Sydney FC maintain run courtesy of late Bobo penalty

By Arvind Hickman

Sydney FC 1 (Bobo 81′)
drew with
Melbourne City FC 1 (Brandan 32′)

at ANZ Stadium on Friday 9 December, 2016 – Hyundai A-League – Round 10

Crowd: 14,668

Sydney FC have maintained their lead at the summit of the Hyundai A League after grinding out a 1-1 against second-placed Melbourne City in a game that rarely lived up to its billing.

A late Bobo penalty cancelled out a brilliant Fernando Brandan strike and ensured the dominant home didn’t leave Homebush empty handed.

The result maintains the Sky Blues unbeaten start to the season and a six-point buffer. It also presents Melbourne Victory with a chance to overtake City if it wins games in hand.

Sydney were the better side for large parts of the game, but wasteful finishing and stubborn defending from City’s Danish defender Michael Jakobsen frustrated the home side until a challenge on Bobo gifted Sydney a lifeline.

City were far from their best, sloppy in possession and struggling to cope with Sydney’s relentless press until the home side tired.

It took a moment of individual brilliance for City to get ahead and several moments of Danish resilience to keep it that way.

Sydney created plenty of openings but rarely threatened Bouzanis’ goal until Rhyan Grant’s goal bound effort deflected off a teammate in an offside position.

Nice interplay on the left side of the box was cut back across goal on a silver platter for Grant, who beat Bouzanis but was comically thwarted by Bobo. The Brazilian was well advanced of the keeper and wasn’t trying to interfere with play but still managed to get in the way with a touch that was brilliantly spotted by officials.

For all of Sydney’s enterprise going forward, it was City who carved out the better chances against the run of play.

First, Nicolas Colazo rattled the upright with an unstoppable curling free kick that had Vukovic stranded. The foul courtesy of a Josh Brillante professional foul that earned him his first booking.

Then comes the sucker punch. Colazo picks up a loose ball in the middle of the park and plays an innocuous pass to Brandan who dribbles towards goal surrounded by three Sky Blues defenders.

From 30 yards out, the Argentinian steps to his right to create the slightest opening and unleashes a wicked, swerving drive with the outside of his boot – a strike that wouldn’t look out of place in a Roberto Carlos showreel.

A less hesitant Seb Ryall might have shut down Brandan sooner, but that would have robbed the game of a rare moment of quality.

Throughout most of the game, Jakobsen had done an excellent job stifling the threat of Bobo with several brilliant interventions.

Brilliante then made the equation more difficult for the home side when he was given his marching orders for a second yellow as frustration and niggle set in.

But it was the Brazilian who would have the last laugh making the most of a soft challenge in the box from the Dane and then converting to ensure the home side left with a share of the spoils.

Match details

Referee: Kris Griffith Jones

 Sydney FC:  20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 4. Alex WILKINSON, 6. Joshua BRILLANTE, 7. Michael ZULLO, 8. Milos DIMITRIJEVIC (13. Brandon O’NEILL 78’), 9. BOBÔ (18. Matt SIMON 82’), 10. Milos NINKOVIC, 14. Alex BROSQUE (c), 21. Filip HOLOSKO (11. Bernie IBINI 57’), 22. Sebastian RYALL, 23. Rhyan GRANT. 

 Subs not used: 40. Chris OLDFIELD, 5. Matt JURMAN.

 Yellow cards: Brillante 25’, 73’, Bobô 78’, Simon 85’;  Red cards: Brillante 73’.

 Melbourne City: 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 3.Josh ROSE, 5.Ivan FRANJIC (17.Tim CAHILL 83’), 8.Neil KILKENNY, 9.Nicolas COLAZO, 10.Anthony CACERES (18.Paulo RETRE 68’), 21. Ruon TONGYIK, 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI (c), 26.Luke BRATTAN, 27.Fernando BRANDAN.

Subs not used:  1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 12.Nick FITZGERALD.

Yellow cards: Kilkenny 36’, Retre 69’, Cahill 92’;  Red cards: None.