Perth Glory 2 (Harold 19′, Smeltz 34′)
Sydney FC 1 (Del Piero 28′)
Crowd: 8378 at NIB Stadium, Perth. 2nd March 2013
With both teams coming off losses, Sydney traveled to Perth for the Round 23 clash. Both sides need to hit form as the finals series approaches in order to make the top six.
For Sydney, Farina made three changes, bringing Ali Abbas, Adam Griffiths and captain Terry McFlynn back into the starting eleven. Seb Ryall was serving a suspension, while Paul Reid and Thiago Calvano were dropped.
The first chance fell to Sydney FC in the second minute, as Alessandro Del Piero’s corner resulted in a goalmouth scramble which was hastily cleared by Steven McGarry.
Perth tried to exploit the pace of Ryo Nagai and Chris Harold down the wings, resulting in both Terry McFlynn and Fabio recieving yellow cards as they struggled to keep up with the play.
On 17 minutes, Joel Griffiths had a great chance to put the away side ahead as he broke free down the middle, but with only the keeper to beat his shot was saved well by Danny Vukovic.
Two minutes later, Griffths and Del Piero almost combined to put Sydney ahead, only to be foiled again by Vukovic’s well timed interception.
In the very next sequence of play, Perth broke away down the right, with Liam Miller turning Lucas Neill inside out to set up Harold, who made no mistake with his shot.
The long-suffering fans at the home end clearly enjoyed the goal, and Harold made sure he went over to celebrate with them. But for all the Perth die-hards in the crowd, there were more than a few who came along to watch the star man Del Piero.
On 29 minutes, they got their money’s worth as Sydney’s number ten collected the ball some thirty yards out, and after a quick glance, drove the ball with his left foot straight past Vukovic and in the back of the net. Another stroke of brilliance, and Sydney were back on level terms.
Not long after, a Scott Jamieson cross from a short corner was met smartly by Shane Smeltz, who side footed his volley into the back of the net from close range. It was a well taken goal, but Sydney’s defence was woeful in allowing such a dangerous striker so much room in the box.
In the second half, Sydney had a good chance to equalise from a Del Piero free kick, but Adam Griffiths couldn’t convert from the back post.
Moments later, a long ball over the top towards Smeltz ended in controversy, as Fabio bundled over the Glory striker. Sitting on a yellow card, the referee had little option but to dismiss the Brazilian for his second bookable offence.
And with that, Sydney’s hopes vanished. They did well to hold the Glory out for over half an hour with ten men, but were unable to equalise.
Discipline is surely becoming a concern for Farina, whose side is constantly being changed due to suspensions. Sydney now sit eighth on the ladder, but with only one point separating them from the top six, there is still hope for the finals.