Sydney FC 9 – Sobou FC 2
Sydney FC 9 – Sobou FC 2 3/6/05
|It is an established axiom in Australian sport that when New Zealand, or a New Zealand team, is eliminated from a competition, the fans breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Is it possible that Auckland City, in their efforts to grind out a result against Sydney FC, exhausted themselves for their encounter with the home team AS Pirae? Whatever the cause, the Tahitians claimed a notable scalp, and have confirmed their passage to the knockout stage of the competition.
As, predictably, have our own Sydney FC, in a rain-drenched romp over Papua New Guinea’s Sobou FC.
Two goals were conceded once more, but this should perhaps not be of too much concern, given the context. Anyone who has watched (or played in) an amateur game in which the score reads 6-0 at half-time would be familiar with the sight of gaping holes in the victorious team’s defence, as the players queue up to get their names on the scoresheet.
Not that I am impugning the professionalism of Littbarski’s men, not for a moment, but it’s probably fair to say that Sydney FC were approaching the second half in a rather more relaxed spirit than the first.
The suspension of Talay for the final group match – better now than next week, one must say – will probably allow Robbie Middleby to continue on the left flank, with Terry McFlynn returning to the midfield.
However meagre the opposition, David Zdrilic must be pleased with his hat-trick, as should Sydney FC fans be. Despite not troubling the scorers during the recent qualifying series, Zdrilic was a major contributor to his team’s success, particularly in the final.
And finally a more lengthy appearance from the mysterious Alex Salazar. Such glimpses as we have had of him so far have not been particularly encouraging, but it seems he gained some confidence and authority against the PNG side. Whether this can be transferred to a more competitive game remains to be seen.
Two down, three to go.