Eight moments of the A-League season so far

With only seven rounds remaining of the regular 2016/17 A-League campaign we’ve selected some of our favourite moments from the season.

Sydney’s 19-match winning streak

Although their lengthy unbeaten run and dreams of an ‘invincible’ season were quelled by Western Sydney last weekend, there’s no question that Graham Arnold’s side have been several notches above the rest of their premiership contenders as we approach the final seven weekends of the competition.

The Sky Blues have been so impressive that their status as this season’s team to beat has rarely been put to the test throughout the campaign. They’ve finished every round on top of the ladder; a feat that looks incredibly likely to continue with second-placed Melbourne Victory still trailing to the tune of eight points and scored a whopping 41 goals while conceding a meagre 10.

Sydney will feel that gap should be more sizeable considering their total dominance of the competition this season. After a steady debut year down under Serbian marquee Miloš Ninković has produced an outstanding 2016/17 return with eight goals from midfield. Alongside Slovakian import Filip Hološko (six), Brazilian poacher Bobô (eight) and the evergreen Alex Brosque (nine goals), Sydney have produced some of the finest football to grace the competition in recent memory. Their tag as clear favourites for the championship will be thoroughly merited come finals time.

Western Sydney Wanderers break Sydney FC’s streak and derby drought

Sydney may indeed end up cruising towards a premiership and championship double but for now the Sky Blues must surrender bragging rights to their noisy neighbours. Having gone 1135 days without a win in the Sydney Derby, Western Sydney broke their drought in typically fraught style with Brendan Santalab’s ice-cool first half finish sealing a hugely memorable 1-0 victory.

Santalab’s strike could prove to be one of the most significant goals of the season. For one it may have saved Tony Popovic’s position in the hot seat with a growing number of the Wanderers faithful becoming increasingly disillusioned with the ACL-winning manager’s ruthless ways.

It also proved that despite their unrivalled excellence Graham Arnold’s side can be beaten. Either way, the fifteenth Sydney derby will likely be looked back upon as one of the campaign’s turning points for both clubs.

Adelaide going from top to bottom

The odds for defending Champions Adelaide to go from first to last would have been quite high with bookmakers and the best Australian online casinos but that’s exactly what happened.

Who saw this coming? Certainly not Adelaide manager, Guillermo Amor who, having guided the Reds to their maiden championship in 2016, currently resides over a squad sitting five points adrift at the foot of the table.

With just three wins all season it’s hard to grasp what exactly has gone wrong in the city of churches, whose spectacular fall from grace seems to darken by the week, the nadir coming in the form of a 5-0 home drubbing to Perth Glory a fortnight ago.

Even Amor himself has said he doesn’t deserve a new contract after a truly shambolic title defence. It could yet get worse for the Reds too with Asian Champions League duties surfacing.

Tim Cahill’s Melbourne Derby goal

Tim Cahill’s long awaited A-League debut could barely have gone more swimmingly. Melbourne City punished Melbourne Victory 4-1 in October’s Melbourne Derby, a match highlighted by a truly stunning 40-metre howitzer from the former Everton man.

Cahill’s received his fair share of flak on his return to Australian footballing soil but surely another look at this stupidly good strike will surely calm the nerves among the Cahill-haters. Definitely one of the moments and goals of the season.

Tim Cahill’s Melbourne Derby red card

Cahill has proved himself more than capable of producing the headlines during his glittering career but he took this to new heights during a chaotic ending to February’s Melbourne Derby when he was bizarrely red-carded from the sideline during City’s 2-1 loss.

With the scores locked at 1-1 a hugely controversial own goal from City defender Manny Muscat sparked ugly scenes all round with Cahill eventually copping his marching orders from referee Chris Beath.

Berisha becoming the A-League’s record goal scorer

Love him or hate him, you cannot deny Besart Berisha will go down in folklore as one of the greatest characters to grace the early years of the A-League. Berisha overtook fellow Victory sharpshooter Archie Thompson’s record of 90 goals with a first-half penalty against Newcastle Jets in January to become the A-League’s all-time leading goalscorer.

Dimitri Petratos’ incredible free-kick

This is a goal we’re not going to forget for a long time. Thwack.

Andrew Nabbout’s resurrection

Ok, it’s not a comeback of life-changing, inspirational proportions but we think Newcastle’s Andrew Nabbout deserves a special mention for what has been an excellent (and entirely unexpected) return to Australian shores.

Released from Melbourne Victory in March 2015, Nabbout was subsequently ignored completely by other A-League clubs, but the Jets’ forward has been in such a fine vein of form (seven goals and four assists so far) he’s legitimately had his name thrown in the hat for Socceroos selection.

He’s sure come a long way from this.

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