Hyundai A-League pre-season: Sky Blues held by NPL club

Sydney FC has been held to a goalless draw by NSW NPL outfit Hakoah Sydney City East in a hard-fought but entertaining pre-season clash at Leichhardt Oval on Tuesday night.

Sky Blues boss Steve Corica used a squad with a mix of trialists, youngsters and experienced first-teamers in his side, while new Dutch defender Jop Van Der Linden made his first appearance for the club.

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While Sydney FC dominated the match and created a host of chances, they were unable to find the breakthrough to keep their pre-season winning run going.

Young striker Charles Lokli-ngoy started up front and he had the best early chance, dragging his shot just wide of the post when clear through on goal.

Daniel De Silva forced a brilliant save from the Hakoah keeper just before the break, while speedster Trent Buhagiar almost won it for Sydney FC 11 minutes from the end, but his looping header just missed the target.

While the Sky Blues were wasteful going forward, they again looked solid in defence, with new-boy van der Linden forming a strong partnership in the heart of defence with Aaron Calver.

“I’m excited to be here finally. It's been great to train with the team this week and have my first game," van der Linden said.

“I'm getting fit for the season but there is still plenty of time.”

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Aaron Calver on the ball in defence. Photo by Jaime Castaneda (@jamcas50)

Skipper Alex Brosque added: “I’m feeling pretty good and slowly building.  

"It’s good to get these games in and minutes under the belt.

“We probably we had a lot more chances than the other night (FFA Cup) but the ball just wouldn't go in.”

The Sky Blues will now head to the Gold Coast on Friday for a week-long training camp.

They'll play a behind-closed-doors friendly against Brisbane Roar during their time up north, before returning to Sydney to prepare for their FFA Cup Round of 16 clash away against Cairns FC.

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Paulo Retre in action. Photo by Jaime Castaneda (@jamcas50)