Sydney offer turkey leftovers on a Boxing Day platter for Brisbane

By Stephen Webb

Hyundai A-League 2013-14 season, Round 12
7.30 pm, 26 December 2013
Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Sydney FC 2 (Del-Piero 11’, Garcia 90+4’)
defeated by
Brisbane Roar FC 5 (Broich 20’, Petratos 23’ pen, 35’, 78’ pen, Franjic 90+3’)

There was no Christmas cheer for Sydney fans tonight as the “fortress” of Allianz Stadium collapsed under the assault of a rampant Brisbane Roar.

A hat-trick by former Sydney (“young gun” — wince) forward Dimi Petratos rubbed salt in the Sky Blues’ lacerations. Could it have been worse if Besart Berisha had played? Or if Bundesliga-bound Kwame Yeboah had more game time?

Did Sydney play so badly that they made Brisbane look majestic? Or did Brisbane just play so well that Sydney looked like an under-8s park side? Except under-8s would have run around more.

As coach Frank Farina noted after the game, Sydney were given a footballing lesson. The only thing that slowed Brisbane’s flow was a downpour in the second half.

Sydney got nowhere near the Roar’s penalty area in the first eight minutes. They were hardly able to leave their own half.

Henrique ran rings around Predrag Bojic down Brisbane’s left flank and a frustrated Bojic gave away possession attempting to take on two Brisbane players on the edge of his own penalty area.

As soon as Sydney discovered Brisbane’s penalty area, against the run of play, it typically was a tumbling, supine then prone Alessandro Del Piero who provided Sydney with a goal. Del Piero went down once outside the box but found his feet only to trip off the ball. His free kick flew inside the right post off the fingertips of the diving Michael Theo.

Brisbane returned to nuisancing Sydney’s defence in and around the home penalty area, the nimble Henrique always looking dangerous.

In the 17th minute Sydney offered some resistance, with a cross from Ali Abbas popping up for Theo to catch. Brisbane went back to work as usual and Nikola Petkovic had to chase down Henrique.

In the 20th minute Thomas Broich elegantly made sure of an easy chance thanks to a long, defence-splitting pass from Luke Brattan.

Minutes later Henrique tangled with Sebastian Ryall outside the Sydney penalty area then fell over the prostrate Ryall, into the box, to win a penalty. Petratos, on his second attempt, beat the valiantly diving Vedran Janjetovic and Brisbane were in the lead. As they clearly deserved to be.

Bojic was sent on a chase down Sydney’s right. James Donachie was quicker but conceded a corner.

A cross from Brisbane’s right by Ivan Franjic provided two chances for Henrique, both blocked on the edge of Sydney’s goal box.

Brisbane were playing the ball around with such uncontested, fluid movement it looked like a training session. They must face fiercer opposition in training. Sydney couldn’t keep possession. Even giving the ball to Del Piero was a guaranteed turnover. And when Brisbane couldn’t cleanly pinch the ball from him (often) they just ran over him (yellow card to Brattan).

Brett Emerton couldn’t find sufficient skill/speed/energy to get around Donachie and when Bojic sent a lovely ball down the right for Emerton there was no teammate prepared to deal with Emerton’s cross.

Brisbane’s mobility and Sydney’s poor marking contributed to the Roar’s third goal. Quick passing between Petratos, Matt McKay, Brattan and Broich on the edge of the box set up Petratos to score freely from the right.

It was so easy for Brisbane that McKay started showboating. Even when his smart-arse flicks went nowhere it hardly mattered. Sydney had nothing.

Henrique, supplied by Broich, again got into the left side of Sydney’s penalty area but was stopped by Ryall.

When Sydney attempted to emulate Brisbane — Ranko Despotovic, Del Piero, Emerton and Bojic passing the ball around the edge of Brisbane’s penalty area — no shot eventuated.

Through all the misery the Cove continued to sing. And they sang to the bitter end. But Sydney supporters in other stands were also uttering more guttural sounds. Deep groans. And foul expletives.

Bojic hit a low cross from the right corner but it went straight through the Brisbane penalty area untouched. Bojic, far more effective in attack than defence, then won a corner. And in the final five minutes of the first half Sydney had possession of the ball around their opponents’ penalty area.

But Petratos, getting into the right side of the Sydney box, called a good save from Janjetovic.

