Sky Blues waste chances

Sydney FC have wasted a golden opportunity to put themselves in the box seat to progress past the group stages of the AFC Champions League after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Shanghai Shenhua at the Sydney Football Stadium on Wednesday night.

Sydney FC have wasted a golden opportunity to put themselves in the box seat to progress past the group stages of the AFC Champions League after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Shanghai Shenhua at the Sydney Football Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Sky Blues dominated the match for long periods but were left to lament a host of spurned chances throughout the 90 minutes.

In a game both sides were desperate to win to boost their chances of making the knockout stages of the tournament, Shanghai made the better start and took the lead on just six minutes through striker Duvier Riascos.

But the Sky Blues hit back just six minutes later through Nicky Carle and went on to control most of the match but just couldn't find the decisive second goal.

The result means both sides are still winless, stuck on two points, although Sydney have played just two matches compared to Shanghai's three.

Much of the talk in the build up to game was on the bumpy SFS surface but it didn't detract from an entertaining clash with both sides creating a number of good goal-scoring chances.

This was Sydney's first game in over a month so it was no surprise it was the visitors who started the brighter.

It took just six minutes for Shanghai to grab the lead thanks to their Colombian import Riascos.

The burly striker was first to react to Luis Salmeron's flick on, turning inside Stephan Keller and unleashing a left foot shot that deflected of Sebastian Ryall to leave goal-keeper Liam Reddy stranded.

But the Sky Blues were back on level terms just six minutes later.

Stand-in Sydney skipper Stuart Musialik was given too much time in midfield and he combined with Bruno Cazarine to set up Carle, whose strike form the edge of the box proved too hot for keeper Shengjiong Qiu to handle.

Sydney took control from that point on, forcing Shanghai to defend deep in their own half a creating a host of chances.

The visitors were having trouble coping with the movement of Carle, David Williams and Mark Bridge and it was the latter to that almost gave the Sky Blues the lead, forcing smart saves out of Qiu.

On the half hour some desperate last ditch defending Lin Dai denied Carle his second while Qiu again denied Bridge with a diving one-handed save to tip his shot around the post.

That string of missed chances almost came back to haunt Sydney just before the break as the lively Renliang Feng was twice denied a goal, once by the crossbar and then be a fine low save by Reddy.

It was just as frenetic after the break as both sides continued to create chances.

First on 54 minutes Riascos struck a stinging volley from the edge of box which, lucky for Sydney, was straight at Reddy.

And then two minutes later the Sky Blues should have gone in front when Cazarine brilliantly chested down Bridge's left-wing cross only to drag his shot wide.

The visitors seemed content to sit back and hold on for a draw after that point and camped most of their players in their defensive half.

It made it difficult for Sydney to the find space to create many clear-cut chances but both Moriyasu and Keller came close in the last 20 minutes.

Moriyasu's fierce shot from 20 metres troubled the Shanghai keeper but he got just enough on it to push the ball away to safety. Keller had an even better chance 10 minutes from the end but he could only direct his header straight at Qiu to leave the home side lamenting a night of missed opportunities.

Sydney are back in action again at the SFS next Wednesday night when they take on J-League club Kashima Antlers in a rescheduled match following the Japanese earthquake and Tsunami disaster.

Sydney FC 1 (Carle 12m) Shanghai Shenhua 1 (Riascos 6m)