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Moreton Daily Stadium

Late Van der Saag strike seals 2-0 win for Sky Blues over Roar

Sydney FC scored once on either side of half-time to end the regular season on a high with a 2-0 win over Brisbane Roar at Moreton Daily Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Roar needed a three-point effort to seal third spot on the table heading into the Finals Series but will instead wait to see if Central Coast Mariners can defeat Western United in the second game of Matchday Saturday to jump above Brisbane on the table. 

Barbarouses netted from a tight angle in the 16th minute of play, burying the ball into the bottom-left corner from a tight angle to get the visitors ahead in Queensland.

The Roar created the bulk of the chances after falling behind, but with Andrew Redmayne on Socceroos duty Thomas Heward-Belle put on a starring display in his first start between the sticks for the Sky Blues this season.

The stand-in 'keeper made a string of sterling saves to deny Dylan Wenzel-Halls, Alex Parsons and Joey Champness equalising goals throughout the contest - allowing Harry Van der Saag to emerge off the bench and score the sealing goal for Sydney with the last touch of the game.

The Sky Blues end the regular season with 47 points on the board, with a place in the Semi Finals secured ahead of the 2020/21 A-League Finals Series. Brisbane, meanwhile, will watch on intently to see if the Mariners manage to jump into third spot with a win over Western United. 

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Key Moments

A pair of early chances presented to Wenzel-Halls and Parsons as Brisbane looked to challenge Heward-Belle in his first start of the season in goal for the Sky Blues.

Down the other end Bobô thundered a header off the crossbar in the ninth minute before Barbarouses opened the scoring with 16 minutes on the clock, firing the visitors into the lead with a low shot buried into the bottom-left corner from a tight angle.

Paulo Retre - who began the game on the right side of defence in the absence of Rhyan Grant - fed the ball in behind the space vacated by Roar left-back Corey Brown to find Barbarouses tearing toward goal.

The New Zealand international sped into the box with Kai Trewin giving chase, and as the angle tightened he shot across Jamie Young to find the opposite corner with precision and power.

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GOAL: Barbarouses - Sydney FC open the scoring

The Sky Blues created a further two opportunities in near-identical situations to the one which led to the opening goal, with both Adam Le Fondre and Barbarouses getting behind Brisbane's defensive line with runs down the right side of the 18-yard box.

Le Fondre's first opportunity of the afternoon fell into Young's waiting gloves and Barbarouses smashed the next chance off the side netting as the score remained at 1-0 in favour of the visitors.

Wenzel-Halls put Heward-Belle to the test with a swerving shot in the 34th minute, and the Sydney custodian did well to dive to his left and swat the shot away with an outstretched left paw. 

SAVE: Heward-Belle - The Sydney keeper denies the Roar

Brisbane got on top in the latter stages of the first half, with the two full-backs Brown and Josh Brindell-South getting forward to spark attacking moves down either flank which failed to produce an equalising goal as the visitors took a 1-0 lead to the break. 

The Roar burst out of the blocks in the second 45, with Parsons striking from distance and only just missing the top-left corner of goal with Heward-Belle well-beaten and standing no chance of tipping the dangerous strike away. 

Retre did his defensive duties to stop Wenzel-Halls striking from close range after taking the ball down in the box off his chest in the 55th minute before Danzaki missed his side's best opportunity of the afternoon ten minutes later, missing mark with the goal at his mercy from a slight angle inside the penalty area. 

Heward-Belle produced a pair of sublime saves late in the second half to keep Wenzel-Halls and Roar substitute Champness out, retaining Sydney's sheet clean heading into the last 10 minutes.

Wenzel-Halls challenged the Sydney stopper in the first half with a dipping shot and the Roar forward did the same in the 69th minute, with Heward-Belle diving backwards to poke to ball over the crossbar.

Champness arrived on the scene shortly after coming on to volley a shot on target after a defensive clearance hit the head of Retre and dropped into his path inside the box, asking Heward-Belle to produce his best save of the night as he got down low to his right to put a strong arm on the shot travelling with pace toward the back of the net.

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SAVE: Heward-Belle - The Sydney FC keeper is simply too good

Van der Saag came off the bench in place of Luke Brattan in the 65th minute, and half an hour later the Sydney substitute put the icing on the cake with his side's second goal of the afternoon scored with the very last touch of the game. 

Van der Saag invaded down the right flank to meet a ball delivered to the back post by fellow substitute Alex Baumjohann, before striking the ball off Young's near post and over the line to seal the 2-0 win on the road. 

GOAL: Van der Saag - Sydney put the match to bed

Next matches - Matchweek 24

Central Coast Mariners v Western United
Saturday, June 5 2021
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Kick-off: 5.05 pm AEST
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505, ABC TV
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports
Match Centre

Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory
Saturday, June 5 2021
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off: 7.10pm AEST
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports
Match Centre

Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
Sunday, June 6 2021
Venue: AAMI Park
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEST
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports
Match Centre

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