Sydney FC stay alive in ACL with stunning win in Korea
Sydney FC have kept alive their hopes of progressing in the AFC Champions League alive after a courageous and memorable 4-1 win over Suwon Bluewings on Tuesday night.
Needing a win to give themselves a chance of making the last 16, the Sky Blues mixed dogged defensive work with clinical finishing to leave Korea with all three points.
Polish international Adrian Mierzejewski was the star, setting up first-half goals to Milos Ninkovic and Alex Brosque, before scoring the match-sealer 11 minutes from time.
Dejan Damjanovic, who scored both times in Suwon’s 2-0 win over the Sky Blues on Match Day 1, scored the home side’s goal as Sydney went to the break leading 2-1.
And Graham Arnold’s troops completed the job in a gritty second-half as Mierzejewski and Bobo scored to ensure they remain alive heading into their final group match against Shanghai Shenhua in a fortnight.
STORY OF THE GAME
CAGEY START: While Suwon dominated possession in the first 10 mins, neither side was able to create anything dangerous in front of goal.
GOAL! Against the run of play, Ninkovic gives the Sky Blues a priceless lead.
GOAL! It took just a minute for the hosts to respond via Damjanovic.
GOAL! Brosque’s powerful header restored Sydney FC’s lead 14 minutes before the break.
WARLAND’S CRUCIAL INTERVENTION: Waguininho looked certain to restore parity for Suwon but for a brilliant last-ditch, sliding tackle by defender Ben Warland on his starting debut for Sydney.
HALF-TIME: Sydney FC made the most of their opportunities to take a 2-1 lead to the break.
SUWON TURN THE SCREWS: The home side won a succession of corners over the first 15 minutes of the second-half, with Waguininho going close with a header that Redmayne tipped over the bar.
SYDNEY HOLDING FIRM: Suwon increased the pressure as the time ticked away, with the Sky Blues defence continuing to frustrate them with their organisation and discipline.
GOAL! Mierzejewski finishes off a flowing move to give Sydney breathing space.
CHANCE: A Suwon free-kick found the head of Park Hyung-Jin but his powerful header was straight at Redmayne.
GOAL! Bobo rounds out the scoring in stoppage-time.
Milos Ninkovic: Sydney FC 23’ 0-1
Adrian Mierzejewski sparked a wonderful counter attack from the Sky Blues, with his ball over the top sending Ninkovic through. And the Serbian did the rest, lobbing the advancing keeper with a classy finish.
Dejan Damjanovic: Suwon 24’ 1-1
Damjanovic arrived the meet Waguininho’s cutback and while his initial shot was blocked, the prolific striker made no mistake with the rebound, volleying past a helpless Andrew Redmayne.
Alex Brosque: Sydney FC 31’ 1-2
Mierzejewski the architect once again, with his free-kick finding an unmarked Brosque at the near post, with his glancing header too much for Shin Hwa-Yong to keep out.
Adrian Mierzejewski: Sydney FC 79’ 1-3
A superb move which started deep inside their own half ended with David Carney playing in Mierzejewski, with the Pole rounding the keeper and rolling the ball into the open net.
Bobo: Sydney FC 90+1’ 1-4
Brazilian marquee Bobo came off the bench late and completed the rout with a calm finish after beating the offside trap.