AIS win seven-goal thriller

The AIS upset the form book to claim victory in Round 6 of the National Youth League with an entertaining 4-3 victory over Sydney FC at the AIS Track.

The AIS upset the form book to claim victory in Round 6 of the National Youth League with an entertaining 4-3 victory over Sydney FC at the AIS Track.

Goals from Stefan Mauk, Anthony Proia, Daniel Barac and Benjamin Garuccio did the damage for the Institute as the home team recorded only their second win of the season.

Hoping to build on the success of their last home outing when Gold Coast United were beaten 2-0 at the Australian Institute of Sport and bury the travails of their recent road trip, the AIS started briskly with the lively Mauk at the forefront of most of their early forays into Sydney FC territory.

As early as the third minute, Mauk showed his intentions skipping past his marker and cutting back a sublime pass into the path of Proia, whose low strike was goal bound before being deflected over the cross bar for a corner.

The Sky Blues, who entered the match sitting third on the ladder, responded with a Jared Lum free-kick testing the agility of home 'keeper Paul Izzo but that was as close as they came in the opening 20 minutes as the AIS dominated proceedings.

After Proia had been denied by a superb covering tackle, the Institute hit the lead with a stunning strike.

Mauk got hold of the ball 25 metres from goal and sent a wonderful curling effort beyond the reach of Marko Bozic and into the top corner for a sensational opener.

The goal seemed to lift the spirits of the AIS and they doubled their advantage nine minutes later.

Proia was the finisher this time showing his pace and power to get in behind the Sydney FC back four and thrash a low drive into the back of the net from just outside the penalty area.

By now it was all the AIS and Yianni Perkatis nearly made it three with a curling shot that Bozic did well to tip round the post.

It was a short-lived reprieve for the visitors though as the home fans were celebrating again just after the half-hour mark.

Once more it was a cracking finish with Daniel Barac sending an exact left-foot shot on the turn that flashed into the bottom corner.

Sydney FC reduced the deficit before the break with a well-taken free-kick from Lum but it was scarcely deserved as the AIS saw out a commanding first-half showing.

The AIS started the second half as they ended the first with half-time substitute Kobbie Boahene feeding Proia who forced a routine stop from Bozic within 60 seconds of the re-start.

Shortly after Perkatis went close with a shot that was pushed round the post by the busy Sydney FC custodian before the Sky Blues began to take a grip on the match.

Mitchell Oxborrow had to be at his best to clear a cross shot that seemed destined for the net before Sydney FC struck again.

A slick passing move in the 65th minute culminated with Mitchell Mallia tapping into the empty net as the visitors carved open the Institute defence with a sublime move that showcased their class.

Having forced their way back into the match the momentum was all with Sydney with the impressive Mallia dictating play in the middle of the park, whereas a swathe of substitutions disrupted the flow of the game with the AIS seemingly struggling to find the fluency that was evident in the first hour of the contest.

As it was, the AIS steadily re-found their focus and Oxborrow fired narrowly wide from distance before putting the result to bed two minutes from time.

Benjamin Warland found Riley Woodcock on the overlap and the left-back sent over a deep cross to the far post where Benjamin Garuccio controlled and fired a glorious strike into the top corner to make it 4-2.

A stoppage time goal from Sydney's Blake Powell ensured a nervous finale but AIS held on to keep the points in Canberra.

AIS 4 (Mauk 14, Proia 23, Barac 33, Garuccio 88) Sydney FC 3 (Lum 41, Mallia 65, Powell 90)

Image courtesy Canberra Times