Sydney FC draw with Reggiana
Sydney FC finished its Italian pre-season tour with an entertaining 2-2 draw against AS Reggiana thanks to a spirited second half performance.
Sydney FC finished its Italian pre season tour with an entertaining 2-2 draw against AS Reggiana thanks to a spirited second half performance that saw Corey Gameiro and Nick Carle give the Sky Blues a share of the spoils with a goal apiece.
AS Reggiana managed to snare bragging rights after a hastily-convened penalty shoot out saw the hosts run out 6-5 winners but the Sky Blues performance capped off a successful tour with three wins, a draw and two losses to show for their efforts.
Sydney FC played some good football throughout the match, going behind courtesy of two soft first half goals to AS Reggiana strikers Davide Cais and Andre Viapiana before Gameiro led a second half fightback where the Sky Blues swung momentum with a brace of goals three minutes apart just after the break.
Earlier in the day, Sydney FC received some high level support with the Australian Ambassador to Italy, Mr David Ritchie, briefing the touring party on the boost Sydney FC-s visit had given to Australia and its relations with Italy. The Ambassador was presented with a signed Sydney FC shirt by the Sky Blues- Italian star Alessandro Del Piero.
With the Sky Blues coming to the end of its exhaustive three-week training camp, coach Frank Farina rested several players with Sebastian Ryall, Rhyan Grant, Pedj Bojic, Matt Jurman, Del Piero, Joel Chianese and Yairo Yau all missing the game.
Sydney FC lined up with a back four of Peter Triantis, Pascal Bosschart, Tiago Calvano and Marc Warren, Carle, Brett Emerton and Ali Abbas patrolled the midfield with Gameiro, Mitch Mallia and Vedran Niksic in attack. Vedran Janjetovic was preferred in goals.
Sydney FC started brightly, maintaining possession against am AS Reggiana side content to sit back with Mallia firing a shot in anger on five minutes and an Emerton free kick going just over the crossbar on six minutes.
It looked like Sydney FC had gained the upper hand until two counter attacks in the 8th and 16th minutes gave AS Reggiana a 2-0 lead. The first goal came through a teasing cross from the left that was headed home by Cais while the Sky Blues were hit on the break from their own corner for the second goal with a clever pass splitting the Sydney FC defence for Viapiana to beat the advancing Janjetovic and lift if into the net.
Sydney FC managed to wrestle some momentum back following the twin strikes but the AS Reggiana defence was happy to sit deep, restricting the Sky Blues to a couple of shots from distance with Mallia and Gameiro testing the Italian ‘keeper.
The teams went to half time with Reggiana leading 2-0 and Farina made one change, replacing Emerton with Josh MacDonald as he continued to give all players valuable game time on tour.
MacDonald made an immediate impact in the 56th minute when he attacked the AS Reggiana defence and slipped a neat ball for Gameiro to run onto, and the striker took a touch and buried the chance into the bottom left hand corner.
Three minutes later and the scores were level after Gameiro, who has looked dangerous throughout the tour, was brought down in the penalty area and Carle stepped up to even the ledger at 2-2 with a smart spot kick.
At that point Sydney FC were completely dominating proceedings and they continued to set the running although both sides did have opportunities to snare a winner, which didn-t materialise.
The game ended 2-2 before organisers put on a penalty shoot out with both sides converting the first five spot kicks but AS Reggiana took the shoot out 6-5.
Sydney FC returns to Australia tomorrow following the training camp in Italy with the squad having a week off before commencing the final block of pre-season training on Monday 2 September.
Sydney FC 2 (Gameiro 56, Carle 59) drew Reggiana 2 (Cais 8, Viapiana 16) Mapei Stadium, Reggio Crowd: 6,873
Sydney FC team: Vedran JANJETOVIC, Peter TRIANTIS, Pascal BOSSCHAART, Tiago CALVANO, Marc WARREN (Daniel PETKOVSKI 81), Brett EMERTON (Josh MacDONALD 46), Ali ABBAS, Nick CARLE, Mitch MALLIA, Corey GAMEIRO, Vedran NIKSIC (Terry McFLYNN 56)