Melbourne Victory has ended Sydney FC’s unbeaten start to the season, winning a Hyundai A-League classic 4-2 on Saturday night.
In a pulsating clash at Allianz Stadium, last season’s grand finalists put on a show for the crowd of just under 16,000 fans.
There were four goals inside the first 28 minutes with Filip Holosko and Alex Brosque scoring for the Sky Blues and Besart Berisha and Gui Finkler for Victory.
And the see-sawing nature of contest continued after the break as the Sky Blues hit the woodwork twice before substitute Kosta Barbarouses and a second for Berisha won it for the visitors.
1-0 Holosko (5’) – Alex Gersbach dribbled around two defenders on the left and surged into the box before squaring across the face of goal and giving Holosko a simple close-range tap-in.
1-1 Berisha (9’) – Receiving the ball with his back to goal 25 yards out, Berisha turned Jacques Faty and then let rip, the ball taking a slight deflection off Matt Jurman on its way into the net.
2-1 Brosque (20’) – The Sydney skipper played in Shane Smeltz on the right of the box and continued his run forward. The Kiwi international’s low shot was only parried by Danny Vukovic and Brosque was on hand to sweep it home.
2-2 Finkler (28’) – Daniel Georgievski slipped in Finkler who had ghosted in behind the Sydney defence on the right-hand side of the box. From an acute angle the Brazilian blasted a shot towards goal which snuck in at the near post.
2-3 Barbarouses (68’) – Finkler’s shot from just outside the box deflected perfectly into the path of Barbarouses. The substitute killed the ball with his first touch before calmly slotting it past Janjetovic.
2-4 Berisha (90+2’) – With Sydney pushing for an equaliser, Victory countered with Berisha left one-on-one with Faty. He produced a skilful step-over before burying his left-foot shot in the bottom corner.
Sydney FC will be wondering how they didn’t re-take the lead on the hour mark after a crazy goal-mouth scramble.
A corner found an unmarked Smeltz at the far post with his header smashing onto the post and falling into the path of Jurman whose sweet volley went through a crowd of players and cannoned off the other post.
It was a huge escape for the visitors. Eight minutes later they went in front themselves down the other end through Barbarouses.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
Prior to this week, the Sky Blues had conceded only two goals in their five matches. …..It was also the first time this season they had conceded a second half goal.
Berisha’s goal means he has now scored 13 goals in his last 14 matches in all competitions, while Barbarouses has scored in three consecutive A-League games against Sydney FC.
The win was just Victory’s second in their last 13 matches against the Sky Blues in Sydney, dating back to October, 2007.
The Sky Blues dominated the second half, with more than 60 percent possession and nine corners to none.
What a sensational 90 minutes. Cracking goals, some sublime football, physical tackles and even a hint of controversy.
The Big Blue always seems to deliver something special and this was no exception. A superb advertisement for the Hyundai A-League.
It’s the golden rule of goalkeeping…always protect your near post. But Sky Blues gloveman Vedran Janjetovic failed to do that and it cost his side a goal.
Finkler’s strike from a tight angle was sensational, but Janjetovic should have been more alert and dealt with it better.
THE FINAL WORD
The Sky Blues face the new prospect this season of having to bounce back from a defeat. They shouldn’t lose too much heart from their performance though. Graham Arnold’s side will leave NSW for the first time this season next weekend, with a trip to Perth Glory on Saturday night.
Victory showed they aren’t going to give up their title easily with a brilliant win on the road. They return home to play Central Coast Mariners next, with a Thursday night clash at AAMI Park.
Sydney FC: Janjetovic, Grant, Faty, Jurman, Gersbach, Tavares (O’Neill 85’), Dimitrijevic, Holosko (Blackwood 78’), Brosque, Ninkovic, Smeltz (Simon 69’)
Melbourne Victory: Vukovic, Georgievski, Deng (Barbarouses 46’), Delpierre, Murnane, Broxham, Mahazi, Bozanic, Finkler (Makarounas 90+4’), Ben Khalfallah (Howard 88’), Berisha
Scorers: Holosko 5’, Berisha 9’, Brosque 20’, Finkler 28’, Barbarouses 68’, Berisha 90+2’
Red cards: Nil
Yellow cards: Tavares 26’, Finkler 33’, Brosque 45+1’, Holosko 63’, Barbarouses 79’
Conditions: 18C, WetAttendance: 15,947 @ Allianz Stadium