The second half began for Sydney without Del Piero, replaced by Corey Gameiro. And things looked more promising, briefly, for the home side. There was an entry into the Brisbane penalty area, a fall in the Brisbane penalty area and a penalty appeal.

But in the 49th minute McKay hit Sydney’s left upright from 20 metres. Fan comment: “If you need a quote from the crowd tonight — ‘We’re fucked.’”

And more: “Why wouldn’t you mark Broich!” “They’re making mugs of us.”

In the 54th minute Emerton attempted a long-distance lob — it was one of Sydney’s better chances.

A cross from the right by Broich saw Henrique score from close range but the hand of God was spotted and the goal disallowed.

“It’s raining heavy now, will that help us?” “Nothing will help us.”

Janjetovic made a good save at the feet of Henrique.

Emerton was replaced by Yairo Yau, Hagi Gligor replaced Matt Thompson and Sydney immediately looked (slightly) better.

Richard Garcia made a good run before being fouled but referee Ben Williams allowed play to go on and Sydney delivered a very decent shot on target that required a diving save from Theo. Sydney had a corner but soon it was back to “one goal and nine defenders”.

Yet Theo had to make another good save on a header from Ryall and then had to punch clear from another Sydney corner.

Yau beat Petratos and Franjic and then Petratos again but he had no support.

Janjetovic needed to make a magnificent aerial save to deny a shot from Petratos curling inside the left post. Franjic had a chance to shoot but squared for a possible tap-in that never was. He should have scored.

Petkovic collided with Broich, one of three Brisbane players who had beaten Sydney’s offside trap, and Brisbane had another penalty, which Petratos converted to take his tally to three and Brisbane’s to four. Then Petratos hit the side netting following a cross from the left.

Garcia tried a shot from 25 metres. A deflection gave Sydney a corner.

Matthew Smith made an important block on a Yau cross from the left.

Gameiro had a good chance on a cross from the right but paused instead of striking first time and only won another corner.

Yeboah, on for a small cameo, made his way into to the right of Sydney’s penalty area but scuffed his shot beyond the left post. He also should have scored.

Franjic had a couple more penalty box entries, the second of which gave Brisbane their fifth goal. Janjetovic blocked Franjic’s initial shot but Franjic followed up and buried the rebound.

An error by Theo after Sydney’s final corner supplied Garcia with a Christmas gift, which left Sydney with a flattering 2-5 score line.

“Let’s go home.”

What did Farina learn from this lesson? It will need to be something quite profound if he is to avoid further matches being described as a “ruthless gutting of a dysfunctional Sydney FC outfit” and if Sydney are to have any hope of making the finals.


Crowd: 17,662

Sydney FC:
20. Vedran Janjetovic (gk), 2. Sebastian Ryall, 4. Ranko Despotovic, 6. Nikola Petkovic, 7. Brett Emerton (21. Yairo Yau 61’), 8. Predrag Bojic, 10. Alessandro Del Piero (9. Corey Gameiro 46’), 11. Richard Garcia, 19. Nick Carle, 22. Ali Abbas, 28. Matthew Thompson (24. Hagi Gligor 61’).
Subs not used: 1. Ivan Necevski (gk), 15. Terry McFlynn.
Yellow cards: Sebastian Ryall 21’, Nikola Petkovic 78’,

Brisbane Roar FC:
1. Michael Theo (gk), 15. James Donachie, 13. Jade North (26. Corey Brown 79’), 2. Matt Smith, 5. Ivan Franjic, 17. Matt McKay, 11 Liam Miller, 18. Luke Brattan (29. Kwame Yeboah 83’), 22. Thomas Broich, 10. Henrique (28. Brandon Borrello 70’), 23. Dimitri Petratos
Subs not used: 20. Matthew Acton (gk), 14. Diogo Ferreira
Yellow cards: Henrique 68’, Brattan 31’

Referee: Ben (pedantry personified) Williams 6/10
Assistants: Allyson Flynn, Owen Goldrick, Stephen Lucas

Pitch: 6/10

Game: 7/10

Player points:
2. Broich (Brisbane)
1. Henrique (Brisbane)
1. Petratos (Brisbane)
1. Janjetovic (Sydney)
(Pick nearly any Brisbane player and give them a point.)

By Stephen Webb