Derbies, injury time equalisers and a coach sent to the stands – lots happening over another busy weekend, so let’s not delay. Here are your A-League Round 8 talking points.

Grand Final Rematch: Lopane denies Mariners

In a high-scoring replay of last season’s Grand Final demolition, Central Coast were looking good for the three points thanks to Angel Torres’ hat-trick until 19-year-old Alessandro Lopane finished off a well-worked Melbourne City move to earn a draw. Both sides are missing plenty of quality from last season’s runs to the decider. A run of four games without defeat in the A-League, while also progressing to the knockout stages of the AFC Cup, has brought some stability to the Mariners’ season. If Torres can continue his goal-scoring form and Jackson also gets contributions from the likes of Alou Kuol and Marco Tulio, as well as Brian Kaltak rediscovering his excellent championship-winning form, things will be looking a lot rosier on the coast.

Sydney Thwarted by Victory

Sydney FC fans would’ve been hoping for the start of a return to title contention for the A-League’s winningest club, but they have taken just three points from a possible 12 since Ufuk Talay’s first game in charge, including losses to their two biggest rivals. On Saturday evening the absence of goal-line technology may have prevented Sydney from hitting the lead in the Big Blue, but Talay’s side was off the pace and could not contain Victory’s attacking threats. In the end, Victory triumphed with a 3-0 scoreline, bringing Sydney’s record to 2-0-6 after eight rounds. However, Melbourne Victory improved to 4-4-0. Credit to Popovic, who has completely turned things around at AAMI Park as his side remains unbeaten. New signings Ryan Teague, Zinedine Machach and Daniel Arzani are all in great form, and the former has been doing with Bruno Fornaroli.

Western Snap Losing Streak

Desperate for a win after six straight losses, John Aloisi got one over his brother Ross as Western United defeated Brisbane 2-1 in an entertaining affair at AAMI Park. United’s chairman Jason Sourasis stated that John Aloisi is a great human being and stands for everything their organisation stands for and went on to confirm that he won’t be sacked even if his side falls to Brisbane. //

Quick Hits:

– Trent Buhagiar started the trend of late equalisers with a 97th-minute effort to rescue a draw for Newcastle on Saturday. Perth would’ve moved off the bottom with a win. Alen Stajcic’s men are only two wins outside the finals places.
– Kosta Barbarouses and Bozhidar Kraev were fantastic in Wellington’s win over Macarthur at Campbelltown Stadium.
– Western Sydney are ticking along nicely this season, their latest three points coming from a professional 1-0 home win over Adelaide United.
– Carl Veart’s side are on a three-game losing streak and should be able to rebound at home to the Newcastle Jets on Friday evening.
– Best wishes to Daniel Penha and his wife Larissa, who is currently undergoing cancer treatment in Brazil.

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