Queensland Roar 1 Sydney FC 3
| After two straight losses, a visit to the home of one of the youngest, sharpest and most confident teams in the league was hardly what Littbarski and the boys would have wanted. |
Yet they came through the ordeal with a win under their collective belt, despite being outplayed for considerable periods of the match.
Several changes were made from the eleven that started the match against the Mariners. Matt Bingley was relegated to the bench, with Andrew Packer dropping into the right-back slot; Jacob Timpano, who has regularly shown himself to be an able defensive understudy, came in for the injured Mark Rudan, while Saso Petrovski replaced the out-of-form David Zdrilic up front.
Most important, however, was the return from suspension of Steve Corica – a player for whom the term “influential” might have been invented.
The visitors certainly didn’t start the match like a team who had lost two games running. An early attack saw Terry McFlynn firing in a low shot from the edge of the Queensland area, which Tom Willis did well to hold.
After only five minutes, Sydney FC’s positive approach to the match paid dividends. Pressure on the edge of the area forced an uncharacteristic error from the Roar’s fine defensive midfielder, Hyuk-Su Seo. Corica, onto the loose ball in a flash, advanced and beat Willis with a deft chip.
Welcome back, Stevie.
Sydney had the initiative, and for much of the half they didn’t let go of it. Although Yorke was, for once, something of a blunt instrument at the sharp end of the attack, the defence looked more solid than in previous games, Talay and McFlynn were holding their own in midfield, and David Carney’s golden left foot made regular inroads. Yet, with Seo and Murdocca clever and industrious in the Roar midfield, there was no room for complacency.
The arrival of Jonti Richter on 37 minutes – why wasn’t he on from the start, Roar fans may well ask – changed the complexion of the game. The busy little forward, fast and tricky, caused immediate concern in the Sydney defence, and indeed Queensland looked the better side from that moment until the three-quarter mark.
Although Talay had an excellent chance soon after half-time, Queensland’s attacks were becoming more numerous, and eventually the breakthrough came, courtesy of an unfortunate misjudgement by young Jacob Timpano. His attempted clearance after a Queensland corner only resulted in a miskick that spun past a horrified Bolton into the corner of the net.
Queensland now looked the more likely winners, and with Bleiberg sensibly bringing on his other trump card, Alex Brosque, immediately following the equaliser, things began to look grim for Sydney FC. Brosque had a couple of half-chances, and balls were sailing into the Sydney box with monotonous regularity.
On 64 minutes, a crucial incident. Richter, bullocking his way through the Sydney defence again, beat two defenders on the left before thumping a shot towards the far corner. A marvellous, full-stretch save by Bolton, and…Queensland had missed their chance.
Only three minutes later, Sydney took the lead again, through Corica. This time, it was a full-blooded volley from the edge of the area, following a corner. 2-1.
Although Queensland continued to press forward, they were caught out again on the break on 72 minutes. Petrovski, winning the ball near the 18-yard line, managed to lay a pass off for Terry McFlynn, whose sublime 9-iron shot sailed over Willis’s head and into the net.
The game was all but over, and although Queensland, to their credit, continued to attack vigorously, the Sydney defence never looked like being breached again. Some substitutions by Littbarski eased the problem of tired legs, and, with Yorke now doing a fine job holding the ball up and the defence looking more confident by the minute, the Bling boys cruised home.
So, a welcome away win, against a side whom your correspondent believes will be one of our chief rivals in the race for the first A-League championship. It must be admitted, however, that at times Queensland’s crisp, flowing style looked too much for our midfield and defence, particularly at the beginning of the second half. Good finishing came to our rescue this time…but will we always be able to rely on it?
Stop complaining, mikey. A win is a win.
Sydney FC: Bolton; Packer, Timpano, Fyfe, Ceccoli; Carney (Middleby), Talay, McFlynn (Bingley), Corica; Petrovski (Zdrilic), Yorke.
mikey @ syndeyfc-unofficial.com