De Jong shows his class and hints at big end to the season for Sydney
When Sydney FC snared Siem de Jong as a marquee signing for the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season, much was expected of the supremely gifted Dutchman.
Having come from Dutch giants Ajax and with experience in the English Premier League with Newcastle United, de Jong boasts a resume to have a huge impact on the competition.
Unfortunately for both the Sky Blues and de Jong, injury has kept him sidelined for large chunks of the campaign.
But he returned in Friday night’s clash with Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium and showed exactly why the Sky Blues were so desperate to acquire his services.
In his first appearance since Round 15 in January, de Jong came off the bench to inspire Steve Corica’s side to a vital 3-1 win over the Roar, a result which keeps their Premiership hopes alive.
First, he played a significant role in Adam Le Fondre’s goal which regained the lead for Sydney, with his precision shot rebounding off the post for the Englishman to pounce.
Then in the final minute, he underlined his undoubted class with the match-sealer.
Brandon O’Neill’s incisive pass into the box seemed to take de Jong to wide after he touched the ball around keeper Jamie Young.
But his quality and execution to pull off a no-look strike past the Roar custodian at his near post was a thing of beauty.
“I didn’t expect the ball [so wide] so when I was there and I didn’t see anyone in the middle I thought I’d just look the other way and try it in the near post and it came off,” de Jong explained of his moment of magic.
“It was a good goal.
He added: “I feel alright now. I’ve had a few good weeks of training and these minutes are helpful as well.
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“Hopefully it will be upwards, I can’t wait to play more minutes.”
As will his coach Corica.
De Jong has been restricted to just 12 appearances for the campaign for a healthy return of four goals and two assists.
And with the competition heading towards the business end, de Jong might just deliver the kind of impact he was initially brought to the Harbour City to provide.
If he can stay fit, the 30-year-old will be fresh and is set to be an x-factor in the Sky Blues quest to win the title.