The A-League kicked off this weekend with its biggest combined attendance for week One. Over 93,000. Clearly I wasn’t the only person hanging out for the football season to burst into life.
West Sydney made strongest debut since the League began against a very good Central Coast side. Adelaide didn’t have time to change out of their strips from the ACL Quarter Final and still convincingly beat the Jets and Heart took some from an entertaining win in the Melbourne Derby. Biggest crowd of the weekend there with 42,000 (at an A-League game!) Del Piero, Ono and Heskey, the Marquee signings all made appearances with varying degrees of impact, but were outshone by Pheonix’s quiet, big money, goal-scoring Belgian, Huysegems.
Brisbane‘s visit to Perth seethed with the post-Grand Final tensions. Glory snatched a good goal in the closing minutes. Perth fans will see it as sweet revenge after their heart-breaking defeat 168 days ago when the Roar lifted the Trophy. It was a well-worked header from Perth’s point of view and a studded blow to the soft parts for the Roar. The draw would have been a fair result. Brisbane looked every bit the team they were last season, but left with nothing except one of football’s lesson for life: untaken chances will always lead to suffering.
Talking about suffering, Besart got some brilliant stick from the crowd – a banner with the words, “And the Oscar Goes To…” accompanied with a picture of the Albanian international in full flight when he won that controversial penalty. A plane circled the stadium with a banner with something similar. Thing is, I was at the Grand Final, while Perth might feel aggrieved they lost it, if Besart hadn’t won the penalty, the Roar would still have won the match. In fact it would have taken until today for Perth to get a winner. But, I wouldn’t want to take the sugar from the Glory fans bitterness, Perth look good for a Finals place this year.
I think Brisbane will have a great season. I think the A-League will have its best yet. Big stars, big crowds and great football. After just one round, this is looking like an awesome tournament already!