke to KEEPUP during the week, discussing his move to Australia, the ups and downs of his career and more.

The former Everton, Manchester City and England midfielder went close to giving the Wanderers the lead but his powerful effort across goal flashed just wide.

GOAL! Brisbane roaring against Western Sydney

After a positive start at home to the visitors, the Roar were rewarded for their efforts in the 27th minute.

Brisbane carved open Western Sydney, Nikola Mileusnic capping a wonderful team move as the Wanderers were left with no chance.

1-0 at Redcliffe.

Roar making life difficult for Wanderers

Brisbane entered the contest bottom of the table but they did not look like a team at the A-League basement.

Wanderers goalkeeper Tomas Mejias was left scrambling in the 13th minute, but Western Sydney were fortunate to escape unpunished after Jay O’Shea’s attempt.

All you need to know via Opta:

  • Western Sydney Wanderers will be aiming for back-to-back wins over Brisbane Roar in the A-League Men for the first time since April 2018, following their 2-0 victory in their most recent meeting (30 May 2021).
  • Brisbane have won only one of their last nine A-League Men matches (D2, L6), a 1-0 win over Perth Glory (19 January 2022).
  • Western Sydney have won only one of their last 10 A-League Men matches away from CommBank Stadium (D4, L5), a 2-0 win against Wellington Phoenix (3 December 2021).
  • Brisbane (-4.9) have underperformed their Expected Goals value by more than any other team in the 2021-22 A-League Men season so far (4 goals, 8.9 xG).
  • Western Sydney have had five shots from fast breaks in the 2021-22 A-League Men season, more than any other team; indeed, the Wanderers (1) are one of three sides to have scored a goal via this method in the campaign (Melbourne Victory – 2 and Adelaide United – 1).
  • The Wanderers have a passing accuracy of 84% in the 2021-22 A-League Men season, the second-best rate of any team in the competition (Newcastle Jets – 85%).
  • Macklin Freke (Brisbane Roar) has made 113 long passes in the 2021-22 A-League Men season, more than any other player in the competition.
  • Dimitrios Petratos (Western Sydney) has scored three goals and made one assist in his last five A-League Men games against Brisbane Roar, as well as creating 21 scoring chances across that period.

FFA CUP: Wellington Phoenix 1-4 Melbourne Victory


Super-sub D’Agostino eyeing first title

D’Agostino is making a habit of scoring off the bench until Popovic this season.

The 23-year-old highlighted his importance and impact as a substitute with a quick-fire brace to guide Victory into next week’s FFA Cup final at AAMI Park.

“It’s my first final coming up. I’m looking forward to my first piece of silverware,” he told Paramount+.

The Victory were far from their best in the opening 45 minutes but flipped the switch in the second period to dash Wellington’s hopes.

“It’s tough. We wanted to come here and put on a good performance, fight for that silverware,” D’Agostino said. “We had a tough first half, we couldn’t really gel. We couldn’t string passes together in the final third. The subs came on, made the difference with the fresh legs. We really put them away in the end.”

Victory captain and goalscorer Brillante added: “It’s always great to be in a final and even nicer to hold up some silverware, so we’ll come out firing.”

Late rally sets Victory up for shot at silverware

With their backs against the wall at half-time, Melbourne needed a response in the second 45 minutes.

They got it thanks to Popovic’s bench as D’Agostino scored twice in the final 10 minutes, leaving Wellington stunned.

Victory will not only face the Mariners in next week’s final but they will host Central Coast thanks to the victory.

GOAL! D’Agostino puts on a show as Mariners await

D’Agostino is staking his claim for a starting berth after netting his sixth goal of the season.

Not happy with just one goal off the bench, the in-form Aussie striker bagged his brace at the death to put the result beyond doubt against a shell-shocked Wellington.

4-1 as a date with the Mariners in the final looms.

GOAL! It’s turning into a rout in Geelong

For so long, Wellington looked the more likely to go head-to-head with Central Coast for the trophy, however Victory flipped the match on its head during the closing stages.

Ben Folami showcased his quality with a dazzling run and finish, adding Victory’s third goal five minutes later.

Surely game, set and match?!

