Cole double puts Sydney FC into final round shoot out

Two goals from Shannon Cole has helped Sydney FC snatch a comeback 2-2 draw with Melbourne Heart tonight, which has set up a huge final round shoot out with the Newcastle Jets at Allianz Stadium next Sunday.

Two goals from Shannon Cole has helped Sydney FC snatch a comeback 2-2 draw with Melbourne Heart tonight, which has set up a huge final round shoot out with the Newcastle Jets at Allianz Stadium next Sunday.

Sydney FC must defeat Newcastle in Sydney next Sunday to snare the final place in the semi finals.

The come-from-behind victory over Melbourne Heart, who led 2-0 at half time, gives Sydney FC a huge amount of confidence going into the season-defining match.

Sydney FC made one change to the team that ended Melbourne Victory-s season with a 1-0 win last week, as Terry Antonis replaced the suspended Karol Kisel and Cole was promoted to the bench.

Sydney FC and Melbourne Heart had a boost before kick off as the Newcastle Jets suffered a 2-1 loss to Brisbane, meaning 5th place was up for grabs at AAMI Park. It also meant that Sydney FC-s semi finals future would be decided next Sunday at Allianz Stadium, no matter what the result against Melbourne Heart.

Both teams started cautiously, with pole position in the race for the semi finals up for grabs, although Melbourne had a header flash across goal and Cazarine fashioned a tight chance with a neat turn inside the first 10 minutes.

The chances were few and far between throughout the first half as the match was developing into a midfield battle but it was the home side that opened the scoring in the 31st minute after a neat flick and chip from Fred released Mate Dugandzic and he slotted the ball under Ivan Necevski.

Five minutes later Melbourne doubled their lead when Eli Babalj nodded home a deflected cross after a quick Melbourne counter attack saw the home side get in behind Sydney FC-s left-sided defence.

The two goals came at a time when Melbourne Heart took control of the match with some individual brilliance and they managed to take the 2-0 lead into the half time break.

Sydney FC made a change at half time with Cole coming into the game for Rhyan Grant at right back, which turned out to be an inspired substitution.

The Sky Blues came out of the sheds on fire and came close in the 52nd minute when Nick Carle smashed a shot against the crossbar and Cazarine-s well struck shot on the rebound was plucked out of the air by Clint Bolton.

Bolton had to make another save in the 57th minute, this time slightly more regulation when Carle lashed another shot towards the Heart goal.

The Sky Blues suffered a blow in the 65th minute when Pascal Bosschaart was forced off with a tight hamstring but it made no difference to the Sydney FC resurgence when Cole popped up in the penalty area to thrash home a loose ball to make it 2-1 less than a minute later.

Necevski kept Sydney FC in the game when he denied Fred with a great one-on-one save in the 76th minute as the Sky Blues were left short at the back as they poured forward looking for an equaliser.

A minute later Sydney FC was level when Cole scored his second goal off the bench when he snuck into the near post to head home a pin-point Scott Jamieson free kick in the 77th minute.

The game opened right up at this stage and Necevski was again called into action to deny Fred in the 79th minute.

Emerton had the next chance after Sydney FC broke quickly, Terry McFlynn played Emerton into space but his shot from an acute angle flashed across the goal.

The last 10 minutes saw Sydney FC throwing numbers forward in pursuit of all three points as Melbourne Heart seemed content with the draw, which assured them of finals football.

In the end it was a good performance from Sydney FC, especially the second half, and the season will come down to next Sunday.

Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets will now face off for the 6th and final place in the playoffs in a huge game at Allianz Stadium (formerly Sydney Football Stadium) next Sunday. Kick off is 4pm.

Sydney FC is offering a special ticket offer which allows fans to buy 2 tickets and get 1 free for this game. Adult tickets are available from $20 and families from $50. (Please note this offer applies only to pre-sale through www.ticketek.com.au)

Sydney FC 2 (Shannon Cole 66, 77) drew Melbourne Heart 2 (Mate Dugandzic 31, Eli Babalj 36) AAMI Park Referee: Strebre Delovski

Sydney FC: 20. Ivan Necevski, 4. Pascal Bosschaart (2. Sebastian Ryall ‘65), 5. Michael Beauchamp, 7. Brett Emerton, 9. Bruno Cazarine (19. Mark Bridge ‘81), 10. Nick Carle, Terry McFlynn (c), 16. Joel Chianese, 17. Terry Antonis, 21. Scott Jamieson, 23. Rhyan Grant (12. Shannon Cole ‘46). Sub not used: 1. Liam Reddy (gk) Yellow cards: Nil Red cards: Nil

Melbourne Heart: 1. Clint Bolton, 2.Michael Marrone, , 4.Simon Colosimo, 5.Fred (c), 6.Matt Thompson, 10.Wayne Srhoj, , 13.Jonatan Germano (17.Jason Hoffman ‘69), 16.Aziz Behich, 18.Curtis Good, 19.Eli Babalj, 23.Mate Dugandzic (11. Alex Terra ‘75). Subs not used: 30.Sebastian Mattei (gk), 3.Brendan Hamill. Yellow cards: Wayne Shroj 70. Red cards: Nil