The A-League’s return has brought the stars out, with David Villa leading a host of big names to find the net.
Marquee men hit their targets as the A-League returned in goalscoring style this weekend.
Several of the league’s highest profile transfers – David Villa, Besart Berisha, Andy Keogh and Michael McGlinchey – all found their way to the scoresheet in an opening round bookended by the defeat of last season’s grand finalists.
Melbourne Victory began the season with a 4-1 belting of Western Sydney Wanderers, while Brisbane’s title defence started with a 2-1 home loss against Adelaide United.
While Western Sydney’s worst-ever loss came as a shock, Adelaide were always in a high-quality contest despite Thomas Broich’s free kick opener.
But a fine goal to Bruce Djite and James Donachie’s second half own-goal gave United a third straight opening day win.
Despite the loss, Roar coach Mike Mulvey refused to be upset with Roar’s play.
“I am happy with our performance, I thought we played some very good football … (and) were the better team today,” he said.
“Obviously disappointed with the result, but the performance was good and that stands us in good stead.”
The A-League’s headline act began on the bench as Melbourne City drew their first match since ditching the Heart moniker 1-1 with Sydney FC.
A Corey Gameiro stunner was cancelled out by Villa’s equaliser less than 15 minutes after his second-half introduction.
City captain Patrick Kisnorbo said they were lucky to take home a point.
“It was a good point to take away,” he said.
City enjoyed their strongest spells in the first half, with Villa a spectator.
But like those surprised to see the World Cup winner start on the sidelines, Kisnorbo feels City are best served with him on the pitch.
“With (Villa) coming on, he adds that extra dimension for us,” he said.
“He showed he’s one of the best in the world and why we’re lucky to have him here.”
Their cross-town rivals Victory had no shortage of attacking threat against the Wanderers.
New French defender Matthieu Delpierre got the party started before a Berisha penalty and a neat Leigh Broxham finish made the score 3-0 with half an hour played.
A Mark Bridge first-half reply felt like a consolation goal and so it proved, with Archie Thompson netting to complete the showing after the break.
Glory’s high-profile recruit Keogh – while not on marquee wages – also showed his fine pedigree to open the scoring in Perth’s 2-1 away win over Wellington.
The Irish international scored with a glancing header off the impressive Mitch Nichols’s fine centre to give Glory a 1-0 lead.
After being pegged back by Phoenix midfielder Michael McGlinchey, substitute Jamie Maclaren fired an 86th minute winner to give Perth just a second win in New Zealand in 14 attempts.
In Gosford, Central Coast edged a fiery F3 derby 1-0 thanks to Mitchell Duke’s injury-time winner.