‘It’s not good’ – Sydney FC left sweating on Ninkovic injury
Sydney FC star Milos Ninkovic is feeling the pinch after succumbing to a calf injury in his side’s 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners on Saturday evening.
On an otherwise positive night for the Sky Blues - who won their sixth game on the bounce to go eight points clear on top of the Hyundai A-League table - an injury to their star man ended the night on a sour note.
Ninkovic aggravated the injury just before the hour mark against the Mariners when he raced into the box to connect with a through ball from Alex Baumjohann, throwing himself at the chance, skying his shot and tumbling to the ground.
The Serbian was very slow to get back to his feet and signalled instantly to the bench to come off, and when asked to reveal the extent of the injury post-match, Ninkovic revealed his initial assessment is not a positive one.
“It’s not good,” Ninkovic told FOX Sports post-match.
“I started to feel it even after 15 minutes but I thought it is going to be better.
“Then in the half-time (break) I said I would try ten more minutes but I felt it more and more.
“I think the best decision was to come off.”
Ninkovic came off in a time when the game was well and truly in the balance, as the Sky Blues held on to their slender lead for dear life as the last-placed Mariners pushed hard for an equaliser.
But even before limping off the ground Ninkovic could feel the pressure of what was a demanding challenge which the Champions ultimately overcame.
“It was a very tough game,” Ninkovic said.
“I think in the last couple of years we have always had tough games against Central Coast.
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“We knew they have good players and they like to play and to be honest we have to give them credit today.
“They played very well and maybe we were lucky in the end.”
The Mariners learned the hard way that luck often falls to the side riding a wave of confidence as the Champions took an even firmer grip of first place on the Hyundai A-League table with a win that could have just have easily been a draw – or a loss – judging by the balance of play alone.
But Sky Blues full back Rhyan Grant put the result down to the resilience of his side more so than luck, as he and his teammates continue to pull win after win out of the bag.
“We are obviously very happy,” Grant told FOX Sports.
“It was a tough game, we did it the hard way, but we got there in the end and that’s what good teams do.
“It was just one of those games.
“If we grabbed another one when we were all over them in the first half it would’ve made it easier for us but we didn’t do that.
“We gave Mariners a sniff and credit to them they came at us.
"But, as much as they had a few chances, I thought we still dominated.
“We sat back a little bit which wasn’t great, but we are always dangerous on the counter there.
“It was a matter of getting another one, which we didn’t get, but we are happy to get the one goal and take the three points.”
After facing the last-placed Mariners the Sky Blues will now prepare for a clash with Wellington Phoenix who will be no easy beats after their five-game undefeated streak continued with a 1-1 draw against Melbourne Victory on Saturday afternoon.
Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC
Date: Saturday, 21 December
Venue: Westpac Stadium
Kick-off: 4.45pm local, 2.45pm AEDT