Surprise wins result in NSL bottleneck - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Surprise wins result in NSL bottleneck

By Glenn Cullen 31/03/2003 05:34:57 AM Comments (0)

Surprise wins by Northern Spirit and Parramatta Power have left the national soccer league finals series wide open with a log-jam of four teams on six points after the opening two rounds.

Adelaide City, Parramatta, Perth Glory and the Olympic Sharks share the spoils in a competition that is becoming more unpredictable than it initially promised.

With the top two teams receiving bonus points coming into the finals series there was a feeling things could go pear shaped very quickly for Soccer Australia, with Perth Glory and the Olympic Sharks expected to run away from the pack.

But a dazzling 2-1 win by the Power over the Glory this afternoon and Northern Spirits bolt from the blue in downing the Sharks 3-1 on Sunday night has left the controversial Swiss-inspired finals format looking a little rosier.

Off the back of 5-0 drubbing from Perth last week, the Spirit was expected to cause few problems at Toyota Park.

Young Socceroo striker Franco Parisi opened proceedings for the Sharks in the 13th minute but Noel Spencer and John Hutchinson put the Spirit back in the game with goals apiece before halftime.

Spirit goalkeeper Paul Henderson then became the hero in the second half as he logged a series of saves before midfielder Dylan Macallister, a replacement for the suspended Adam Kwasnik, sealed the game with a 78th minute strike.

The three points from the victory leaves the Spirit just a win off the front-runners.

At Parramatta Stadium, the Power produced its best half of the year to rattle last seasons grand finalists.

It was 45 minutes of sublime soccer as a looping goal to Damien Brown and a neat header to Ahmad Elrich got the home side to 2-0 in 35 minutes.

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