Hyundai A-League - 2012/2013 - Season 8

Sydney threw away a two-goal lead
By Stephen Webb

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 6
7:45pm, Saturday 10 November, 2012
at Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 2
(Yairo Yau 14', Pascal Bosschaart 48')
lost to
Melbourne Victory FC 3
(Andrew Nabbout 79', 90'+1 Archie Thompson 86')


(Photo by for BOTN)

Bravery and commitment couldn’t compensate for a lack of cohesion and direction as Sydney threw away a two-goal lead to succumb to fellow strugglers Melbourne Victory.

Sydney held their own for 30 minutes as Melbourne steadied but were under the gun for the most part, desperately throwing bodies and often luckily getting bodies in the way of Melbourne’s strikes at goal.

Victory in the end had 60 per cent of possession, nine shots on target to Sydney’s four, and won the corner count 15-2.

Few people sitting around me thought Sydney would win, even when 2-1 up with ten minutes to go.

They were appalling. Laughably so.

But I wouldn’t be blaming poor Ian Crook, who the next day threw in the towel as coach, citing ill health. Sydney’s play would make anyone sick. While Melbourne are clearly gelling with stars emerging, Sydney’s usual reliables failed and new introductions and reintroductions often floundered.

Fans applauded the announcement of Pascal Bosschaart’s inclusion in the team ... almost as much as for the return of Allesandro Del Piero.

A large retinue of Victory supporters were on hand to give their team a constant cheer (except for a brief period after Sydney’s first goal).

Marcos Rojas, who had an imperfect but mostly good game, twice received the ball in an offside position, Ivan Necevski twice nearly gave the ball away and Nathan Coe twice dived to save at the feet of Sydney forwards.

Fabio hit a harmless cross, Guilherme Finkler had some nice touches, and Sydney fans enjoyed Mark Milligan getting yellow carded.

Finkler almost got a ball through to Rojas on goal but Sydney scored first with a Brett Emerton-Del Piero combination on the left delivering to Blake Powell who set up Yairo Yau.

Sydney were in the lead but ... “We did score first last week.”

Rhyan Grant on the right got the ball in for Blake Powell, who didn’t make the most of the opportunity. Del Piero and Fabio made something out of the pickings and Fabio got a shot away from the left.

Ali Abbas, clumsy on Marcos Flores, got a word from Del Piero.

Adrian Leijer and Sebastian Ryall clashed heads contesting a ball in Sydney’s penalty area and both fell with bleeding scalps, Leijer’s much the worse, requiring two changes of shirt and repeated bandaging.

Rojas and Archie Thompson switched wings for a while and Ryall ran around in a corner by himself, either demonstrating he could still play safe or was completely bereft of any sense of place.

Then I was thinking and started saying aloud that Del Piero was having a dog. More often than not giving the ball away. Missing tackles and tripping opponents. Moving very stiffly. Those who doubted and started watching closely began to agree with me. Except for an Italian guy in front of me who turned and looked daggers.

A great cross by Adama Traore from the line on the left was cleared perhaps with some good fortune but Victory proceeded to win two corners during a sustained period of pressure on Sydney.

Another Victory corner was scrambled away, Paul Reid stuffed up and then fouled Milligan, and Necevski made a wonderful save on a Milligan header following a free kick from the right, conceded by Ryall.

Traore crossed well again and Flores should have done much better with the chance provided, his free header going wide right.

Victory piled on the pressure and Sydney must have been praying for the whistle to end the half.

The second half began as the first ended, with another Victory corner.

However, Yau got a break from the clearance and won a free kick. Del Piero played Abbas through to deliver a cross from the left and Sydney won a corner. Sydney kept the ball alive in the Melbourne penalty area until it fell for Bosschaart, who scored his first professional goal with a clinical left-foot drive.

Somehow Sydney were winning by two.

“We can probably still lose,” came a voice beside me.

“Where’s your faith, boys?”

Good play on the left by Thompson gave Milligan a chance to kick the ball out of the stadium, which Milligan attempted, to huge cheers. “Don’t feel bad!”

Fabio and Necevski conspired to give Melbourne a goal but Ryall cleared off the line.

Yau outran Traore and crossed to Coe.

Sydney, clearly hating the idea of winning, gave Rojas a free shot but he skied it.

