Match report by CountArach
The first game of the FFA Cup in 2021-22 and, though we didn’t make it easy for ourselves, by the second half there was only one way that this was going to end. The superior fitness and quality of the professional outfit showed through and we came away with a 4-2 win.
The game was a classic game of two halves, with the first half ending 1-1 with Olympic arguably just edging the half. The second half, meanwhile, saw Sydney really hit the accelerator and after Patrick Wood scored a great goal in the 59th minute, Sydney really proved the better team.
The Sydney squad for this game was greatly changed, with a starting debut for young midfielder Patrick Yazbek. Only five of the starting eleven from the game against the Wanderers on the weekend started this one, which gave some of the younger players a chance to show what they can do, and some of the fringe players of the squad were able to get some minutes in their legs.
This game was very reminiscent of the 4-2 win over Rockdale in the 2018 FFA Cup. Apart from seeing the same scoreline against NPL opposition, both games saw our opponents starting stronger and scoring first, then going into half time 1-1. Both games also saw a dominant Sydney FC second half performance that saw the NPL outfit outplayed.
First half: key moments
Olympic started the game strongly and were certainly the better team. In these circumstances, we can sometimes find ourselves underestimating the NPL opposition, and that couples with the NPL team wanting to show up one of the big name clubs, so they start on the front foot. That was the case in this game. Van der Saag in particular was struggling to keep control of the right side.
Sydney started to work their way into the game with some strong set pieces. In fact, Sydney’s set pieces were probably the strongest part of their game throughout at least the first half. Just as the tides were turning in Sydney’s direction, however, Olympic caught Sydney on the break. Parkhouse broke down the right and took a shot from the top corner of the box. A fortunate deflection saw the ball arc over Redmayne’s head.
The Sydney boys didn’t let their heads drop however with Burgess getting a free header in the box around the 40th minute mark that deflected off the post. Shortly after that though, another set piece in a dangerous position saw Sydney equalise. Brattan put in a great delivery that bounced off a couple of heads before finding a criminally unmarked Le Fondre in the box, who nodded the ball home.
Brattan suffered an injury in the first half and was replaced by Retre. It’s unclear at the time of writing this how serious the injury is, but Luke is definitely in our thoughts. Corica has said that he may have done an ACL and we really all hope that’s not the case.
Second half: key moments
Sydney started strongly this half, putting Olympic under pressure but not crafting too many clear chances. In the 58th minute, however, Wood received the ball with his back to goal about 30 metres out. He turned, rounding one of the defenders with some help from a great Le Fondre dummy, and then absolutely buried the ball with a decisive finish. It was his fifth Sydney FC goal and his first goal in a game where he has started for the club, which was great to see.
At this point, Sydney really looked to put their foot on the throat, carving out some shooting opportunities in short order. Parkhouse had an opportunity up the other end, but Redmayne was up to the task of saving it.
This dominance produced Sydney’s third goal as Burgess arced a pass up to Le Fondre, who had run to the buy-line. Le Fondre headed the ball back across goal into the path of Kamsoba’s run. Replays would show that Kamsoba had handballed it, and honestly there’s not much defending that. Even the club’s official match report acknowledges that this happened.
It’s likely that complacency crept in at this point because in the 82nd minute, Olympic had a free kick opportunity that was arced into the box. Redmayne’s punch was not good enough to clear the ball and it was bundled over the line to bring the score back to 3-2.
Olympic couldn’t follow this up with another goal, however, but in the second minute of extra time the Olympic keeper kicked the ball forward. King met the ball with a powerful header that managed to find Buhagiar, who was able to break the lines. Buhagiar then put the ball past the onrushing keeper to secure the 4-2 win.
SFCU player of the match
You can vote here: https://www.sfcu.com.au/2021/11/20/player-of-the-season-2021-22/
I’ll be voting for:
3 – Wood
2 – Kamsoba
1 – King
This is a hard one to judge but I think Wood caused a lot of troubles up front and he was a constant menace. Kamsoba’s pace and tenacity also earns him some points in my book. Finally, King was as marauding as usual while also preventing most of the attacks down his side of the pitch.
Highlights and coach quotes
Extended highlights can be viewed on 10 play: Sydney Olympic vs Sydney FC Extended Highlights – Network Ten
Corica had the following to say:
“I thought Sydney Olympic did really well in the first half tonight, they put us under pressure and created chances, and the goal got their confidence up.
“In the end it was comfortable, but they fought all the way until the end and when they got their second goal, it shocked us a little bit.
“Three games in one week in the first week of the A-League season is always going to be difficult.
“We’ve got a few players injured and another one tonight with Brattan going down, so the squad is going to be tested.
“[Brattan] He might have done his ACL, he’s going to get a scan tomorrow, so obviously it’s not very good if that’s the case and if he has that injury he’s out for the whole season.
“We’ll wait to see tomorrow and fingers crossed it’s not that bad but if it is, it’s very disappointing for him and the club.”
Key match details
Sydney FC: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE, 4. Alex WILKINSON (25. Callum TALBOT 81’), 14. Adam LE FONDRE (11. Trent BUHAGIAR 78’), 16. Joel KING, 21. Harry VAN DER SAAG (23. Rhyan GRANT 45’), 22. Max BURGESS, 26. Luke BRATTAN (8. Paulo RETRE 45’), 27. Elvis KAMSOBA, 32. Patrick YAZBEK (28. Calem NIEUWENHOF 64’), 33. Patrick WOOD, 35. Liam McGING.
Unused Subs: 20. Tom HEWARD-BELLE (GK), 10. Milos NINKOVIC.
Yellow Cards: None.
Red Cards: None.
Sydney Olympic: 1. Nicholas SORRAS (GK), 3. Mathieu CORDIER, 4. Benjamin VAN MEURS, 5. Michael GLASSOCK, 7. William ANGEL, 8. Sam McILLHATTON, 9. Oliver PUFLETT (14. Emmanuel PETERS 64’), 11. Adam PARKHOUSE, 19. Darcy BURGESS (10. Brendan CHOLAKIAN 60’), 23. Daniel DIAS, 99. Roy O’DONOVAN.
Subs: 70. Christopher PARSONS (GK), 2. Thomas WHITESIDE, 24. Christopher GLIGOR, 22. Fabio FERREIRA, 17. Marley PETERSON.
Yellow Cards: Dias 21’, Van Meurs 44’.
Red Cards: None.
Venue: Belmore Sports Ground.
Referee: Ben Abraham.
Sydney FC’s next game is hosting Macarthur FC at Jubilee Oval this Saturday, 27 November. Kick-off is 7:45pm.