Record breakers inflict record loss on Perth Glory

by Stephen Webb

Hyundai A-League 2017-18 Season
Round 13
Saturday, December 30, 2017, 7.50 pm
Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Sydney FC 6 (Brandon O’Neill 21′, Adrian Mierzejewski 58′, Alex Brosque62′, Bobô 67′, 90′, 90+5′)
Perth Glory 0


Half way through the first half, after Brandon O’Neill opened Sydney’s account, Perth were playing like they’d already lost.

The only thing that saved them was that Sydney were playing like they’d already won.

A halftime reminder from coach Graham Arnold to stay focused was all that was needed for the home side to come out and realise their clear superiority. If not for some fine saves by Liam Reddy the visitors would have been savaged even more cruelly.

Perth were disrupted early and several times during the game with Alexander Grant requiring treatment for a head injury following a clash with Bobô.

Bobô tested Reddy in the fifth minute, the Glory keeper tipping a header over the crossbar on a cross from Luke Wilkshire on the right. The penetration of both Sydney fullbacks, Wilkshire and Michael Zullo, was one of many highlights for Sydney.

Two minutes later Andrew Keogh was through on goal down the left but was far offside and left the ball for Brandon Wilson. Referee Jonathan Barreiro added to confusion in the box by obstructing Wilkshire but Sydney managed to scramble clear.

Perth came again with a lob into Sydney’s penalty area but Diego Castro was also well offside.

Sydney weren’t seriously threatened despite playing rubbish: long passes to no one, players leaving passes they assumed were going to someone else … when no one was there.

Even Josh Brillante was giving the ball away.

In the 17th minute goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne held an attempt from Keogh and then was lucky punching clear a cross from the left.

In the 20th minute Alex Wilkinson blocked a ball into Sydney’s goal box intended for Castro. Sydney quickly countered through Alex Brosque and Mierzejewski, with Milos Ninkovic finally running at goal and selflessly setting up O’Neill for a simple pass into the net.

Fans behind me debated whether Sydney could be considered in control of the match if they were a goal ahead, even if they didn’t dominate possession.

Mitch Nicholls down the left was vigorously tackled by Brillante haring across the pitch.

Ninkovic couldn’t make it to a cross in front of the Perth goal.

Sydney started playing around the Perth penalty area. One-twos. Flick passes. Like it was a training game.

In the 26th minute Reddy blocked a long shot from Brillante.

In the 30th minute Reddy dived to stop Bobô squeezing the ball inside the left post.

Then a Zullo cross from the left gave chances to Bobô, Brosque and Ninkovic. All missed.

Jordy Buijs crossed from the right looking for Adrian Mierzejewski but Perth cleared.

Still Sydney were trying to be too clever, wasting possession.

In the 46th minute Andreu Guerao shot well wide.

It had been a dull first half; mainly due to Sydney playing poorly.

All that was to change.

In the 52nd minute a nice sequence of passing by Sydney ended with Zullo crossing just too long for Buijs.

Four minutes later the VAR disallowed a Mierzejewski goal on a Ninkovic through ball.

Mierzejewski got his goal four minutes later, beating Joseph Mills on the right of the penalty area and having his shot deflected into an open goal.

In the 61st minute Ninkovic hit the crossbar on a Wilkshire cross.

Sydney were now toying with Perth. Beautiful passing. As though someone was controlling them in a FIFA video game.

A lovely ball found Zullo on the left. Zullo swung in a perfect cross for Brosque who, despite pressure from Jacob Poscoliero, managed the slightest of glancing headers beyond Reddy and into the bottom right hand corner.

Fans around me marvelled as they watched the replays, some saying it must be a contender for goal of the season.

Their pleasure was to continue.

In the 65th minute Bobô was awarded a penalty for being rugby tackled as he ran to meet a cross to the right post. Bobô sent Reddy the wrong way and it was 4-0.

In the 70th minute Guerao shot wide from distance.

