Sydney only manage draw against ten-man Roar

By Stephen Webb:

Hyundai A-League 2013-14 season, Round
7.45 pm, 14 March 2014
Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Sydney FC 1 (Sebastian Ryall 35’)
drew with
Brisbane Roar FC 1
(Besart Berisha 23’)

The sending off of Besart Berisha late in the first half provided plenty of drama but was insufficient to provide the home team with a winning advantage.

With Berisha having already scored and Sebastian Ryall equalising, Matthew Smith and Luke Brattan kept Sydney at bay and the Roar attacked as though Berisha was still on the park.

While Brisbane would be satisfied with a point to keep them sitting comfortably on top of the ladder, Sydney — only three points inside the top six with four games to go — could have done with three points to help secure a spot in the finals.

Possession went Brisbane’s way, of course, but Sydney took the game to Brisbane at the start, getting a shot away and nearly scoring from the rebound during a tackle. Matt Jurman even put the ball in the Brisbane net but Sydney hadn’t received permission to play on following a Brisbane foul.

The Nikola Petkovic free kick came back across goal but no-one was close enough to take advantage.

By contrast Brisbane were slow to get into shooting positions, partly due to Sydney’s combative pressing, forcing Roar into making uncharacteristic errors. Or perhaps Brisbane just felt relaxed and anticipated, as I did, they’d eventually hand Sydney another hiding.

Finally Jack Hingert crossed from the right and Thomas Broich made only enough contact for a soft header to Vedran Janjetovic.

Sydney made a break and won a corner that found Seb Ryall’s head. A guy in front of me said you could see the difference when Sydney had a midfield.

And so far Sydney’s defence was alert to Brisbane’s tactics; Petkovic cut out another Hingert cross.

Brisbane built slowly, Sydney stole the ball and countered, Brisbane recovered possession.

In the 22nd minute Broich lobbed over a cross from the left. Berisha at the right post lobbed over Janjetovic and under the crossbar. Nil – one.

Brisbane continued to retain possession in the middle third but Sydney were solid, keeping them away from scoring opportunities.

A fan next to me, reprimanded by a fan behind me for reading something work-related on her phone, said, “This is a really boring game.” “No,” I responded, “it’s fascinating.”

Hingert made a good tackle on Richard Garcia but Sydney got the ball over from the left and after two blocked shots Terry Antonis won a corner, from which Ryall headed Sydney’s equaliser.

“And he didn’t break his nose to get it, either!”

On a square pass, Miller shot and won a corner, the resulting header collected by Janjetovic.

And the possible turning point was Berisha coming at Ryall with high studs, Ryall shoving Berisha while both were collapsed on the ground, and Berisha being smacked in the head by a rampaging teammate and writhing around on the ground; Ryall receiving a yellow card and Berisha receiving a red.

This saw Sydney with a player advantage in the second half. But, as one TV observer commented later, only tuning in for the second half, it wasn’t apparent Brisbane were a man down.

Except Brisbane kept playing as if an invisible Berisha was on the pitch; crossing and passing to no-one in the box.

Corey Gameiro, who started in place of the injured Ranko Despotovic, down the middle played out to Ryall, whose cross to Garcia was hit just over goal. Ali Abbas sprayed a shot high after a scratchy passage of play from both sides.

Sydney were static in possession; Brisbane players were constantly in motion. And looking more likely to score. Miller had a shot.

Abbas won a corner after a switch by Antonis.

Alex Urosevski, who started in place of Alessandro Del Piero, almost scored with a rebound on a clearance from Michael Theo. Matt McKay shot over the sideline — but one might wonder how he got the chance to shoot in the first place.

Corey Brown copped a yellow card in the 69th minute and Sydney fans were calling for a red. “Because we like to lose against nine men rather than ten.”

Antonis squared to Abbas, whose long shot was just wide. Theo had it covered anyway.

Broich made Aaron Calver look awkward and Miller shot high.

McKay blocked a Garcia shot but Sydney won a corner. Joel Chianese pulled a close chance wide.

Broich set up Henrique, who shot high. A saving tackle from Hagi Gligor stopped Henrique. And Henrique still got another chance to force a save from Janjetovic.

Sydney players were collapsing all over the pitch, wearying from the effort to contain Brisbane.

Petkovic kept going. Up through the middle. Won a free kick. And took it. Shooting to the right of goal.

And a draw it remained.

MATCH STATS

Crowd: 13,073

Sydney FC:
20. Vedran Janjetovic (gk) 2. Sebastian Ryall (34. Aaron Calver 60’), 5. Matthew Jurman, 6. Nikola Petkovic, 9. Corey Gameiro (16. Joel Chianese 66’), 11. Richard Garcia (c) (27. Chris Naumoff 81’), 13. Sasa Ognenovski, 17. Terry Antonis, 22. Ali Abbas, 24. Hagi Gligor, 29. Alex Urosevski
Subs not used: 1. Ivan Necevski (gk), 28. Matthew Thompson
Yellow cards: Sebastian Ryall 40’
Red cards: Nil

Brisbane Roar:
1. Michael Theo (gk), 2. Matthew Smith (c), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 7. Besart Berisha, 11. Liam Miller (8. Steven Lustica 77’), 17. Matthew McKay, 18. Luke Brattan, 19. Jack Hingert, 22. Thomas Broich, 23. Dimitri Petratos (10. Henrique 77’), 26. Corey Brown (14. Diogo Ferreira 81’)
Subs not used: 20. Matthew Acton (gk), 28. Brandon Borrello
Yellow cards: Corey Brown 68’
Red cards: Besart Berisha 40’

Referee: Peter O’Leary 7/10
Assistants: Jan-Hendrink Hintz, Scott Edeling, Stephen Lucas

Pitch: 6/10

Game: 5/10

Player points

3. Thomas Broich (Brisbane Roar)
2. Luke Brattan (Brisbane Roar)
1. Vedran Janjetovic (Sydney)

By Stephen Webb

Photographs