GOAL! Victory’s super sub delivers again

As soon as Victory equalised, Tony Popovic turned to his bench.

Nicholas D’Agostino was among the reinforcements and he delivered the go-ahead goal 10 minutes from the end.

His movement proved too hot to handle as the Victory moved 2-1 ahead.

Goal! O Captain, My Captain!

Victory needed someone to step up and make a difference.

Captain Josh Brillante was that someone as he struck on the edge of the area to level things up with 25 minutes remaining in Victory’s home away from home.

1-1 and it’s all to play for.

Melbourne fans trying to will on their team

There’s been almost 60 minutes played and the Victory still trail in Geelong.

Up until this point, Wellington have looked comfortable defensively, frustrating a Victory outfit lacking width in attacking areas.

The Victory fans, though, remain in full voice.

Victory have their work cut out in the second half

As it stands, the Mariners will host the FFA Cup in Gosford, with the Phoenix leading Victory 1-0 at the interval.

It was an uncharacteristic first-half display from the Victory, who were limited to a couple of long-range attempts and far from composed in possession.

The Nix, defensive in shape at times, grew into the game and are good value for their half-time advantage.

GOAL! Who else but Hooper?

We have lift off at GMHBA Stadium thanks to Gary Hooper and the Phoenix.

After an earlier opportunity, former Celtic star Hooper made no mistake as he pounced on Reno Piscopo’s delightful throughball to break the deadlock prior to half-time.

Are Wellington set for a maiden FFA Cup final?

Plenty of Nix across the ditch!

There have been no goals through 14 minutes but both sets of fans have made their presence known in Geelong.

Focusing on the Phoenix, they have a healthy contingent of supporters in attendance as Wellington seek a finals berth.

Kick-off fast approaching in G-town

Eat your heart out with Opta data

With kick-off less than an hour away, here’s some stats and facts as the Phoenix and Victory eye a Mariners date.

  • This will be the first meeting in the FFA Cup between Victory and Phoenix; Wellington have won each of their last three matches in the competition against teams from Victoria.
  • This is set to be Victory’s third FFA Cup semi-final; they have logged one win (3-0 v Hume City in 2015) and one defeat (2-0 v Melbourne City in 2016) from their previous two attempts at this stage.
  • Victory star Jake Brimmer created four scoring chances (including one assist) in the team’s last FFA Cup match (5 January 2022 v Adelaide United) – the most by any player in the game.

The teams are in as Phoenix prepare for maiden SF

For the first time in their history, Wellington will contest an FFA Cup semi-final and there are a couple of changes to the Phoenix XI for the meeting in Geelong.

With Clayton Lewis and Tim Payne on international duty, Nicholas Pennington and Finn Surman have been drafted into the starting line-up, while James McGarry and Matthew Bozinovski are on the bench.

As for the high-flying Victory, they welcome back Matthew Spiranovic and Roderick Miranda to the XI as Stefan Nigro steps in for Jason Geria due to concussion.

The winner will face Central Coast Mariners in the decider but if the Victory win, they will host the final.

Liberty A-League: Brisbane Roar 1-2 Melbourne City


Barbieri savours ‘vital’ win as City keep pace with Sydney

A response was needed after City were completely outplayed by unbeaten leaders Sydney last time out.

City left it late but they did bounce back away from home and Barbieri revelled in the last-gasp result as the rain fell.

After pushing a 95th-minute shot onto the post in dramatic fashion, Barbieri told Paramount+: “Proud of the resilience of my team-mates. Brisbane are a quality outfit.

“Of course the weather plays its part, we’re from Melbourne we don’t know what’s going on. Really, really proud of the effort.”

Barbieri added: “It’s vital because you don’t get many games in the A-League Women. If it’s at all possible to get three points, I was happy with one, but then we got that one in the end.

“Credit to Wilky [Wilkinson], she just put it in the back of the net when it counted. Again. She is on nine now. Just give her the ball and she’ll score.”

On her incredible late heroics, the former Australia international said: “I saved it onto the crossbar and I had to get up quickly because I know [Larissa] Crummer can score them. So I thought just get up, get on your feet and do your best.”

City break Roar hearts in dramatic finish

And breathe!

