Gallant Sydney FC draw with Suwon

Sydney FC opened their AFC Champions League campaign with a tense 0-0 draw against Suwon Samsung Bluewings at the Sydney Football Stadium on Wednesday night.

Sydney FC opened their AFC Champions League campaign with a tense 0-0 draw against Suwon Samsung Bluewings at the Sydney Football Stadium on Wednesday night.

A red card to Sky Blues skipper Terry McFlynn in the 33rd minute put the home side on the back foot but Sydney defiantly fought off persistent and dangerous attacks from the Korean powerhouse side to claim a valuable point and also came close to snatching a late winner.

The Sky Blues next match is against Japanese giants Kashima Antlers on Wednesday 16 March at the Kashima Soccer Stadium (7pm local time kick-off)*.

“We showed great character tonight. We played most of the game with a man down and we never gave up and pushed hard. I am very proud of the players,” Coach Vitezslav Lavicka said.

“We weren-t surprised by the physical play tonight. We have a high respect for Suwon. They have a very strong team. We stayed compact and we showed true fight and character. This makes me very happy.”

Both sides started nervously and Sydney FC were almost made to pay in the 8th minute when Scott Jamieson underestimated the time he had in possession. Lee Sangho swiftly stole the ball and played a defence-splitting pass to release Choi Sung Kuk, but the 28-year-old striker blasted over the crossbar.

Once settled the creativity was evident for the Sky Blues with skilful back-heels and diagonal runs and the home-side had delivered a warning to the Korean side, demanding respect and the Bluewing-s full focus in defence.

Sangho had another opportunity to grab the lead but he struck his header straight at Liam Reddy and only moments later Sung Kuk displayed his speed before delivering a cross to Lee Yong Rae who couldn-t control his first-time shot.

The match was turned on its head in the 33rd minute when McFlynn received a straight red card for stepping on Yang Sang Min-s elbow. The incident looked accidental as McFlynn tried to jump over the Suwon left back but despite the intentions the Northern Irishman made contact and thus the referee had his hands tied.

The decision did not unsettle Sydney-s composure as they tried to fight back almost immediately with a Jamieson free-kick going just wide in the 39th minute.

Sydney continued pressuring and began to find a steady and sustainable rhythm, Hiro Moriyasu-s low drive was well saved by Korean international Jung Sungryong.

Just a minute later on the stroke of half-time Yeom Ki Hun had a free-kick just outside the box but his effort was also saved by Reddy.The visitors began the second half with attacking intentions emphasised by two golden chances in the 50th minute. Sang Min had a ferocious effort saved and Oh Jangeuns overhead kick from the resulting corner whizzed just over the crossbar.

Four minutes after and Ki Hun also had an effort fly over after he beat two Sydney defender with a run cutting back inside.

Suwon continued pushing with their one man advantage, only briefly halted by occasional Sydney attacks. The home side looked tired and struggled to effectively counter-attack after withstanding long periods of pressure and sitting very deep.

The Sky Blues often found themselves surrounded by Bluewing defenders as they kept a well structured defence and offered limited space for Sydney to exploit.

Sydney signalled its intentions with the inclusion of Mark Bridge for Moriyasu and despite being a man down the home side weren-t going to accept a draw or sit back and allow Suwon to dominate.

Sydney began to push on and Stuart Musialik emphasised the change in direction with a volleyed effort but failed to hit the target.

Both sides were eager for the points and Suwon almost took all three when Croatian defender Mato Neretljak struck his sweetly hit free-kick just wide.

Moments later it was Sydney with an effort going wide as Keller looked to snatch the winner.

Sydney attacked with will and determination in the closing minutes as the loyal home supporters urged their team to snatch a win. Bridge forced a nervous save in the 92nd minute that had the fans on their feet, but Sungryong did well to stop the shot and the referee called time.

Match Detail:

Sydney FC: 0 Suwon Samsung Bluewings FC: 0

Sydney FC line-up: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL (5. Andrew DURANTE 81'), 3. Stephan KELLER, 6. Hirofumi MORIYASU (19. Mark BRIDGE 77'), 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. Bruno CAZARINE, 10. Nick CARLE, 14. David WILLIAMS (24. Dimitri PETRATOS 70-), 15. Terry McFLYNN, 17. Matthew JURMAN, 21. Scott JAMIESON.

Substitutes Not Used: 12. Shannon COLE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 23. Rhyan GRANT, 26. Joel CHIANESE.

Yellow Cards: Nil. Red Cards: 15. Terry McFLYNN 33'. Goals: Nil.

Suwon Samsung Bluewings FC line-up: 1. Sung Ryong JUNG, 2. Mato NERETLJAK, 3. Sang Min YANG, 6. Yong Rae LEE, 8. Sang Ho LEE (22. Seung Jea WOO 62-), 9. Jang Eun OH, 10. Sung Kuk CHOI (c) (29. Hee Ju KWAK 78'), 14. Beom Seok OH, 18. Jong Jin PARK (12. Hyun Jin LEE 46-), 24. Jae Won HWANG, 26. Ki Hun YEOM.

Substitutes Not Used: 7. Wando DA COSTA SILVA, 11. BERGSON, 21. Dae Hwan KIM (gk), 33. Jong Sung LEE.

Yellow Cards: 8. Sang Ho LEE 33-, 2. Mato NERETLJAK 38-. Red Cards: Nil. Goals: Nil.

Referee: Abdul Mailk Abdul Bashir (Singapore). Crowd: 7 095 at the Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney.

*The Sky Blues were originally scheduled to play the Antlers in Kashima on Wednesday 16 March however following the devastating earthquake and tsunami, the match was postponed and rescheduled to the 10th of May. The away match was moved from the 10th of May to the 13th of April.