Hyundai A-League - 2010/2011 - HAL 6 Preseason

Wet Sydney hold Damp Rangers
By Stephen Webb

International Club Friendly - Festival of Football
Wednesday 28 July, 2010
at Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney

Sydney FC 0
drew with
Rangers FC 0

(Photo by Stephen Webb for BOTN)

Sydney FC played with confidence and commitment in appalling conditions to earn a draw with the Scottish champions in the second round of Sydney’s preseason festival.

Coaches of both teams praised the players for the hard and heavy work required to belt a ball around a marsh.

Hours of heavy rain kept the fans away but Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka said, “We will take many positives from this performance ... It was very hard conditions for the players. They didn’t stop which is very positive for us.”

Alex Brosque was out injured but Nick Carle started. The teams emerged accompanied by fresh gusts of wind and rain. Rangers fans (“We are the people”) outnumbered the Cove. Rangers players were very tall.

Carle stole the ball early and Shannon Cole wasted it. Stephan Keller conceded a corner. But generally Sydney pushed the ball around well, particularly considering the conditions. They had more possession, albeit mostly in their own half.

Cole hit a good, low ball toward Rangers’ box in the 12th minute and Mark Bridge shot to keeper Neil Alexander.

Rangers were unable to hold the ball for more than a few passes. Players like David Weir hitting passes high, long and out across the pitch. The whole team seemed out of sorts. Though they were very “definite” in their tackling; Sydney players didn’t want to get caught on the ball.

And they seldom did at first. Rhyan Grant was confident on the ball as was Sebastian Ryall coming out of defence up the right. And Scott Jamieson had promising moments on the left.

By the 26th minute Sydney were either getting tired or just too casual. Rangers saw more of the game and even had a shot. Though their passing was still quite poor.

Sung-Hwan Byun tackled a bit too tenaciously for Rangers’ liking; at one point sweeping Steven Naismith off his feet.

Carle didn’t see a lot of the ball but his touches were effective.

Kyle Lafferty had a great run from his own half, beat three Sydney players and then pushed the ball harmlessly over the Sydney goal line; expecting a teammate to appear from nowhere to save his embarrassment.

Sydney usually got back quickly in numbers when Rangers did break. Copying Rangers’ long balls was useless, though Bridge against four red and white man mountains did once win a free kick.

For the second half Carle was replaced by Hirofumi Moriyasu and Iyane Thiam came on for Bridge.

And then an injured Keller was replaced by the uncertain Antony Golec.

Whether it was Sydney’s changes, or a good motivational half-time talk, but Rangers were more attacking and soon got into Sydney’s penalty area, hitting a shot wide. Liam Reddy eventually had to make a good reflex save to deny a ball goal-bound off Maurice Edu’s back. And immediately Alexander had to save a shot from Thiam.

The rain kept falling and by the 77th minute it was impossible to play anything that resembled football. The ball was sticking; the ball was skimming off the surface. The players were sticking; the players were skimming off the surface.

Naismith won a ball with an aquaplaning tackle only to blind himself with a faceful of slush.

Terry McFlynn battled to the end, hoping to conjure a goal amid the comedy. But everyone else at SFS couldn’t wait for the final whistle.

In the first game, AEK Athens were already 2-0 up by the time I’d battled through wet-weather traffic to join the crowd huddled sparsely in shelter at the back of the stands.

Brett Emerton and Nathan Burns started for their respective teams and both were prominent; Burns across the front for Athens had a hand in both goals and Emerton was busy down the right for Blackburn.

Athens’ centre back Traianos Dellas was very solid and Blackburn’s keeper Paul Robinson was entertaining juggling the ball while under pressure.

In the second half Athens mostly sat on their lead. It was pretty dull. Burns came off after 72 minutes and Emerton was replaced after 60.

In the 79th minute Nikos Lyberopoulos had one of the best chances — slotting the ball outside the right upright — until the 82nd minute when young defender Phil Jones scored for Blackburn with a header on a cross from the left.

At the end of the game Blanco shot across the face of goal and beyond the left post, but most in the stands were more concerned with squeezing tighter away from the blustery rain.

I was sitting next to a large group of Algerian fans, with countrymen in the Rangers and Athens squads ... who did not play.

A member of the bar staff complained that a Rangers supporter wasn’t speaking English. That was at a bar newly serving Carlsberg (in honour of the new number 10?).

It was no fun for the players but Sydney performed well, sorting out some defensive problems and giving fans a better sense of what Carle has to offer.

Sydney FC takes on Blackburn to conclude the Festival of Football at the SFS on Saturday night with AEK taking on Rangers.

In the earlier game AEK Athens 2 (Scocco 21', Lyberopoulos 24') defeated Blackburn Rovers 1 (Jones 82')

(Brett Emerton for Blackburn - Photo by Stephen Webb for BOTN)

(Nathan Burns in action for AEK Athens - Photo by Stephen Webb for BOTN)

International Club Friendly - Festival of Football
Sunday 25 July, 2010
at Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney

Sydney FC 0
drew with
Rangers FC 0

    Crowd: 9,483


    Sydney FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Liam Reddy (Gk), 2. Sebastian Ryall, 3. Stephan Keller (13. Antony Golec 53’), 5. Hayden Foxe, 10. Nicky Carle (28 Hiro Moriyasu 45’), 12. Shannon Cole, 15. Terry McFlynn, 19. Mark Bridge (9. Ibrahima Thiam 45’), 21. Scott Jamieson (7. Brendan Gan 79’), 22. Sung-Hwan Byun, 23. Rhyan Grant (8. Stuart Musialik 62’).

    Substitutes not used: 11. Kofi Danning, 17. Matt Jurman, 18. David Gullo, 20. Ivan Necevski (rgk), 24. Terry Antonis, 30. Dylan Mitchell (rgk)

    Coach: Vitezslav Lavicka

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards: Nil

    Rangers FC :
    25. Neil Alexander (gk), 2. Steven Whittaker, 3. David Weir, 4. Kirk Broadfoot, 5. Andy Webster, 6. Lee McCulloch (14. Jordon McMillan +84’), 7. Maurice Edu, 8. Steven Davis, 9. Kenny Miller (12. John Fleck +61’), 10. Steven Naismith, 11. Kyle Lafferty (19. Andrew Little +80’)

    Substitutes not used: 15. Ross Perry, 17. Gregg Wylde, 18. Jaimie Ness, 1. Alan McGregor (rgk)

    Coach: Walter Smith

    Yellow Cards: Kenny Miller 48'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Matthew Breeze
    Assistants: tba ; Fourth Official: tba

    Pitch rating: wet

    Game rating: wet

    Match Report: Stephen Webb

Picture Gallery (for BOTN by Stephen Webb )

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their complete accuracy although we do strive for that. FFA has not this season accredited any Photographers for BOTN, so any photos used here, unless attributed, are as supplied by FFA and used by permission.

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