Sydney FC has reached the last 16 of the Westfield FFA Cup after a 3-1 win over Melbourne City in their inaugural match in Australia’s newest sporting competition in Ballarat.
Corey Gameiro continued his fine run of form to open the scoring for the Sky Blues in the first half before City’s Nick Kalmar equalised to send the game into extra time.
Two penalties from Ali Abbas secured the win the in the second half of the extra 30 minutes, as Terry Antonis was twice brought down inside the box.
A crowd of 2800 watched at Morshead Park while almost 7,000 people around the world tuned in as the match created a first for a competitive game between two Hyundai A-League clubs, being streamed live on sydneyfc.com.
“I thought defensively we were outstanding and that’s what I want from the boys every week,” said Head Coach Graham Arnold.
“Melbourne City only had one chance in the entire 120 minutes. That’s what we need to build our fortress on,” he continued.
“I felt we were a two goal better team over the 90 minutes but it wasn’t to be, and the boys showed great character in extra time to get the job done.”
Arnold handed starts to youngster Hagi Gligor and Sasa Ognenovski while Ali Abbas and Bernie Ibini were added to the starting line-up following their Foxtel All Stars efforts against Juventus two days earlier.
The opening 20 minutes saw little in the way of chances for either side while former Sky Blue Iain Ramsay was booked for a foul on Sebastian Ryall.
The game burst into life on 23 minutes when Gameiro latched onto a long through ball out of the Sydney FC defence which City goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne mis-read and came charging out of his box to clear. However Gameiro reached the ball first and was able to calmly slot the ball past the stranded keeper and into the net to put the Sky Blues 1-0 up.
Gameiro’s strike made it seven goals in five games for the young striker and he almost made it eight in the 40th minute when he got free on the left hand side and flashed a shot across the face of goal.
One minute of injury time followed the half and the Sky Blues went in at the break with the lead.
Ibini made a good run early in the second half to find Abbas on the wing and his centre narrowly missed his fellow All Star who waited to pounce inside the six yard box.
It was a chance they Sky Blues would rue when Kalmar drew City level in the 65th minute. Mooy crossed the ball from the left hand side into the six yard box and the City midfielder was on hand to head past Janjetovic.
Sydney FC were back on the offensive five minutes later when a dangerous Petkovic free kick caused havoc in the Melbourne City defence, who eventually were able to clear with Gameiro lurking close by.
Kisborno almost put through his own net in the 75th minute but saw his scuff bounce back off the post and five minutes later another dangerous Sydney FC corner was cleared inside the six yard box.
Petkovic put a ball through for Gameiro on 82 minutes however Redmayne was quick to react and smothered at the striker's feet.
The tension began to rise as the 90 minutes drew closer and Naumoff had a chance to win it in the final minute but his shot deflected over the bar and sent the game into extra time.
Neither team made any headway in the first 15 minutes of the extra and the drama unfolded in the second period.
Gameiro went clean through on goal inside the penalty box but was brought down by Hoffman who received a red card in the 108th minute. It gave the Sky Blues the chance to take the lead and after a number of minutes of dispute following the sending off, Iraqi International Ali Abbas stepped up to slot the ball home.
The Sky Blues sealed the win three minutes later when Antonis broke into the box only for Wielaert to bring him down. Abbas again stepped up to convert from the spot and send Sydney FC into the last 16 of the competition.
Sydney FC 3 (Gameiro 23’, Abbas 111’ pen, 115’ pen) d. Melbourne City FC 1 (Kalmar 65’) AET
at Morshead Park, Ballarat
Referee: Shaun Evans
SYDNEY FC: 20. Vedran JANJETOVIC, 2. Seb RYALL (4. Pedj BOJIC 95’), 3. Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 5. Matt JURMAN, 6. Nikola PETKOVIC, 7. Corey GAMEIRO, 11. Bernie IBINI (13. Alex GERSBACH 100’), 12. Hagi GLIGOR, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 19. Nick CARLE (16. Christopher NAUMOFF 77’), 22. Ali ABBAS.
Subs not used: 1. Ivan NECEVSKI, 18. Peter TRIANTIS.
Booked: GAMEIRO 72’
MELBOURNE CITY FC: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 3. Robbie WIELAERT ©, 6. Aaron MOOY, 7. Iain RAMSAY, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 11. Damien DUFF, 15. David WILLIAMS, 17. Jason HOFFMAN, 22. Nicholas KALMAR (21. Stefan MAUK 90’), 23. Mate DUGANDZIC, 24. Patrick KISNORBO.
Subs not used: 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK), 14. James BROWN, 19. Ben GARUCCIO, 26. Ross ARCHIBALD
Booked: RAMSAY 20’, MOOY 84’
Red Card: Hoffmam 108'
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