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A-League review - Week 24: Goals galore from Reds, Gold Coast and Phoenix as tempers fray in Melbourne derby

Week 24 was potentially the biggest round of football in the A-League this season.

On Friday night we saw Adelaide United set two new records for most goals scored in a match and biggest winning margin when they whipped the hapless North Queensland Fury 8-1 at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Hat-tricks from Marcos Flores and Sergio van Dijk did the brunt of the damage for the Reds who were in unstoppable form as the joined league leaders Brisbane Roar on 48 goals for the season - the most in the competition.

Saturday night saw the third installment of the Melbourne derby between the Victory and the Heart. With a head-to-head figure of one win apiece, pride was again on the line as the Victory hosted their less established rivals at Etihad Stadium in front of more than 30,000 people.

They promptly swept to a two-nil lead thanks to first-half goals from Danny Allsopp and Carlos Hernandez but Heart veteran John Aloisi enabled his side to record a 2-2 draw with a goal either side of the break.

The thrilling match was marred when Victory skipper Kevin Muscat was sent off in the 81st minute for a horror challenge on Heart youngster Adrian Zahra with both players facing a lengthy stint on the sideline - Zahra through injury and Muscat possibly with a possible long suspension.

The goals continued to flow on Saturday night with Gold Coast United crushing Newcastle Jets 5-1 at Skilled Park.

Bruce Djite's treble helped Miron Bleiberg's men create an eight-point gap between them and fifth-placed Melbourne Victory whilst the Jets' finals hopes slightly faded away.

Sunday gave us even more goals, firstly with Wellington Phoenix brushing Perth Glory aside 4-0 at Westpac Stadium.

The Phoenix put themselves in with a strong finals chance thanks to goals from Nick Ward, Dylan Macallister, Vince Lia and Chris Greenacre as the Glory pretty much stitched up a bottom-two finish in what has been a disaster season.

And finally, the goal tally swept to 27 for the weekend when Central Coast Mariners came from two goals down to force a 2-2 draw with Sydney FC in Gosford.

Sky Blues teenager Dimtri Petratos gave his side a solid half-time lead before the brave Mariners fought back to retain second spot on the table in a weekend were the fans came out in droves, with four of the five matches attracting at least 10,000 supporters.

Adelaide United:8 (Marcos FLORES 4'/37'/89', Travis DODD 28', Iain RAMSAY 42', Sergio VAN DIJK 47'/67'/83') North Queensland Fury: 1 (Panagiotis NIKAS 72') Friday, 21 January 2011 Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide Referee: Peter Green Crowd: 10,986 Yellow cards:AU - nil NQF - nil

Melbourne Victory: 2 (Danny ALLSOPP 11', Carlos HERNANDEZ 32') Melbourne Heart: 2 (John ALOISI 45'+1/52') Saturday, 22 January 2011 Etihad Stadium, Melbourne Referee: Chris Beath Crowd: 32,321 Yellow cards:MV - Danny ALLSOPP 38', Diogo FERREIRA 42', Matthew KEMP 51', Marvin ANGULO 54', Kevin MUSCAT 60', Carlos HERNANDEZ 89' MH - Josip SKOKO 48', Matt THOMPSON 75' Red card:MV - Kevin MUSCAT 81'

Gold Coast United:5 (Adama TRAORE 9', Bruce DJITE 36'/80'/87', Shane SMELTZ 61') Newcastle Jets: 1 (Zhang SHUO 75') Saturday, 22 January 2011 Skilled Park, Robina Referee: Matthew Breeze Crowd: 14,783 Yellow cards:GCU - Steve PANTELIDIS 22', Bruce DJITE 80' NJ - Tarek ELRICH 63'

Wellington Phoenix:4 (Nicky WARD 10', Dylan MACALLISTER 48', Vince LIA 59', Chris GREENACRE 90') Perth Glory: 0 Sunday, 23 January 2011 Westpac Stadium, Wellington Referee: Peter O'Leary Crowd: 5,115 Yellow cards:WP - nil PG - Howard FONDYKE 10', Josh MITCHELL 34'

Central Coast Mariners: 2 (Patricio PEREZ 49', Matt SIMON 57') Sydney FC: 2 (Dimitri PETRATOS 17'/27') Sunday, 23 January 2011 Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford Referee: Strebre Delovski Crowd: 10,546 Yellow cards:CCM - Pedj BOJIC 83' SYD - Stuart MUSIALIK 23', Nick CARLE 44', Terry MCFLYNN 71', Juho MAKELA 78'

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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