Taylor own goal spares Sydney in breathless draw with Phoenix
Sydney FC came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw against Wellington Phoenix in Saturday afternoon's thrilling Hyundai A-league contest.
The reigning Premiers and competition pacesetters established a 14 minute foothold when Adam Le Fondre swooped on a moment of hesitation between Luke DeVere and Stefan Marinovic.
But Phoenix hit back swiftly via Reno Piscopo's first Hyundai A-League goal, finished smartly at the back post after David Ball's jinking run and cross.
Piscopo turned provider as the Phoenix hit the lead before the break with the young winger darting down the left flank and whipping in a ball which was expertly finished off by Ulises Davila.
Jaushua Sotirio and Ball tested Redmayne early in the second half, and Steve Corica introduced Milos Ninkovic as the Sky Blues searched for a route back into the match.
The Serbian's impact was instant. Ninkovic won a free kick in a promising position on the right, from which Luke Brattan's tantalising delivery evaded everyone and ended up in the back of the net off Steven Taylor's midriff.
Both sides created superb chances to snatch a winner: Liberato Cacace slalomed past a bundle of Sydney defenders before teeing up Davila, who screwed his finish agonisingly wide from close range.
At the other end, Ninkovic lashed the side netting after his lung-bursting run into the box was spotted by Anthony Caceres.
The result leaves Sydney six points ahead of second-place Melbourne City at the Hyundai A-League summit. City play rivals Melbourne Victory in the Melbourne derby tonight, before taking on Sydney next Sunday.
Phoenix remain in sixth position.
Le Fondre pounces
The Sydney FC striker does not need any invitation to score right now and he sniffed out an early opener for the visitors after Phoenix were caught flat footed.
Kosta Barbarouses' pass looked a little too heavy for Le Fondre but he did not give up and pounced on the hesitation of Luke DeVere and Stefan Marinovic to prod in his 11th goal of the season.
Piscopo hits back
It did not take long for the Phoenix to draw level and Ufuk Talay's men did so when their seasoned international veteran combined with one of the club's emerging stars.
Ball scampered behind the Sydney defence, who were caught on their heels, before measuring the perfect cutback for Piscopo to tuck away his maiden Hyundai A-League goal at the back post.
Make that goal number seven this season for the Mexico international and former Chelsea product.
Piscopo was again involved, beating his man on the right before crossing to the centre where Davila brilliantly finished past Redmayne to put the home side in front.
Taylor own goal draws Sydney level
Sydney rallied following the introduction of Ninkovic, and restored parity within minutes of his arrival.
The Serbian was felled in a promising position to the right of the penalty area, Brattan's whipped delivery was superb, and Taylor could not readjust in time to prevent the ball from trickling over the line.
Sydney FC v Melbourne City
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Sunday, 29 December 2019
Kick off: 6.30pm AEDT
Western United v Wellington Phoenix
Saturday, 28 December 2019
Kick off: 5.00pm AEDT
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