Wanderers not getting carried away
Rivals may be reassessing Western Sydney as an A-League title threat after the newcomers moved within striking distance of the top two with their third straight win, a come-from-behind 2-1 away victory over Brisbane Roar on Sunday.
However, Wanderers coach Tony Popovic reckoned he wasn't going to fall into the same trap despite holding the reins of the only team to have downed the two-time defending champions three times this season.
The second-last Roar looked to have got their season back on track when they grabbed a 1-0 halftime lead thanks to Mitch Nichols' 22nd minute goal and came out swinging in the second half at Suncorp Stadium.
However, the Wanderers fired off two goals in four minutes - including a controversial 69th minute Youssef Hersi effort after Shinji Ohno appeared off-side in the lead-up - to silence the 11,917-strong Roar faithful, along with any remaining doubters.
The fourth-placed Wanderers now sit on 29 points - just three shy of second-placed Adelaide United.
It seemed the only person not getting carried away with Western Sydney's unlikely A-League rise was their coach.
Asked if he had to reassess their season goals after their ninth win in 17 games, Popovic said: "No, because once you start doing that you get into a bit of trouble.
"Today shows - look at where Brisbane are on the ladder and where we are and yet in the first half you saw the quality the Roar had.
"This group will not take anything for granted."
Still, Popovic allowed himself a little time to reflect on their success to date.
"We had our first win here which will go down in history," he said.
"Now to repeat that after a tough away trip last week (to Perth), to mentally and physically get over that poor first half tonight shows maybe another small step forward for our football club."
In contrast, the Roar suffered their fourth loss in six games under new coach Mike Mulvey as the defending champions' star continued to slide.
Another coach feeling the pinch for different reasons is ladder leaders Central Coast's Graham Arnold despite the Mariners holding on to a 0-0 draw with Newcastle at Gosford on Saturday night.
He will learn on Monday whether he faces further A-League sanctions over allegations he ignored a one-match ban by communicating with his bench at Bluetongue Stadium.
But the man of the round was Alessandro Del Piero, the Italy great delivering a four-goal master class to inspire Sydney FC's 7-1 thrashing of Wellington Phoenix on Saturday night.
Del Piero nabbed the competition's second-fastest hat-trick in the first half and added another brilliant goal after halftime, notching a career-first four-goal haul.
"It's a day from the heavens," he said.
But it was a day from hell for Wellington coach Ricki Herbert.
Still he insisted he was still the right man to lead the dead last Phoenix despite a record loss - their fourth straight defeat.
Meanwhile, 10-man Perth Glory scored an own goal to hand third-placed Melbourne Victory a 1-0 away win on Saturday night.
And fifth-placed Melbourne Heart's 2-0 win over Adelaide at AAMI Park on Friday night has been tempered by confirmation captain Fred (quad) is facing one month on the sidelines.