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Sydney FC 3 – Auckland City 2

SydneyFC 3 – Auckland City 2

Sydney FC 3 – Auckland City 2 1/6/05
Four years ago almost to the day, Australia defeated then-world champions France in the Confederations Cup, one of the most impressive Socceroo results ever. The only goal came as the result of a free kick, which was given for a foul on…Steve Corica.

One of the big questions posed by Sydney FC fans during the heady week of the WCC qualifiers (and, indeed, earlier) was “When are we going to see some more of Corica?”

I would venture to suggest we’ll be seeing a fair bit more of him from now on, fitness permitting. His Socceroo days may be over, but as we saw today, he can still have a telling influence on a game of football…

What a finish! 3-2 with a deciding goal in the final seconds is one of the archetypal “football was the winner” results, and by all accounts the crowd got their money’s worth at the Stade Pater.

It was good to see two other consistent SFC performers on the scoresheet as well; Alvin Ceccoli had a superb game against the Mariners in the qualifying final, only being denied a late goal by a heavy final touch. It seems those oak-tree thighs produced a real piledriver against the Kiwis.

The industrious Andrew Packer, perhaps a more straightforward wide player than David Carney but sometimes a more effective one, added to his SFC tally impressively.

Should we be worried about the two goals conceded?

Perhaps. Our defence was shown to be vulnerable to pace even in the first WCC qualifier, when the runs of Baird and Richter had Sydney FC fans chewing their nails, and the Queensland Roar bay emitting its only audible sound of the entire match.

And today, two long balls, two goals to Auckland City; the message is clear.

The probable loss of Rudan for the final stage of the tournament is a big blow. With Milligan, another hero of the Mariners game, off with the Under 20s, our defence is starting to look a little threadbare. A lot of responsibility is now going to fall on the shoulders of Iain Fyfe, one feels.

Given the humidity in Tahiti and the tightness of the schedule – not to mention the fact that the remaining group games should be formalities (famous last words), will Littbarski give some of his reserves a run against the island sides, to give his more experienced players some extra rest?

It might be a good idea, especially since the odds on a Sydney-Auckland final must be pretty short.

One down, four to go.

by Mikey

mikey @