With 35 minutes to go Sydney started wasting time. A good indication of the way they thought the game was heading. It was impossible to believe Sydney were winning. They were a shambles.

Victory enjoyed a pinball game in Sydney’s penalty area.

Del Piero almost won Sydney a third goal when he drew a foul from Diogo Ferreira just outside the Melbourne penalty area. Del Piero’s free kick went straight to Leijer’s head, felling him again and winning Sydney a corner.

“Bet you five bucks he meant to do that.”

“Leijer’ll probably score a hat trick and win the game.”

Sydney scrambled away another Melbourne attack and Mitchell Mallia came on for the strained Del Piero, who still got a standing ovation (he was the playmaker in the first goal after all).

Yau, the other crowd favourite, was replaced by Terry McFlynn, the crowd’s bete noire.

Mallia on a break got too clever (“watching Del Piero too much”).

Mr Porn Star Movember Reid blocked a seeming certainty from Victory substitute Andrew Nabbout. “Last week the ball couldn’t stop going in; this week it can’t go in!”

Necevski, fingertips still dependable, was having a shocker with his feet.

McFlynn didn’t win back any fans when he received the ball just inside the Melbourne penalty area and didn’t shoot immediately. Perhaps someone should have alerted him that Finkler was arriving fast up his rear end.

“Crooky’s only playing him so there’s a spot for Culina.”

Emerton made a strong run down the left and with some luck might have scored from the goal line but Powell fell over Coe and no-one else was following through to put away the loose ball.

I was made to regret speaking up for Powell before the game when Sydney broke three against one and Powell ran the ball into Traore with good passing options left and right.

Powell let Thompson in from the right. Thompson found Rojas, whose rising shot was saved by Necevski.

But super sub Nabbout made up for that with a wonderful strike from the right of the box in off the left post.

Soon Nabbout was chipping a defender to come in from the right: “They are all over us!”

Which of course they were. Proven by Thompson, unmarked, diverting a Milligan header into goal.

Finkler blasted high but another of his corners was met by a powerful header from Nabbout, also unmarked, which won the game for Victory. Sydney fans filed out in disgust. Looking forward to next week’s bottom-of-the-table clash with Brisbane.

How many will return for the next home game? Perhaps it doesn’t matter if Sydney lose; they seem guaranteed to provide some excitement.



2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 6
7:45pm, Saturday 10 November, 2012
at Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 2
(Yairo Yau 14', Pascal Bosschaart 48')
lost to
Melbourne Victory FC 3
(Andrew Nabbout 79', 90'+1 Archie Thompson 86')

    Crowd: 21,531

    MATCH STATS:

    Sydney FC :
    Player listing:
    1 Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2 Sebastian RYALL, 3 Fabio ALVES, 4 Pascal BOSSCHAART, 7 Brett EMERTON, 9 Paul REID, 10 Alessandro DEL PIERO, 12 Blake POWELL, 21 Yairo YAU, 22 Ali ABBAS, 23 Rhyan GRANT

    Substitutes: 20. Vedran Janjetovic (rgk), 11 Mitchell Mallia, 15 Terry McFlynn, 18 Trent McClenahan

    Coach: Ian Crook

    Yellow Cards: Paul REID 41', Sebastian RYALL 56'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Melbourne Victory FC :
    Player listing:
    39. Nathan Coe, 3. Adam Traore, 4. Petar Franjic, 5. Mark Milligan, 7. Guilherme Finkler, 9. Marcos Flores, 10. Archie Thompson, 11. Marco Rojas, 13. Digo Ferriera, 14 Billy Celeski, 23. Adrian Leijer

    Substitutes: 1. Tando Velaphi (rgk), 6. Leigh Broxham, 8. Jonathan Bru, 26. Andrew Nabbout

    Coach: Ange Postecoglou

    Yellow Cards: Mark MILLIGAN 11', Diogo FERREIRA 61', Guilherme FINKLER 80'
    Red Cards: Nil


    Referee: Kris Griffith-Jones
    Assistant Referee 1: David Walsh, Assistant 2: Scott Edeling; Fourth official: Stephen Lucas

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Gui Finkler (MV)
    2. Andrew Nabbout (MV)
    1. Adama Traore (MV)

    Pitch rating: 7/10

    Game rating: 7/10

    Match report, photos and ratings: Stephen Webb



















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