Socceroos Central: Goodwin heroics keep Sparta up

by Ben Somerford on May 14, 2017

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Socceroo Craig Goodwin has played a key role in Sparta Rotterdam avoiding relegation with a goal and two assists in a 3-1 win over Go Ahead Eagles in the Dutch Eredivisie on Sunday.

Sparta needed to win on the final day to have any hope of survival, sitting in the relegation play-offs spots two points behind 15th placed Roda JC at the start of play, but Goodwin played a lead role in a stunning turnaround.

Goodwin was a half-time substitute with the scores locked at 0-0, before his 57th minute free-kick set up Martin Pusic for the opener.

The Eagles equalised, before Goodwin got the assist for Pusic again on 80 minutes.

With Roda JC losing elsewhere, Goodwin sealed the deal with an 89th minute free-kick to make it 3-1.

Fellow Australian Kenny Dougall was a 78th minute substitute.

That result means Stefan Mauk’s NEC Nijmegen will play in the relegation play-offs despite their 2-0 win at Heerenveen. Mauk was an unused sub.

Elsewhere, Brad Jones played his part as Feyenoord clinched the Eredivisie title with a 3-1 win over Heracles.

Jones was in goal as Feyenoord claimed their first league title in 18 years.

Jason Davidson put in a full shift and got an assist as Groningen won 5-3 at Twente.

Ajdin Hrustic was a 67th minute substitute for Groningen.

In England’s Championship promotion play-offs on Sunday, Aaron Mooy played a full game as Huddersfield played out a 0-0 home draw with Sheffield Wednesday in their first leg.

The second leg will be played at Hillsborough on Thursday morning (AEST).

Tomi Juric got on the scoresheet in the Swiss Super League as FC Luzern lost 4-1 to Young Boys on Sunday.

Juric equalised with an eighth minute header, his fifth goal of the season. 

In Germany on Sunday, Mitchell Langerak was in goal as VfB Stuttgart lost 1-0 to second-placed Hannover 96 in the 2.Bundesliga, meaning they are yet to make official their promotion.

Despite the defeat, Stuttgart remain top and on the cusp of promotion with third-placed Eintracht Braunschweig lost 6-0 to Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday.

Stuttgart are three points and +10 goal difference ahead of Braunschweig with one game to play. Langerak's side host lowly Wurzburger Kickers on the final day.

Mathew Leckie’s Ingolstadt were officially relegated in the German Bundesliga after a 1-1 draw at Freiburg wasn’t enough to keep them alive.

Leckie put in a full shift during the draw, which leaves Ingolstadt four points behind 16th spot with one game to play.

“It’s a disappointing end because we gave everything today and I think we deserved so much more in this game,” Leckie told the Bundesliga website.

“The amount of effort and courage the team put in today was probably the best I’ve seen it this season.

“It’s not easy to come here and play. I think today we showed we really deserve to be in this league.” 

In Scotland’s Premier League, Scott McDonald put in a full shift as struggling Motherwell claimed an important 1-0 win away to Hamilton.

Teenage goalkeeper Oliver Pain was on the bench for Motherwell, having joined the club on loan from Sunderland.

Motherwell are now three points clear of the relegation play-offs spot, occupied by Hamilton, with two games to play.

Elsewhere, Ryan Edwards played 67 minutes as Partick Thistle lost 1-0 at St Johnstone.

On Friday night in the SPL, Tom Rogic started and played 57 minutes as Celtic won 3-1 over Aberdeen.

In Asia, Robbie Kruse and James Holland were both absent for Liaoning Kaixin in China.

Mark Milligan played likely his last game for relegated Bani Yas as they lost 2-1 to Al Ahli on the final day of the UAE season.

Full games
Mat Ryan (Genk), Jimmy Jeggo (Sturm Graz), Mustafa Amini (AGF), Tomi Mrcela (Chunnam Dragons), Matt Jurman (Suwon Bluewings), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Hatta)
Minutes
Ben Halloran - started & played 57 mins (Heidenheim), Awer Mabil - started & played 68 mins (Esbjerg), Milos Degenek - started & played 71 mins (Yokohama F. Marinos)
Unused subs
Brad Smith (Bournemouth), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg), Chris Ikonomidis (AGF), Oliver Bozanic (Ventforet Kofu)
Notable absentees
Nathan Burns (Tokyo)