Talk about late drama, the City-Roar clash had it in spades.

After Wilkinson’s towering header gave City a 94th-minute lead, Roar almost snatched an equaliser in the fifth minute of additional time.

However, Barbieri pushed Hollie Palmer’s long-range effort onto the woodwork and was up quick to deal with the rebound.

City avoid back-to-back defeats and celebrate their sixth win in eight matches to be four points behind Sydney, while Brisbane will have to pick themselves up following a fifth loss.

GOAL! Wilkinson at the death!

Just as the match was petering out for a draw, City sharpshooter Wilkinson popped up with a huge header in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

2-1 with a minute remaining. Can City hold on?

GOAL! Free-kick stunner has City back on level terms

Brisbane, desperate for maximum points, worked hard for their opener but the Roar’s lead was short-lived as City restored parity eight minutes later.

It was a moment of magic from Rhianna Pollicina, whose free-kick looped over Brisbane goalkeeper Mia Ellen Bailey.


Enjoy this set-piece.

GOAL! Captain Gorry makes no mistake from the spot

Katrina Gorry took on the armband after skipper Norrie hobbled off in the second half and it was the stand-in captain who gave the Roar the lead.

After Meaghan McElligott was fouled inside the penalty area, Gorry converted the 71st-minute penalty in her 100th Brisbane appearance.

Heart-in-mouth moment for Barbieri and City

There was collective concern around the ground when Barbieri came off worse for wear after some more brilliant intervention.

Former Matilda goalkeeper Barbieri ensured a defensive turnover was not punished in the 53rd minute, denying Shea Connors, but she copped a shin to the head for her efforts.

Thankfully Barbieri continued on.

City are getting closer!

All that was missing was a touch, that’s how close visiting City went to taking the lead five minutes into the second half.

Some fantastic work from Kaitlyn Torpey created an opening for Tyla-Jay Vlajnic, whose superb touch set herself up for a teasing delivery across the six-yard box, but Wilkinson was unable to get a boot to the ball on the goal line.

A sigh of relief for the Roar.

Norrie wants more to break deadlock

It was an entertaining first half, with City coming into their own after the Roar stormed out of the blocks, but it remains 0-0.

A win is vital for Brisbane and Roar captain Ayesha Norrie told Paramount+ at the interval: “I think we’re playing well and keeping them in their half. We just have to create more chances and put them away.

“They are a top team and credit to them but I mean, if we can pull off a win it would be great.”

City almost against the run of play

Even with Brisbane’s dominance, City nearly broke the deadlock.

After Barbieri’s one-on-one brilliance at the other end, City’s Rebekah Stott hit the crossbar with a long-range effort after 16 minutes.

It’s still 0-0.

Somehow City remain on level terms!

Like last week, City have been outclassed and overpowered in the opening exchanges as the Roar dominate proceedings.

It’s been all too familiar in recent weeks, but Melissa Barbieri has come to City’s rescue twice inside the first 14 minutes to keep the scores level.

Barbieri deserves a pay rise and a statue at City’s HQ at this rate…

Some pre-game Opta goodness

To get you in the mood for today’s contest, here are some interesting facts and data courtesy of the people at Opta:

  • City will be looking to avoid back-to-back defeats in the A-League Women for the first time since March 2021, after their 3-0 loss to Sydney last time out.
  • Brisbane have forced 3.3 shot-ending high turnovers per game in the 2021-22 A-League Women season, the most of any team in the competition; City (3 per game) are joint second in this category (also Sydney FC – 3).
  • City (11) and Brisbane (10.4) have been fouled more times per game than any other teams this season.
  • Hannah Wilkinson of City has contested 36 aerial duels this term, eight more than any other player in the campaign so far.

Roar chasing history against City

The first game of a double-header has Brisbane Roar eyeing a slice of history against visiting Melbourne City.

Brisbane – seventh in the standings – are aiming for back-to-back wins against City for the first time in the history of the competition, after a 3-2 win in their most recent meeting (31 January 2021).

Second-placed City head to Moreton Daily Stadium looking to bounce back from their 3-0 humbling at the hands of runaway leaders Sydney FC last time out.