Sweet start for Sydney

Sydney FC has kicked off its National Youth League campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the AIS at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night.

Sydney FC has kicked off its National Youth League campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the AIS at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night.

A brilliant first-half goal from Chris Payne was the difference giving the reigning youth champion a winning start to the new season.

For Sydney, Adam Casey was a constant thorn in the side of the AIS with his incisive runs down the right while strikers Payne and Kerum Bulut were lively throughout.

For the AIS, Kamal Ibrahim was equally dangerous as a right-sided striker.

It was a first half of missed chances for both sides. Terry Antonis and Ersin Kaya with good efforts on goal for AIS while for the home side, Kerem Bulut spurned two gilt-edged chances.

On the half-hour mark Payne's long-range effort was spilt by AIS keeper Lawrence Thomas but Bulut scuffed the spilled ball wide from inside the six-yard box.

And two minutes later Bulut got on the end of an Adam Casey cross from the right but with just the keeper to beat, his effort was denied by Thomas.

But Payne was not to be denied on 40 minutes with a bursting run through the heart of the AIS defence and unleashing a rocket which beat Thomas low to his right-hand post to open the scoring.

And it could've been two moments later had Casey not missed another great chance after good lead-up play from the lively Bulut.

Both sides pressed hard in the early stages of the second half with Ibrahim's long-range strike on 60 minutes just fizzing wide for the AIS.

It was the visitor which did most of the pressing in the second stanza as it was able to control the midfield through the industrious Antonis and the injection of Jared Lum.

With 15 minutes left a superb run and cross down the left by AIS sub David Talevski found fellow sub Lum whose angled header was directed just wide of the post.

And Talevski had more joy down the left with a great run and strike right on full-time but was denied by substitute keeper Nenad Vekic.

In the end, the more experienced Sydney outfit with first-team stars Stuart Musialik, Seb Ryall and Ivan Necevski in its line-up was able to hold on for the win against a plucky AIS.

Sydney FC 1 (Payne 40) AIS 0 @ Sydney Football Stadium