2 May 2021
Newcastle are champions for a second year in a row. While most of the season felt like it was a doddle, we were not that far ahead of the chasing pack. I will cover this more in the season review as I have some thoughts on what happened.
The club is also through to the knockout round in the Champions League with a series of very good performances. We have the round of 16 tie to play before we head into our winter break so watch out for that next episode.
Enough of the preamble, sit back and see how the last three weeks unfolded.
Blow by Blow
Hyundai A-League – Elimination Final Draw
Mariners and Glory get home draws in what promises to be a good contest.
Hyundai A-League – First Elimination Final
Chances at both ends with the Phoenix looking slightly more dangerous. All square at half time. Phoenix ahead on the hour mark and squander a chance to put the game to bed twice. In the end the lone goal was enough and the Phoenix progress.
Hyundai A-League – Second Elimination Final
Brisbane start strongly and convert the pressure into a goal. Brisbane almost make it 2-0 with a fine shot which thunders of the post. A red card just before the half sees Perth down to 10 men. Perth mount concerted pressure and convert with a nice chip finish. Brisbane hit the post in stoppage time and we are headed to extra time.
Perth think they have a goal but it is ruled out for offside. They make no mistake with the next chance and against the odds they win 2-1.
AFC Champions League – Match 6/6
Before we get to the A-League finals series semi-final we have the small matter of a champions league game against Shandong Luneng to get through. This is “Mr Li”‘s old club and he is so up for the game.
Our team is well rested and so we pick a strong line-up for the match. “Narcoleptic” is back from suspension and so “The Count” drops to the bench, replacing “Dildo”.
We turned in a really strong performance. So strong in fact that we were able to rest our midfield trio at the half. It feels like we have our mojo back.
Champions League Draw
We wind up with another Chinese team in the round of 16. Apparently they are slightly weaker than Shandong Luneng but I am not going to be taking the game lightly.
Hyundai A-League – First Semi-final
Adelaide start well and go ahead after 15 minutes. Perth hit back and have two good chances saved. Shots are traded and both sides squander good chances. Adelaide make it 2-0 in first half stoppage time. Perth miss another good chance and it looks like it will not be their day. Final score 2-0 to Adelaide.
Hyundai A-League – Second Semi-final
We host the Phoenix in what promises to be a top clash. We went down to them last time out, and so I would like to make life hard for them this time round.
We field an unchanged side from the Champions League clash which see’s “Narcoleptic” preferred at left back. The bench is trimmed back to the allowed five players with “Sunshine” and “Thurts” being dropped from the bench.
We turned in a top drawer performance for the semi-final. Two goals in each half was sufficient for us to come out with a well deserved 4-0 victory.
The two late goals killed the game off nicely. All in all a very strong performance.
Hyundai A-League – Grand Final
So this is it. The chance for back to back titles. We are up for this game and I bet they are too!
I see no need to change the side that played so well against the Phoenix.
We did it! We battered them and really should have won by more. Full credit to them for firstly keeping us out, and taking the chance that was presented to them. Only a fine late goal to “Trickles” saved us from the dreaded extra time.
Three wins to finish off the the Champions League group and conclude the A-League Finals Series.
Champions League Group E
We topped the group in emphatic fashion. What this run showed me is we have an awesome first team, but no depth at the club. Something to work on for sure.
A-League Finals Series
Once again the top two teams contested the grand final. Both teams deserved to be in the final and the better team won. Of course I may be slightly biased!
Normally at this point we would be looking forward to a well deserved break. This year we have two more Champions League fixtures to look forward to.