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Feb 25, 2019   |  4:27AM AET

Babbel named as Coach of the Week: Round 20

Babbel named as Coach of the Week: Round 20

It’s been an intriguing weekend of Hyundai A-League action with some shock results, amazing goals and hard-fought encounters in Round 20.

And we’ve had to make the tough calls to come up with our latest Team of the Week.

We’ve gone for a 3-4-3 formation for this XI with some unlucky players missing out on a weekend of some eye-catching individual displays.

What do you make of our selections?


Filip Kurto (Wellington Phoenix)

The Polish gloveman continued his fantastic season with another stellar display against Sydney FC.

He came up with another couple of incredible stops, none better than the reflex, one-handed effort to deny Reza Ghoochannejhad early on.

It took a penalty to beat him, although there wouldn’t have been any keeper able to stop Adam Le Fondre’s powerful spot-kick.


Alex Wilkinson (Sydney FC)

Even at 34, ‘Wilko’ is showing no signs of slowing down.

The experienced defender was always in control and at his resolute best in the Sky Blues crucial 1-0 win over Wellington on Saturday afternoon.

Was comfortable on the ball – as evidenced from his 91% pass accuracy – did his defensive duties with aplomb making four clearances, while his block to deny Roy Krishna a shot on goal early in the second half proved a real turning point in the match.

Thomas Deng (Melbourne Victory)

Having lost his central defensive partner Georg Niedermeier inside the first 15 minutes, Deng stepped-up superbly for Victory in the Derby.

His organisational skills in the back-four were superb as Victory largely forced City to mainly shoot from distance.

 Deng made a game-high seven clearances and four intercepts in the 90 minutes, while he had a pass accuracy of 86.5%.  

Michael Marrone (Adelaide United)

One of the most underrated players in the Hyundai A-League, Marrone was key in the Reds’ keeping a clean sheet against Newcastle Jets.

In his 200th game in the competition, Marrone – nominally a right-back – played in central defence and was outstanding for the visitors.

His position and desperation meant the Jets barely fired a shot on target over the 90 minutes.


Alex Lopez (Brisbane Roar)

The Spaniard has probably been Roar’s most consistent player this season and rose to the occasion again in Friday night’s spoon-off against the Mariners.

Lopez scored a brace in the thrilling win in Gosford and his vicious volley in the first half would probably still be travelling if it wasn’t stopped by the back of the net.

His composure on the ball is a feature of his game, getting more touches than any other Roar player while his 50 passes came with an accuracy of more than 86%.

Brandon O’Neill (Sydney FC)

The midfield battle was always going to be crucial in Campbelltown and it was the Sky Blues playmaker that dominated that area on Saturday.

No player had more touches on the ball than O’Neill’s 91, while he also delivered five crosses and created one chance for a teammate.

His range and speed of passing really set the tempo for Steve Corica’s side in the 1-0 win over the Phoenix which moved Sydney FC up to second spot.

Eric Bautheac (Brisbane Roar)

Surely Bautheac’s jaw-dropping overhead kick is enough to earn his spot in the XI on its own?

Either way, the Frenchman was probably the best player on the pitch in Roar’s simply crazy 5-3 win over the Mariners on Friday night.

As well as his goal of the season contender, Bautheac also set up Tobias Mikkelsen’s header with a sublime cross, while the Mariners defence just couldn’t touch him at times.

Rostyn Griffiths (Melbourne City)

Griffiths vindicated coach Warren Joyce’s decision to recall him to the starting side for Saturday night’s derby draw against Victory.

The imposing midfielder did an excellent job protecting his back four while he had plenty of the ball, making 85 passes at an accuracy of a shade under 86%.

And if not for a lick of white paint on the goal post, his thunderous low drive in first-half stoppage-time might have given his side a 2-0 lead at the break.


Kosta Barbarouses (Melbourne Victory)

The Kiwi international is enjoying a superb run of form in the Hyundai A-League right now and he was the man to spare Victory’s blushes in Saturday night’s 1-1 draw with City.

Playing with 10 men for much of the contest, Barbarouses came up with the big play early in the second half to cap and brilliant all-round display.

He has now scored eight goals against City in his Hyundai A-League career, more than he has scored against any other team.

Chris Ikonomidis (Perth Glory)

The Caltex Socceroos winger enjoyed coming up against his former club with a sensational individual display at Spotless Stadium.

Ikonomidis scored Glory’s only goal in the 1-1 draw against the Wanderers and would have had a hat-trick if not for the intervention of Vedran Janjetovic.

How the Wanderers will be regretting not re-signing the speedy attacker when his loan-deal ended last season!

Adam Le Fondre (Sydney FC)

The man they call ‘Alfie’ again produced the goods for the Sky Blues when needed.

After Alex Brosque was fouled in the box midway through the second half, Le Fondre took responsibility from the penalty spot and his a powerful shot that would have put Filip Kurto through the net if he had got behind it.

Le Fondre’s partnership with Iranian star Reza Ghoochannejhad is looking more ominous by the week and he now has 14 for the campaign to sit atop the scoring charts.

Coach of the Round

Markus Babbel (Western Sydney Wanderers)

It’s been a difficult maiden season in the Hyundai A-League for Babbel but his side has shown some real signs of life over the last few weeks.

He made the tactical tweak to change to a back three against the league-leaders Perth Glory and it paid off as the Wanderers snatched a hard-earned 1-1 draw at Spotless Stadium.

With some exciting young players coming through the ranks at Western Sydney, perhaps there’s some exciting times to come under Babbel at Wanderland.