For the first time since 2006/07, Sydney FC kicked off their A-League season with a win. Competition newcomers North Queensland Fury fought back well after conceding two early goals, but were undone by a moment’s impetuosity from goalkeeper Paul Henderson.
The only surprise in Sydney’s line-up was the omission of Steve Corica, whose fitness was apparently a concern for coach Vitezslav Lavicka. There were two late arrivals in the Fury line-up, with Japanese fullback Kajiro Kaimoto starting on the right, and Antillean Dyron Daal partnering marquee man Robbie Fowler up front.
Read the rest of the report after the jump…
Fowler almost proved his worth to the home fans on four minutes, when the Fury were awarded a free kick some 25 yards from the Sydney goal. The former Liverpool star whipped in a curling right-footed shot, which looked set to creep in at the far corner. But Clint Bolton made ground to his right to save, and within seconds the away side were in front: the ball was played quickly upfield to Kofi Danning, who sent an astute ball forward for John Aloisi, with the North Queensland defence scattered. Sydney FC’s marquee player strode on into the box, and placed a precise cross-shot into the right-hand corner of the Fury goal.
A demoralising goal to concede, and the home side lost the thread of the game in the succeeding minutes. There was another chance for the visitors when Karol Kisel back-heeled a cross from Byun Sung-Hwan at goal, but Henderson was there to cover. Kisel was involved again on 12 minutes, playing a neat one-two with Alex Brosque before shooting just wide.
Sydney went further ahead on 28 minutes. A long ball forward from Stephan Keller reached Danning, who cleverly turned his marker Jack Hingert before firing a fierce right-footed cross-shot past Henderson. A splendid goal from Sydney’s young winger.
Gradually the hosts pulled themselves into the game, and on 41 minutes they reduced their deficit. Jason Spagnuolo swung in a corner from the left, and Rostyn Griffiths outjumped Alex Brosque to head the ball past a static Bolton at the near post.
There were half-chances for Terry McFlynn and Aloisi just after the break, but it was the home side who were looking the more cohesive and determined, and on the hour they were level. When Fowler knocked the ball on for Spagnuolo on the left-hand side of the box, the former Adelaide United man tricked Shannon Cole into a foul, and referee Srebre Delovski immediately pointed to the spot. Fowler, of course, took the spot-kick, and made no mistake.
Surprisingly, Spagnuolo was substituted soon afterwards; Daal, who had shifted to the right, had already made way for returning Olyroo David Williams. These changes of personnel only served to help Sydney, who re-took the initiative and went back in front on 73 minutes with another penalty. A ball from McFlynn to Brosque saw the latter racing away on the left-hand side of the box, and Henderson somewhat foolishly came out to challenge the Sydney man, upending him clumsily. Another penalty, and this time it was Australia’s favourite penalty-taker, John Aloisi, who emulated his effort of November 2005 to put his side back into the lead.
The Fury might have had another penalty when substitute Daniel McBreen’s shot was blocked by the arm of Simon Colosimo six minutes from the close, but the appeal was waved away. Lavicka’s men stayed firm, and gained a morale-boosting first round victory.