Gutsy Young Sky Blues Down Hakoah

Header photo by Football NSW

Sydney FC made it back-to-back victories for the first time this season with a gutsy 1-0 win against Hakoah Sydney City East on Saturday at Lambert Park.

The victory caps off a massive week for the club with many players doubling up after earning AFC Asian Champions League debuts on Wednesday.

Benjamin Koop’s 32nd minute strike was the difference in a hard fought contest as the Young Sky Blues claimed a valuable three points.

Hakoah did everything but put the ball into the back of the net in another frustrating display for the Eastern Suburbs side which leaves the rooted to the bottom of the table after 12 rounds.

Aiming to rebound from last week’s defeat, Hakoah Sydney City East started the contest on the front foot with a header from James Combes saved within the first 60 seconds.

The visitors held most of the possession in the opening stanza helped by new recruit and former Hyundai A-League star Pedj Bojic.

Hakoah had a further pair of headers denied as they tried to strike the first blow.

Amaury Gauthier had shot on goal angle wide in a first half followed by a line drive from Oliver Green which was safely gathered by Sydney FC custodian Thomas Heward-Belle.

Right on the half hour mark, Sydney FC struck a gut punch.

The Sky Blues were on the back foot but sprung free as Jerry Skotadis slipped into the box and fired at the keeper before Koop tapped home the rebound.

Hakoah pushed forward after the goal getting themselves into prime positions to equalize but besides a late chance to Gauthier, Sydney FC held firm to take their 1-0 lead into the break.

Jerry Skotadis on the ball
Jerry Skotadis in action. Photo by Football NSW

The visitors started the second half fast. Gauthier and Shohei Okuno tried to work Heward-Belle but both efforts were comfortably seen wide.

Okuno slid a further effort wide of the post on the hour mark as frustration grew for Hakoah.

Sydney FC tried to hit their opponents on the break, defender Harry Van Der Saag tried to find an opening before he laid it off to Luke Ivanovic who was unable to make the most of the chance.

Robert Ezekiel almost became the hero for Hakoah Sydney City East. The attacker broke into the box before he bent an effort inches wide of the left-hand post.

Set pieces looked to be the best route back into the contest for Hakoah.

Bojic charged into the box for a corner late in the contest and while the veteran got solid contact he was denied by the hand of Heward-Belle.

Benjamin Koop almost put the contest to bed for Sydney FC. The striker took advantage of a defender slipping over, created space then unleashed a wicked shot that flew past Norval’s post.

The game started to open up, Hakoah racked up the corners which were repelled with ease by the Sky Blues.

It created a counter chance which was spurned by Ivanovic with an off target shot.

Frustration continued to mount for Hakoah Sydney City East as they pushed forward into the final moments of the contest.

They couldn’t find a final chance and Sydney FC held on for the win.

Sydney FC boss Jimmy van Weeren was proud of the effort displayed by his players.

“That was impressive. Some of the boys have played three big games and had heavy legs. They stuck together and got the result tonight,” he said.

“It’s always good to see the team defend well around the box and get the result. Also good for them to string some results together especially with how professionally they train and prepare.”

Hakoah Sydney City East coach Gavin Rae was once again burdened by his side’s inability to find the back of the net.

“I thought we were dominant and had a lot of the ball but couldn’t find the back of the net. It is something that has been our downfall this year. Copped a soft goal and paid the ultimate price,” he said.

“I thought Pedj Bojic was outstanding for us. He looked next level and remained composed.

“Overall, I thought the side looked outstanding but we need to find results with ten games to go.”

Match Stats

Sydney FC 1 (Koop ‘32)

Hakoah Sydney City East 0

Saturday 25 May 2019

Lambert Park, Leichhardt

Referee: Katie Patterson

Assistant Referees: Andrej Gieu & Maggie Price

Fourth Official: Nick Gongolidis

Sydney FC: 1. HEWARD-BELLE Thomas, 3. VAN MEURS Benjamin, 5. SCIBILIO Patrick, 6. VAN DER SAAG Harry, 7. SKOTADIS Jerry, 8. KING Joel, 9. LAMBERTON Hamish (12. TILIO ‘65), 11. IVANOVIC Luke (17. TALBOT ‘90), 15. TEAGUE Ryan, 18. KOOP Benjamin, 24. HOLLMAN Jake (16. BONANNI ‘83)

Substitutes not used: 23. MCCARTHY Harry, 30. PAVLESIC Adam

Yellow cards: Van Der Saag, Hollman

Red cards: nil

Hakoah Sydney City East: 1. NORVAL Ryan, 3. COMBES James (28. SOUFI ‘82), 4. WALKER Bradley (2. SHADDOCK ‘27), 8. GREEN Oliver, 9. OKUNO Shohei, 11. GREEN Jack, 13. EZEKIEL Robert, 15. BOJIC Predrag, 17. JONES Harry, 24. GAUTHIER Amauri, 60. NOIJI Takayuki (7. SAYAN ‘74)

Substitutes not used: 6. COX Dominic, 25. EPHRAIM Max

Yellow cards: Bojic

Red cards: nil

Player Ratings

3: Benjamin Koop (SFC)

2: Thomas Heward-Belle (SFC)

1: Predrag Bojic (HSCE)