It was a disappointing evening in Kogarah for Sydney FC, going down 1-0 to cross-town rivals Macarthur FC at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday night.
Lachlan Rose’s 17th minute strike proved the difference, with the Bulls nabbing their first three points of the new campaign and consigning Steve Corica’s men to their first defeat.
Once again deployed in the No.9 role by Macarthur boss Ante Milicic, Rose netted for the second time in as many weeks.
Corica looked a frustrated figure on the touchline, but it was fans who were perhaps even more enraged after sitting through another 56 minutes of the Paulo Retre-Anthony Caceres midfield pairing.
The news that midfield maestro Luke Brattan suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the FFA Cup clash with Sydney Olympic is a big blow to the Sky Blues’ A-League Men’s title hopes and means we should probably get used to this combination.
On a more positive note for the home side, one of the club’s favourite sons celebrated a significant milestone – Rhyan Grant played his 250th A-League game. Congratulations, Rhyan. You’ve got shit hair, but we certainly don’t care.
A comprehensive performance was perhaps too much to ask for, considering this was the third game in seven days for Sydney after last weekend’s clash with the Wanderers and the midweek win over Olympic. There were certainly some weary legs come the back end of the second half.
First half: Key moments
The only goal of this all-Sydney affair came in the 17th minute. After Trent Buhagiar was caught offside, the Bulls transitioned quickly. Talisman Ulises Dávila drove towards the Sydney goal, fought off some half-hearted defending from Retre and found himself on the edge of the penalty area. The Mexican then delivered a dangerous ball into the box, with Daniel De Silva’s silky touch – or was it a mis-kick? – finding Rose, who made no mistake from six yards out.
Second half: Key moments
60th minute: After a poor attempt at a corner kick that was easily dealt with by Macarthur, Anthony Caceres whipped in an absolute belter of a ball that had plenty of pace and movement on it. Adam Le Fondre met it beautifully with his head and seemed to generate even more power, but unfortunately the ball narrowly whizzed past Filip Kurto’s left upright.
67th minute: Macarthur’s left side sloppily gave away possession. Grant and Elvis Kamsoba then exchanged some lightning quick passes, culminating in a nice chipped ball in from the right-back. Grant’s delivery found Patrick Wood – who’d only been on for about ten minutes – in the box with a bit of space to himself, but the 19-year-old could only find the side netting with another high-danger chance for the Sky Blues.
SFCU player of the match
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What they said
“Two A-League games – we haven’t scored yet,” said Sydney FC coach Steve Corica, succinctly summing up his side’s lack of finishing in the opening weeks of the season.
Bimbi then hinted at the return of Bobo and Kosta Barbarouses: “We get a couple of boys back next week.”
“I was really pleased with the effort that the boys put in collectively,” said Bulls manager Ante Milicic. “And we go home delighted with three points.”
On Rose, who doubled his goal tally tonight: “He’s serious, he gets it. He’s doing well and it’s important he stays grounded.”
“It’s hard to play Sydney FC away,” said Rose, showing plenty of deference for the Sky Blues.
On growing as a player and what he can learn from the senior players in the squad: “Last year, I learnt a lot, and this year I’m trying to learn more.”
Sydney FC: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE, 3. Ben WARLAND, 4. Alex WILKINSON, 8. Paulo RETRE (28. Calem NIEUWENHOF 57’), 10. Milos NINKOVIC (22. Max BURGESS 80’), 11. Trent BUHAGIAR (33. Patrick WOOD 57’), 14. Adam LE FONDRE, 16. Joel KING, 17. Anthony CACERES, 23. Rhyan GRANT, 27. Elvis KAMSOBA.
Unused Subs: 20. Tom HEWARD-BELLE (GK), 21. Harry VAN DER SAAG, 32. Patrick YAZBEK, 35. Liam McGING.
Yellow Cards: Le Fondre 73’, Caceres 79’.
Red Cards: None.
Macarthur FC: 12. Filip KURTO, 6. Aleksandar JOVANOVIC, 7. Daniel DA SILVA (21. Jake HOLLMAN 86’), 10. Ulises DAVILA, 11. Thomas OAR (22. Liam ROSE 66’), 14. Moudi NAJJAR, 15. Aleksandar SUSJAR (4. James MEREDITH 72’), 17. Craig NOONE, 20. Tomislav USKOK, 24. Kokola M’MOMBWA, 31. Lachlan ROSE (9. Tomi JURIC 72’).
Subs: 1. Nicholas SUMAN, 29. Antonis MARTIS, 35. Al Hassan TOURE.
Yellow Cards: Susjar 68’, Liam Rose 80’, Uskok 87’, Najjar 95’.
Red Cards: None.
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
Referee: Stephen Lucas.
Sydney host Newcastle Jets next Saturday evening at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, with kick-off scheduled for 7:45pm. It’ll be a doubleheader next week, with our A-League Women’s side beginning their season, so get down early and cheer on the girls. Kick-off is 5:05pm for that clash.