AUSSIES ABROAD: Nikita Rukavytsya helped Hertha Berlin gain three invaluable points in the heated battle to avoid relegation from the German Bundesliga.
Rukavytsya put in an impressive performance and set up the first goal in Hertha’s 3-1 victory over Mainz 05.
The speedy winger charged passed several defenders, stumbled in front of goal, and recovered to set up a tap in for Anis Ben-Hatira.
Elsewhere in Germany, Matthew Leckie came on late in the second half as Borussia Monchengladbach went down 2-1 to TSG Hoffenheim, but wasn’t given enough time to make an impact on the match. The rare home loss saw the Foals drop to 4th on the Bundesliga table.
Robbie Kruse missed Fortuna Dusseldorf’s 1-1 draw because of a calf injury, while in Austria, James Holland was an unused sub during Austria Wien’s 1-1 draw against Sturm Graz.
In the English Premier League, Chris Herd was substituted early in the second half as Aston Villa lost 3-0 to Arsenal. Herd, like most of his teammates, was largely ineffectual as the Gunners dominated Villa from the outset.
In the Championship, Shane Lowry returned to the Millwall match day squad after several weeks out with an ankle injury. The young defender was an unused substitute in his side’s 1-0 loss to Leeds.
Mile Jedinak started for Crystal Palace against Derby County before being substituted at half time in a tactical reshuffle. Palace scored two late goals but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 3-2 loss.
Adam Federici has continued to play a pivotal part in Reading’s bid for promotion to the Premier League. The Socceroo keeper made two important saves late in the second half as the Royals defeated Blackpool 3-1.
In League One, Alex Cisak played 90 minutes and kept a clean sheet as Oldham defeated Bournemouth 1-0. Cisak made several quality saves and was instrumental in ensuring his team took all three points. Dean Bouzanis was on the bench for Oldham.
Bailey Wright started his third consecutive game for Preston North End. The 19 year old is fast becoming a permanent fixture in the Preston backline where he has played as a centre half and a makeshift left back. The Lilywhites conceded a late goal to draw 1-1 against Bury.
Neil Kilkenny was recalled to the starting line up as Bristol held on for a 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough. Rhys Williams and Scott McDonald were both out injured.
In the Scottish Premier, Ryan McGowan started and played 90 minutes for Hearts against St Johnstone. Early in the first half, McGowan stormed down the right flank to set up a goal for James Holt. However, it was ultimately not enough as Hearts lost 2-1.
Aaron Mooy remained on the bench for St Mirren’s 1-1 draw away to Dunfermline.
In the J-League, Jade North played 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card during Consadole Sapporo’s 2-1 loss to Urawa Red Diamonds. Matthew Spiranovic was not in the Urawa squad.
Alex Brosque also played 90 minutes and received a yellow card in a 2-1 loss as Shimzu S-Pulse went down to Kashiwa Reysol.
Early in the first half, Brosque had the chance to set an unmarked Toshiyuki Takagi away on goal, but instead took a shot from outside the box that went straight to the Kashiwa goalkeeper, Takanori Sugeno.
A few minutes later, he bungled another chance when he headed a cross directly at Sugeno. The worst of Brosque’s errors came on the 12 minute mark, when he headed a perfectly weighted cross over the bar.
Eddy Bosnar played a full match as Suwon Bluewings lost for the first time in the 2012 K League season, going down 2-1 to Jeju United.
Matt McKay is still searching for his first win in Korea after Busan I’Park lost 2-1 at home to Gwangju. McKay played for the full 90 minutes.
Robbie Cornthwaite’s Chunnam Dragons got the better of Luke DeVere’s Gyeongnam. Both players started the match as Chunnam came out 3-1 winners.
In the UAE Pro-League, Mark Bresciano played for 90 minutes for Al Nasr as his team went down 1-0 to Dubai.
On Sunday, Josh Kennedy scored his second goal of the J League season and helped Nagoya Grampus to a 2-1 victory over Albirex Niigata.
Kennedy had a goal disallowed midway through the first half when he was adjudged to have pushed his marker before controlling a cross with his chest and drilling a shot passed the Albirex keeper.
Early in the second half, Kennedy played a part in Nagoya’s opening goal when he closed down an Albirex defender and knocked the ball on to Mu Kanazaki, who slotted it home.
The Socceroo striker got his own name on the scoresheet when, 67 minutes into the match, he towered over his man and headed home a floated cross into the top left hand corner of the net.
In China, Milan Susak was an unused sub as Tianjin Teda played out a goaless draw against Jiangsu Shuntian.
In the Russian Premier League, Dynamo Moscow was dealt a major blow by cross city rivals, Spartak Moscow, in the battle for one of Russia’s three UEFA Champions League spots. Luke Wilkshire played the full 90 minutes, but he could do nothing but watch as Spartak scored two late goals to condemn Dynamo to a 3-1 defeat.
Brett Holman played 90 minutes as AZ Alkmaar snapped a three game losing streak by defeating RKC Waalwijk 1-0 in the Eredivisie. Manager Gertjan Verbeek will soon be faced with the arduous task of filling the gaping hole that Holman’s departure to Aston Villa will inevitably leave in the AZ midfield.
Relegation threatened FC Utrecht lost 3-1 away to Heracles Almelo. Tommy Oar came on as an 83 minute substitute, Michael Zullo was an unused sub and Adam Sarota was not in the squad.
The former Brisbane Roar players have been out of favour at Utrecht ever since Jan Wouters assumed the managerial reins late last year. Zullo, who last week had a rare start, made way for Dave Bulthuis, while Oar has had to be content with a bit part role.
It was much better news for 20 year old Jason Davidson. The left back started his first match for Heracles and played 90 minutes.
Brent McGrath will miss at least three weeks after breaking his hand while playing for the Brondby reserves. The onetime Socceroo recently dropped behind Simon Makienko and Nicolaj Agger as preferred striker and the injury will further hinder his attempts to regain a position in the Brondby starting XI.
Elsewhere in Denmark, Nathan Coe played a full match for SonderjyskE in the 2-1 victory over AaB.
James Troisi played 90 minutes for Kaysersispor during the 1-0 defeat to Karabukspor in the Turkish Super League.
On Thursday, Troisi scored the winner against Istanbul BB to set up a clash with Fenerbache in the quarterfinals of the Turkish Cup.
In the UAE Pro-League, Lucas Neill played the full 90 and helped Al Jazira to a 1-0 victory over Ajman.