Finals hopes dashed for Jets, Sydney

The Hyundai A-League finals dream has been extinguished for Sydney FC and is all but over for the Newcastle Jets after the sides played out thrilling 1-1 draw at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Hyundai A-League finals dream has been extinguished for Sydney FC and is all but over for the Newcastle Jets after the sides played out thrilling 1-1 draw at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Jets had plenty of chances to score in a scrappy first half but couldn't deliver the final blow, while Brazilian Bruno Cazarine showed no such hesitation to put the visitors in the lead in the 76th minute.

Newcastle fought back to level via veteran striker Sasho Petrvoski in the 84th minute and almost snatched a late winner through skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley but it wasn't to be and the sides had to settle for a share of the points.

The draw virtually ends Newcastle's season as they are now on 32 points, six behind the sixth placed Wellington Phoenix with both teams having two games to play, while for Sydney the draw means their focus now shifts to their upcoming Asian Champions League campaign.

"We are upset and disappointed because we believed that we still had a small chance to reach the finals but not now," Sydney FC coach Vitezslav Lavicka said.

"I think this result wasn't good enough for both sides."

Jets coach Branko Culina said he was proud of his players despite their finals dream virtually ending.

"To create so many opportunities and play ever so well and not to get a result is very frustrating but I am very pleased," Culina said.

Match day started in heatwave conditions of 39C but by kick-off it had changed dramatically with a fierce southerly wind and driving rain to make for miserable football weather.

Despite the gloom the Jets started brightly and could have been two goals to the good within the first 15 minutes.

New Zealand international Jeremy Brockie failed to take advantage of an open goal after a Mario Simic cross was squirted under Sydney goalkeeper Ivan Necevski before Stuart Musalik cleared Nikolai Topor-Stanley's header off the line.

The Jets maintained their pressure and had another of chances on goal with Labinot Haliti, Brockie and Marko Jesic firing wide of the mark.

Down the other end the Sydney attack was eventually forcing their way into the game with Bruno Cazarine was just beaten to the ball by Newcastle goalkeeper Ben Kennedy, former Jet Nicky Carle firing over the crossbar and livewire Dimitri Petraos looking dangerous on the counter.

The best chance of the first half fell to Haliti in the 43rd minute. Tarek Elrich unleased a fierce shot from 30 yards and Haliti managed to deflect it towards goal only to see it cannon off the crossbar to see the teams locked at 0-0 at half-time.

Sydney started the second half with more intent with Carle forcing two good saves from Kennedy before a shot on the turn by Scott Jamieson blazed narrowly over the crossbar.

The Jets had claims for a handball after an Abbas corner but referee Peter Green waved play on.

Haliti should have scored when he rose high at the backpost to meet a pinpoint cross from Jobe Wheelhouse only to see it go narrowly wide of the target.

Sydney broke the deadlock in the 76th minute when Cazarine showed too much strength to hold off defender Sam Gallaway and slot home from a narrow angle after he had taken possession from a Jamieson throw-in.

The Jets didn-t give up and duly drew level eight minutes later via veteran striker Sasho Petrovski. Wheelhouse sent a dangerous free-kick into the box where Topor-Stanley headed back across goal for Petrovski to slot home from three yards.

With their season on the line the Jets launched into a frantic attacking raid in the final minutes.

Jesic slide a shot just across the face of goal before Topor-Stanley went within inches of grabbing the winner in injury time.

An Elrich free-kick saw Petrovski head on target only for Necevski to parry the ball away into the path of Topor-Stanley but the ball came off his knee and over the crossbar from just five yards out and the match finished in a 1-1 draw.

Newcastle Jets 1 Petrovski 84'

Sydney FC 1 Cazarine 76'

Crowd: 6780 at EnergyAustralia Stadium.