Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold admits he’s unsure if Terry Antonis will play again this season as the classy midfielder struggles to recover from a knee injury.
Antonis was again missing as the Sky Blues saw their Premiers’ Plate suffer a huge blow as they lost 1-0 to Adelaide United on Saturday night.
Arnold said the 21-year-old returned from the Socceroos’ Asian Cup triumph with a knee problem and it hasn’t improved over the last two months.
Antonis, who was forced to pull out of the recent Olyroos tournament through injury, has missed Sydney’s last three matches and Arnold admits he has no idea if he’ll return before the end of the season.
“That kid just has no luck with national team football. He came back (after the Asian Cup) a mess,” the Sky Blues boss said.
“We haven’t been able to use him properly since he went away. It’s a big blow, a player of that calibre not available at this stage of the season.
“He’s had a couple of injections and they haven’t worked. He’s got an MRI tomorrow and we’ll see how bad it is.
“The concern for me is the last three weeks we haven’t been able to use him and the three or four weeks before that we could only use him off the bench and it’s not getting any better.”
Antonis injury could take on even greater significance now especially as Mickael Tavares suffered a groin strain in the loss to the Reds.
The injury dramas aside, Arnold will be scratching his head how his side failed to take anything from a match they dominated for almost the entire 90 minutes.
Reds ‘keeper Eugene Galekovic came up with a string of fine saves to deny the home side time and time again.
There was one controversial moment just before half-time when Sydney skipper Alex Brosque was hauled down just outside the box by Nigel Boogaard and despite being clean through on goal, referee Chris Beath only produced a yellow card.
“I felt that Nigel was the last defender,” Arnold said when asked about the incident.
“The other defender had no intention of going across to cut him (Brosque) off. He was too far away.
“But the referee made that decision…that’s the way it is. But the most frustrating thing is that every time we won the ball and tried to break in transition they gave fouls away.
“They had seven yellows. I know it’s not great for the speckle in football when you keep giving those cheap fouls away and time wasting but that’s their style.”
The defeat was Sydney’s fifth of the season, with all five of those coming on their home patch at Allianz Stadium.
Asked if the home form was a worry heading into the finals, Arnold said: “Allianz is a beautiful stadium and I’ve had a lot of great success here.
“We’re having tough times here at the moment but it’s happening for a reason and for the big games it will turn.
“I go home tonight and I sleep well because we played great. “
The Sky Blues last three matches are all away from home, starting with next weekend’s trip to Perth to face the embattled Glory.