Buhagiar haunts Gosford with late equaliser in Sydney's enthralling draw with Mariners
Trent Buhagiar came back to haunt Central Coast Mariners by scoring a late equaliser as Sydney FC came from two goals down to draw 2-2 on Saturday night.
The former Mariners speedster pounced on a giveaway from Kye Rowles before slotting away Kosta Barbarouses' cutback to seal an impressive turnaround from the reigning champions.
Before shooting themselves in the foot, it looked as though the Mariners were going to pass another huge test in their unlikely premiership tilt.
Quickfire strikes from Mariners front pairing Marco Urena and Matt Simon catapulted Alen Stajcic's side into a 2-0 lead that was halved by Milos Ninkovic's lovely finish in first half stoppage time.
Sydney held large stretches of attacking possession in the second half and saw Bobo's effort chalked off for offside before Buhagiar made Rowles pay for an uncharacteristic mistake.
Patrick Wood and Daniel De Silva had late chances to net a winner but the late slip from Alen Stajcic's men spurns the opportunity to nab their first back to back wins over Sydney FC in seven years, as the former Westfield Matildas' boss' 50th game in charge of the resurgent Mariners fizzled out to a disappointing end.
Despite this the Mariners are still second on the table but could lost that standing if Adelaide United beat Wellington Phoenix tomorrow.
Sydney FC are fourth prior to fifth-placed Macarthur hosting ladder leaders Melbourne City later tonight.
The Mariners wasted no time making an impression in front of a raucous home crowd with Costa Rica international Marco Urena scoring his fourth of the season to open the scoring.
It came after the veteran forward shattered the the Sydney FC offside trap and shimmied past retreating Sky Blues defenders before clipping the ball past the grounded Andrew Redmayne at the near post.
Sydney sought to retaliate immediately. Bobo had the ball in the net but was ruled offside and the visitors began to dominate proceedings.
But the Mariners scored with a classic counter punch against the run of play when Simon swept an excellent finish past Redmayne after Josh Nisbet flicked it over the Sydney defence and into the Mariners forward's path.
Sydney were heading into half time two goals down with nothing to show for their enterprise but deservedly got their name on the scoresheet as Ninkovic applied a wonderful lobbed finish to nick Luke Brattan's ball past Mark Birighitti for 2-1.
Sydney continued their surge in the second and appeared to have restored parity when Bobo headed home at the back post but the goal was ruled out because Ninkovic was in an offside position in the build up.
Sydney mounted pressure but the Mariners continued to fire warning shots, first through Simon and then through Urena, who drew a big save from Redmayne.
However, the Sky Blues would eventually draw level when Rowles played a terrible pass straight to Buhagiar. The former Mariner played in Barbarouses and slotted in the cutback to draw Sydney level.
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