Youth draw at Lambert Park

By Corinthian (Paul Green):
Australian National Youth League – Season 7 – Round 10
3pm, Saturday 20th December 2014 – Lambert Park, Leichhardt

Sydney FC 1 (Jordan Tsekenis 66′)
drew with
Adelaide City FC 1 (Anthony Costa 86′)


The previous week they took an eternity to overhaul a 3-1 half- time deficit against a Melbourne City side reduced to ten men before the half-time break, before striking twice in stoppage-time to salvage a 3-3 draw.

It was different this time, a 1-1 draw against Adelaide United the outcome, but Sydney FC coach, Steve Corica, was just as unhappy with his team’s display as he’d been a week before, even though this time they played against eleven men for the entire 93 minutes.

“Their three goals last week (Melbourne City’s) all came from our mistakes, we gave them those goals.

“Here we created almost all of the chances and deservedly took the lead, but for some reason we didn’t continue to push on, we dropped back and let them come at us, I’ve no idea why,” he reflected.

“We needed to address some defensive matters we were unhappy about last week and we did take care of that, at least,” he acknowledged.

Sydney had looked the more adventurous of the two teams for most of the game and that’s being generous to the visitors, who operated with extreme care and caution and had more than enough defenders to block any meaningful Sydney attacks for much of the time.

It was a rather warm day with the kick-off an early 3pm to give Adelaide United plenty of time to get a suitable flight home again, later in the evening.

Adelaide coach Michael Valkanis and his side-kick, the former Marconi and Adelaide United stalwart, Angelo Costanzo, kept their players on their game throughout with a constant barrage of instructions and as one might expect with two former immaculate defenders coaching the side, their emphasis was mostly on defensive probity, above all else.

Seldom did they look like making much use of their occasional breakaways, however, as Sydney continued with their high pressing game.

It was a game of tight marking and few indiscretions, the ball constantly out of play for throws or corners, as Adelaide kept risks to a minimum.

They eventually fell behind in the 66th minute, after a surging run inside, from the left, by Daniel Araujo who managed to get the ball to Jordan Tsekenis, whose close-range finish beat goalkeeper John Hall convincingly.

The 1-0 lead was no more than the Sky Blues deserved

But forced to come out and attack, though still well-covered at the back, Adelaide began to test the Sydney defence, putting numbers forward and they looked threatening right away.

Two minutes after conceding, The Reds’ striker, Anthony Costa, went close with a shot that barely cleared the bar from ten yards out and Adelaide certainly looked likely to give Sydney something to think about.

After a number of skirmishes inside the Sydney penalty-area, some hasty clearances and a general lack of coordination, the home team conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box and right in front, with just four minutes left.

Having created little in open play for much of the game, Adelaide looked a good chance to capitalise on any dead-ball situations; this one looked like being in a perfect position and so it proved.

It was Costa, once more, who was the man given the opportunity.

He picked his spot perfectly to find the top left corner of the net to put his side level again.

Sydney then tried their best to regain the lead over the remaining few minutes, but Adelaide were not going to give anything away a second time and claimed the valuable point.

“They beat us 4-0 in Adelaide,” recalled coach Valkanis, when it was over, “so we were determined that wouldn’t happen again.

“We knew what we needed to do and I’m happy to say our game plan was effective.

Valkanis also revealed that his squad will be playing in the National Premier League in SA during the winter months for the first time.

“They’re sure to learn a lot from that, playing against older players, but in many ways Youth League is more intense than the senior league, where the older players know better how to control the game and are tactically more aware.

“We’ve always kept these boys together during the off-season, with friendlies and regular training, so keeping them in competition will be very useful this coming winter,” he concluded.

Match details

Sydney FC:  Anthony BOUZANIS (gk); Darcy Madden, Themba MUATA-MARLOW, George TIMOTHEOU, Cristian GONZALEZ;  Charles LOKOLI NGOY (Nikola Kuleski 84), Dylan CATON (c) , Anthony Tomelic,  Daniel ARAUJO, Jordan TSEKENIS (Bai Antoniou 74); George BLACKWOOD (Kyle Cimenti 69).
Sub Not Used: Matthew SYMES (RGK)

Coach: Steve Corica

Adelaide United FC: John Hall(gk), Mark Okieng, Jordan Pudler (C), Benjamin Warland, Oliver Zafridis; Bruce Kamau (Alec Maiolo 62), Thomas Love (Adam Piscioneri 57), Nathan Konstandopoulos, Dylan Smith, Anthony Costa; Samed Altundag (Jack Bladen 67)
Sub not used: Sergio Serret (RGK), Tom King,
Coach: Michael Valkanis

Yellow cards:
Cristian Gonzales 42, Jordan Tsekenis 60, Darcy Madden 61, Dylan Caton 83 (SFC), Adam Piscioneri 88, Jack Bladen 90 (AU)

Ratings and points

Game: 7/10
Pitch: 10/10 Synthetic

Referee: Stephen Lucas 8/10
Assistants: Daniel Stark and Adam Vainauskus
Fourth Official: Ben Abraham

Players noted:
Themba Muata-Marlow, Anthony Tomalic, George Timotheou (SFC);
Nathan Konstandopoulos, Anthony Costa, Dylan Smith (AU)