Then it was bad luck for Perth with a deflected shot hitting the crossbar with Redmayne beaten.

Normal service resumed in the 76th minute when Reddy had to prevent a Mierzejewski cross curling under the crossbar.

Bobô gave the ball away after a long passage of Sydney possession (“That’s why he’s not a midfielder”), Perth countered and Castro’s shot was blocked.

Sydney’s dominance in the second half was evident in how well Castro was shut out of the game. At one point, Ninkovic forced him back 40 metres.

In the 81st minute Wilkshire called a diving save from Reddy after a lay back from Bobô.

A minute later Reddy was saving from O’Neill.

In the 84th minute the ball came out of the Perth penalty area following a cross by Zullo. Mierzejewski shot and Reddy saved.

Charles Lokolingoy, who came on for Ninkovic, hit a disappointingly soft shot to Reddy, who then had to work harder to tip another Bobô header over the bar.

Jeremy Walker headed away another cross and Sydney had a corner.

Mierzejewski made a determined and dazzling run from the centre circle, breezing through opponents, and pushing the ball right to Lokolingoy. Mierzejewski was begging for the return pass in front of goal but Lokolingoy again shot to Reddy, this time more firmly but in no way alleviating Mierzejewski’s frustration.

In the 90th minute Bobô, brilliantly supplied by Mierzejewski, scored a ripper (another contender for goal of the season?) from the right post. Controlling the ball with his back to goal, he turned and volleyed over his left shoulder, across Reddy, and inside the left post: 5-0.

It was already into stoppage time but the fans were calling for six. And they got it.

David Carney, subbed on earlier for Brosque, hoiked a wonderful long ball from defensive left to right midfield for Mierzejewski. Mierzejewski fed into the right of the penalty area for Bobô, who was felled by Reddy. Another penalty.

This time Reddy went the right way but could only push the ball onto the post, where it rebounded across goal and in. Bobô had his second hat-trick in a week.

Six-nil. Game over. And ,apparently, just as Arnold had predicted.

Sydney now have a record-equalling 23 games undefeated at home. On Wednesday night they will be tested seriously, when they host second-placed Newcastle Jets.

Match stats

Sydney FC 6 (Brandon O’Neill 21′, Adrian Mierzejewski 58′, Alex Brosque62′, Bobô 67′, 90′, 90+5′) defeated Perth Glory 0

Crowd: 13,322

Sydney FC
1. Andrew Redmayne (gk), 4. Alex Wilkinson, 5. Jordy Buijs, 6. Joshua Brillante, 7. Michael Zullo, 9. Bobô, 10. Milos Ninkovic (21. Charles Lokolingoy 82’), 11. Adrian Mierzejewski, 13. Brandon O’Neill, 14. Alex Brosque (17. David Carney73’), 26. Luke Wilkshire (8. Paulo Retre 88’).

Subs not used: 30. Thomas Heward-Belle (gk), 22. Seb Ryall.
Yellow cards: None.
Red cards: None.

Perth Glory
33. Liam Reddy (gk), 2. Alexander Grant, 5. Jacob Poscoliero, 6. Mitchell Nichols, 9. Andrew Keogh, 14. Chris Herd (26. Jacob Italiano 57’), 15. Brandon Wilson (24. Callum Timmins 82’), 16. Joseph Mills, 17. Diego Castro, 18. Andreu Guerao, 29. Jeremy Walker.
Subs not used: 13. Nicholas Feely (gk), 19. Joseph Knowles, 27. Riley Warland.
Yellow cards: 16. Joseph Mills 34’, 5. Jacob Poscoliero 66’
Red cards: None.

Referee: Jonathan Barreiro 7/10
Assistant referees: Owen Goldrick and Greg Taylor
Fourth official: Ben Abraham
Video assisted referee: Chris Beath

Pitch: 8/10

Game: 7/10

Best players:

3. Mierzejewski (Sydney FC)
2. Ninkovic (Sydney FC)
1. Reddy (Perth Glory) (sympathy point)

Photographs here.