Sydney FC keep dream alive
Sydney FC have kept their Hyundai A-League finals dreams alive with a fighting 2-1 win over the Newcastle Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Monday.
Sydney FC have kept their Hyundai A-League finals dreams alive with a fighting 2-1 win over the Newcastle Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Monday afternoon.
In a typically tough F3 derby clash Sydney was forced to attack on the counter for most of the match but capitalised on two lapses in concentration from the Jets to hold a 2-0 lead at half-time courtesy of goals to imports Hirofumi Moriyasu and Bruno Cazarine.
Newcastle made some line-up and formation changes in the second half and pulled a goal back through substitute striker Labinot Haliti in the 65th minute.
But despite the Jets dominating possession and territory for the remaining 25 minutes they were unable to get the elusive equaliser and Sydney held on to register just their fifth win of the season.
The victory lifts Sydney off the bottom of the table and catapults them into ninth spot on the ladder just four points behind the Jets in eighth place.
"It was a small step for us but an important step," Sydney FC coach Vitezslav Lavicka said after the match. "It was a boost to our confidence and we will try to keep going."
Jets coach Branko Culina was disappointed with his side for conceding two ‘soft goals-.
"We were switched on when we on the park today," he said. "And in the end it let us down."
The Jets started the derby without English import Francis Jeffers, who was forced to miss the last match of his 10-game guest stint with a groin strain. His replacement by new signing Ryan Griffiths, who made his debut up front for the Jets alongside Marko Jesic.
The match started in overcast conditions in front of a season best crowd of 12,118 and it was the home side who started better creating the first real chance of the match in just the fifth minute.
Jobe Wheelhouse found himself unmarked and inside the Sydney penalty area. He fired a left footed shot but Sydney goalkeeper Liam Reddy got enough of a glove onto the ball to push it into the far post.
Newcastle were dealt a body blow in the 12th minute when key defender Ljubo Milicevic hobbled off the field after injuring his ankle. Italian import Marcello Fiorentini came on as defensive midfielder with skipper Kasey Wehrman dropping back to the central defensive role.
Sydney had their first shot on goal in the 20th minute after an attacking throw-in found Bruno Cazarine in space in the box but his scooped shot was easily saved by Newcastle custodian Ben Kennedy.
The Jets continued to apply the pressure but couldn-t convert their dominance in territory and possession into a goal with Fiorentini firing over the bar from long range and Sydney defender Matthew Jurman doing well to extinguish a Marko Jesic raid.
Sydney broke the deadlock against the run of play in the 35th minute from a set-piece. A looping Scott Jamieson corner landed at the feet of Japanese import Hirofumi Moriyasu, who volleyed through a crowded penalty area and into the corner of the goal for a 1-0 lead.
Kennedy was forced to make two fine saves in quick succession the first pushing a dipping effort from former team-mate Nicky Carle over the bar and the next from a corner when he made a fine reflex save from point-blank range.
Sydney doubled their advantage right on the stroke of half-time when an errant back pass from Wehrman put Dimitri Petratos through on goal. Kennedy did well to come out and poke the ball away but it fell to Cazarine who gladly slotted into an empty net for the visitors to hold a 2-0 lead at the break.
A brief shower of rain at half-time dampened the pitch but it didn-t dampen Sydney attack and Kennedy was forced to make another good save from a Jamieson effort from just outside the box.
Culina made two substitutes on the hour mark benching Griffiths and Jesic and bringing on experienced strike pair Sasho Petrovski and Labinot Haliti and changing the formation to a 3-5-2 with Fiorentini in defence and pushing Wehrman and Tarek Elrich into the midfield.
The change had an immediate effect with the Haliti scoring after an enterprising move through the midfield. A Wehrman pass found Ruben Zadkovich in space down the right flank, he took play down the wing before squaring to Haliti who slotted the ball inside the near post to make it 2-1 after 65 minutes.
With the momentum now behind the home side they launched a series of attacking raids on the Sydney goal.
A dangerous Haliti cross saw a Petrovski launch a full-length diving header that crashed off the back post before Zadkovich and Haliti produced some nice interplay in the box only for Haliti to shoot agonizingly wide of the post.
The Jets continued to attack in the remaining minutes but Sydney was able to hold on for a crucial win.
Newcastle Jets 1 Haliti 65-
Sydney FC 2 Moriyasu 35-, Cazarine 45+1-
Crowd 12,118 at EnergyAustralia Stadium.