Guts gets Sydney FC glory, beat Shanghai 3-2

A glorious injury time volley from Mark Bridge delivered Sydney an exhilarating 3-2 win over Shanghai Shenhua to keep their 2011 AFC Champions League hopes alive at Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai on Tuesday night.

A glorious injury time volley from Mark Bridge delivered Sydney an exhilarating 3-2 win over Shanghai Shenhua to keep their 2011 AFC Champions League hopes alive at Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai on Tuesday night.

Sydney FC led for just two minutes and came from behind twice in a courageous performance that sees the Sky Blues move just one point behind Kashima and Suwon with away games against both the leaders still to come.

Bruno Cazarine scored twice before Mark Bridge won the match in the 92nd minute, capping off one of the clubs greatest ever victories.

“We are all so happy after that win and that performance. We showed excellent character after coming from being a goal twice. It was a special performance and I am so proud of our team,” coach Vitezslav Lavicka said.

“They are a very good team. We knew that and they showed that by going ahead twice but we fought hard. Our second half performance was one of true character. “We punished the Shanghai defence three times. We are all very happy right now. We are still alive.”

Sydney FC next match is against the Suwon Samsung Bluewings at the Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon Tuesday 3 May.

It was an ideal ending for the Sydney FC who fell behind through a quick free-kick in the 8th minute and an unfortunate own goal not long after the break.

Terry McFlynn, who turned in one the best performances of his life, and Nicky Carle returned for the Sky Blues and played pivotal roles in the come-from-behind victory.

Shanghai showed a degree of comfort playing at home and controlled the match early. Danger man Riascos and Jiang Jiajun both had chances miss the target before Jaijun was released on goal by an intelligently placed quick free-kick which caught Sydney napping. The alert midfielder latched onto the through ball and blasted his shot past Liam Reddy.

The early strike was the perfect start for Shanghai but, much like in the match at the Sydney Football Stadium between these two teams, the goal seemed to place fear in the Chinese sides play as they sat deeper and became sloppy in possession. Sydney snatched at the opportunity to advance on the Shenhua goal but struggled to create a chance beyond three relatively harmless corners and a Hiro Moriyasu shot blocked.

It was this defensive stronghold that slowed the tempo of the match as Sydney patiently looked for an opening. A Scott Jamieson thirty-yard attempt on the half hour mark looked promising but was well dealt with by Qiu Shengjiong. Minutes later and it was two more defenders worrying Shanghai when Matt Jurman met Shannon Cole-s dangerous free-kick. Fortunately for the home-side the departing center back failed to keep his header down.

The missed chances didn-t dent the visitors- spirit, and, on the stroke of half-time, they were rewarded for their hard work. After five or six attacks in a row forming and just as quickly ending down the right wing Sydney caught out the Shanghai defence when Carle threaded a pass through to Cazarine. Despite a half with no chances prevailing for Cazarine he showed no signs of rustiness as he placed his finish into the far top corner with ease and elegance.

It was a life-line that Sydney needed and allowed them to begin the second-half on even terms. But, on 52 minutes, the visitors found themselves victim to a disastrous piece of bad luck. Scott Jamieson, trying to clear a threatening cross, only managed to head the ball into his own net after getting in front of the free man at the far post.

It was desperately unlucky for the Sky Blues but just seven minutes later Sydney-s fighting spirit resurfaced as they equalised for the second time. It was again Cazarine who found the net when he controlled Bridge-s headed pass with his chest before chipping the goalkeeper with tremendous composure and skill. The goal emphasised Sydney-s hunger to excel in Asia-s premium competition, displaying superb creativity and quick decision making that left the Asian Champions League veterans in their shadow.

Shanghai were eager to retain their lead and capture all three points - a feat that would see them keep pace with Kashima and Suwon and subsequently end Sydney-s Champions League campaign - and Dai Lin-s first-time distance shot in the 72nd minute was on target before being deflected wide.

But, the visitors weren-t concerned with home-crowd advantage as they themselves pushed on and may have taken the lead just minutes later if Jurman could have directed his awkward far-post header on target.

Neither side was willing to accept the draw and Sydney caught a lucky break when clinical striker Riascos blasted over after turning and weaving three times in the area. Last season-s Chinese Super League top scorer was uncharacteristically wasteful with a golden chance to at least hit the target with only eight minutes remaining.

It was a missed chance that ended up hurting Shanghai in the 92nd minute when Sydney took the lead for the first time through a magnificent Bridge volley from the edge of the area. Vitezslav Lavicka displayed his intent by replacing Cole with Kofi Danning and the zippy winger provided the cross that lead to Dimitiri Petratos-s knock-down for Bridge. The cracking finish was enough for Sydney to take home three points and with it their Asian Champions League hopes still alive.

Match Detail:

Shanghai Shenhua FC: 2 (JIAJUN 18', JAMIESON 52' OG) Sydney FC: 3 (CAZARINE 45+2', 60', BRIDGE 90+3')

Shanghai Shenhua FC line-up: 22. QIU Shengjiong (gk), 2. XIONG Fei, 3. XIN Feng, 5. DAI Lin (c), 8. RIASCOS Barahona Duvier Orlando, 9. Luis SALMERON (28. QI Feng 80'), 10. JIANG Kun, 16. WEN Huyi, 18. Jiang JIAJUN (4. Lin WANG 63'), 20. WU Xi (28. Yundung CAO 80'), 21. Perez CASTRO.

Substitutes Not Used: 1. Dalei WANG (gk), 24. Yang WANG, 29. QIU Tianyi, 36. ZHENG Wei.

Yellow Cards: 16. WEN Huyi 10', 9. Luis SALMERON 38'. Red Cards: Nil. Goals: 18. Jiang JIAJUN 8', 21. Scott JAMIESON 52' OG.

Sydney FC line-up: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 5. Andrew DURANTE, 6. Hirofumi MORIYASU (23. Rhyan GRANT 61'), 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. Bruno CAZARINE, 10. Nick CARLE (24. Dimitri PETRATOS 75'), 12. Shannon COLE (11. Kofi DANNING 89'), 15. Terry MCFLYNN (c), 17. Matthew JURMAN, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 21. Scott JAMIESON.

Substitutes Not Used: 2. Sebastian RYALL, 7. Brendan GAN, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 26. Joel CHIANESE.

Yellow Cards: 5. Andrew DURANTE 18', 10. Nick CARLE 26' , 15. Terry MCFLYNN 77'. Red Cards: Nil. Goals: 9. Bruno CAZARINE 45+1', 59', 19. Mark BRIDGE 90+3'.

Referee: SUBKHIDDIN MOHD SALLEH (MALAYSIA) Crowd: 10 215 at Hongkou Stadium, Shanghai, China.