Bobo answers the call as Sydney FC sweep Big Blue rivals Victory
Bobo received a late call-up and fired Sydney FC into second place on the A-League ladder as the Sky Blues brushed past Melbourne Victory, 2-0, in the 56th Big Blue.
The 36-year-old striker was handed a start after Trent Buhagiar was sidelined in the warm-up at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium and the veteran pounced to net his ninth goal of the campaign in the 10th minute, before ex-Victory ace Kosta Barabouses wrapped up the result with seven minutes remaining.
Bobo, Sydney’s second all-time top goalscorer, partnered the club’s third highest marksman Adam Le Fondre in attack for the first time and the deadly duo combined when the Englishman’s header from Luke Brattan’s corner was parried into the path of the Brazilian poacher, who lurking on the goal-line.
The Sky Blues defended resolutely and threatened to extend the lead as Le Fondre made it though 62 minutes on his first start since returning to the Harbour City last month, which will serve as a boost to coach Steve Corica ahead of the Finals Series after Buhagiar’s pre-match injury forced a late change of plans.
Barbarouses marked his 50th game since crossing the Big Blue divide by notching his seventh goal of the season in the 83rd minute and made it six goals in eight games against his former employers, as Sydney clinched an eighth straight Big Blue triumph to sweep the series for a second straight year.
Victory had their moments going forward but were unable to penetrate a compact Sydney backline, leaving interim coach Steve Kean’s side in danger of collecting their first ever wooden spoon as they sit one point ahead of the Newcastle Jets with a far inferior goal difference, having played a game more.
On his return from three games out with a knee injury, the lively Callum McManaman’s strike was deflected over after good work from Ben Folami on Victory's left. Barbarouses gave his former club a reminder of his threat in the fifth minute, stabbing a shot wide from Anthony Caceras’ flick, before Brattan’s corner was met by Le Fondre's head and Bobo added a simple tap-in to open the scoring for the third straight Big Blue.
Victory gloveman Matt Action managed to push Rhyan Grant’s cutback into a safe zone with Barbarouses closing on goal on the quarter hour. The away side responded with some good spells of attacking pressure but could not find a final product, while Sydney showed their danger with Grant’s glancing header from Brattan’s free-kick flashing across goal after the Socceroo beat Storm Roux at the near post.
The Navy Blue created their first genuine chance when Jake Brimmer’s whipped cross found Rudy Gestede just after the half hour mark and the towering forward’s header cracked the foot of the upright. After Nick Ansell was forced off in the 35th minute and replaced by Dylan Ryan, Brimmer tried his luck from distance but his low drive was well gathered by Andrew Redmayne as Sydney went into the sheds with the lead.
Corcia’s side reset themselves and regained the imputes after the interval with Barbarouses wriggling through all of the Victory defence other than Leigh Broxham, who made a strong block on his 333rd A-League appearance. Sydney’s momentum continued to build as Le Fondre headed Brattan’s corner off target and Anthony Caceras drilled over in the 55th minute after a slick, flowing Sky Blues move.
After struggling to maintain a foothold in the game, Victory found some rhythm as Brimmer’s effort forced Redmayne into a sprawling save. Moments later, Roux’s header was pushed away by the Sky Blues gloveman and substitute Ryan could not adjust to turn in the rebound. Redmayne was then called on again to block at Folami’s feet after an impressive burst by 20-year-old substitute Nishan Velupillay on debut.
Sydney’s own bright young gun, Patrick Wood, twisted and turned through the Victory defence and stung the hands of Acton in the 77th minute and the hosts put the game to bed six minutes later. With the Navy Blue stretched, replacement Milos Ninkovic surged forward and played in Barbarouses to slam in his 75th A-League goal, leaving Victory needing to win all three of their remaining games to avoid the lowest points tally in club history, set last season at 23 points.
Next fixtures – Matchweek 22
Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
Sunday, 23 May 2011
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEST
Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United
Sunday, 23 May 2021
Venue: AAMI Park
Kick-off: 6.10pm AEST
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