After an incredible week of football results from across the world, epic comebacks and dramatic late winners, the A-League semi-finals continued a global trend over the weekend.

In two fantastic knockout matches jam-packed with drama, Adelaide United’s 3-3 draw with Perth Glory was an encounter for the ages – featuring one of the greatest A-League finals comebacks – while Sydney FC produced six of the best against Melbourne Victory to establish one of the A-League Finals’ biggest margins.

The penalty shoot-out in the United – Glory match up had to be seen to believed and produced a record-breaking number of saves by both goalkeepers.

With the help of our resident Australian football statistician, Andrew Howe, who has reviewed his extensive National Soccer League and A-League penalty shoot-out statistics, Liam Reddy’s four saves during the penalties was a record.

United’s Paul Izzo, who made three saves, was an equal next best, alongside Les Pogliacomi in the 2000 NSL Grand Final. According to Howe’s data, less than 20 per cent of shoot-out attempts on target are saved, so for Reddy to make four (and an injured Izzo with three) is quite remarkable. 

In all 23 NSL and A-League shootouts, Howe revealed there have been 269 shots, with 195 goals, 48 saves and 26 misses.

Reddy’s heroics weren’t the first time the goalkeeper played a role in an A-League semi-final shoot out win. His 2010 save was not only one of the more intuitive, but in fact helped Wellington Phoenix progress to the second semi-final against eventual Grand Final winners, Sydney FC.

Reddy, after Friday’s match, remains on 101 Australian national league clean sheets, one behind the recently-retired Eugene Galekovic who is 4th-placed in all-time clean sheets. Should he keep a clean sheet in the Grand Final this weekend, he’ll not only win the final with Perth, but move to fourth position, equal with Galekovic.

Clint Bolton                        145 clean sheets
Jason Petkovic                   121
Bob Catlin                          105
Eugene Galekovic            102
Liam Reddy                        101

Meanwhile in Sunday’s second semi-final, Melbourne Victory were stunned 6-1 by a rampant Sydney FC.

In terms of margins, the five goal gap between the two sides puts the Sky Blues’ win up there with one of the biggest final wins.

Victory hold the record of the biggest margin in the 2007 A-League Final, where they demolished Adelaide United 6-0.

Meanwhile, Scott McDonald’s mid-week signing for Western United and recent return to football with Partick Thistle in Scotland, has prompted Howe to pull up his recent scoring record against other Australians.

McDonald signed with Scottish second-tier side Partick in February, when they sat last on the ladder and in threat of relegation. However, after a run of good form, McDonald helped Thistle finished the season in sixth position, five clear of the relegation zone.

In his 13 matches at Thistle, McDonald scored seven goals and no doubt Western United will be hoping he continues that goal-scoring form in the A-League in their inaugural season, although it would take a prolific season from McDonald to catch second-placed Mark Viduka. McDonald, according to Howe’s records, is Australia’s third highest scorer in all national leagues.

240    Damian Mori
202    Mark Viduka
183  Scott McDonald
169  Graham Arnold
166   Frank Farina
163  Tim Cahill