Sydney FC's dramatic late win in thrilling five-goal season opener
Ryan McGowan has come back to haunt his hometown club, scoring a late goal as Sydney FC beat a 10-man Adelaide 3-2 as the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season began with a bang on Friday night.
It was a thrilling encounter at Coopers Stadium that had a bit of everything with five goals, three VAR interventions and a red card to Adelaide defender Ryan Strain.
The Sky Blues led 2-0 inside 28 minutes through a double to Adam Le Fondre before goals either side of the break through Nikola Mileusnic and Al Hassan Toure drew the Reds level.
Momentum swung back in Sydney’s favour as Strain was sent off just before the hour-mark before McGowan’s late heroics made it a perfect start to the Sky Blues’ title defence.
The result continues Sydney FC’s stranglehold over Adelaide United, stretching their unbeaten run against the Reds to 10 games.
Le Fondre gives Sydney FC the lead
An attack for Sydney FC ended with Le Fondre’s attempt hitting the outstretched arm of Reds skipper Michael Jakobsen.
After consultation with the VAR, referee Alex King awarded the Sky Blues a penalty.
And Le Fondre made no mistake from the spot, blasting his effort into the top corner to open his account for the season.
Sky Blues double their lead
Sydney’s new-look attack combined brilliantly for this one.
After winning possession deep in Adelaide’s half, the Sky Blues produced a slick move with Milos Ninkovic finding Alex Baumjohann free in the box.
The German showed great vision to pass up the chance to shoot, unselfishly squaring a pass to Le Fondre to tap into an empty net.
Reds pull one back through Mileusnic
With the seconds ticking down before the break, Ryan Kitto won a free-kick right on the edge of the Sydney box.
Nikola Mileusnic showed great technique to hit a sweet free-kick, which went up over the wall and then dipped perfectly to nestle in the top corner of the net.
Debut goal for Toure
Reds boss Gertjan Verbeek handed Toure his Hyundai A-League debut and the 19-year-old repaid his faith with an excellent finish seven minutes after the restart
A clever flick from Halloran picked out Toure's run in the box and the teenager showed great strength to hold off a defender before sliding a shot past Heward-Belle.
Toure’s joy appeared to be short lived as the assistant referee flagged him for offside.
But VAR intervened with replays showing Toure was just onside, overturning the original decision and awarding the goal.
Strain sees red for the Reds
Just five minutes after drawing level, Adelaide’s momentum was halted when their right-back was sent off.
After failing to deal with a ball over the top, Strain allowed Le Fondre to get in behind him and then pulled the Englishman down just outside the box.
With Le Fondre clear through on goal before Strain’s intervention, referee Alex King had no choice but to show him a red card.
McGowan wins it at the death
On his Hyundai A-League debut, McGowan was Sydney FC's unlikely hero.
The Caltex Socceroos defender was left totally unmarked at a corner and made the Reds pay.
Brandon O’Neill’s outswinger from the right was perfectly weighted as McGowan timed his run brilliantly to power a header past Izzo.
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