Persik Kediri 2 Sydney FC 1

Sydney FC slid to its first loss under Branko Culina when Persik Kediri made the most of Ruben Zadkovich's dismissal to win the AFC Champions League Group E game 2-1 at Manahan Stadium.

Sydney FC slid to its first loss under Branko Culina when Persik Kediri made the most of Ruben Zadkovich's dismissal to win the AFC Champions League Group E game 2-1 at Manahan Stadium.

Sydney FC bounced back from almost conceding a goal inside the first 40 seconds to take the lead in the eighth minute. Steve Corica stroked the ball home from five yards out after David Zdrilic and David Carney had combined to good effect.

Zadkovich, Sydney FC's makeshift right back, collected the first of his two yellow cards ten minutes later when he committed a foul on Persik Kediri midfielder Ronald Fagundez.

Alex Brosque and Iain Fyfe went close to increasing Sydney FC's advantage before, against the run of play, Persik Kediri equalised midway through the opening period. A quick free kick released Erol Iba on the home team's left wing and his excellent cross was headed past the outstretched fingers of Clint Bolton by Aris Budi Prasetiya.

Sydney FC had an appeal for a penalty turned down on the half-hour mark when Brosque went tumbling in the box. Seven minutes later and Brosque was at the centre of affairs again, this time using his head to set up a great chance that Zdrilic could not convert.

It was looking as if it was not going to be Sydney FC's day and two incidents at the end of the first half served to strengthen those feelings. First, Brosque and Zdrilic had point-blank efforts saved by Persik Kediri goalkeeper Kurnia Sandy and then Carney was cautioned for kicking the ball away following an offside decision, a yellow card that rules him out of the reverse fixture at Parramatta Stadium on April 25.

Culina made a tactical switch for the second period, moving Zadkovich to left back and Fyfe to right back, and it was Zadkovich who engineered the first clear-cut opportunity after the break. The youngster's cross from the byline found the head of Brosque and it took a superb save from Sandy to stop Sydney FC regaining the lead. But Zadkovich's game was about to end and leave his team one man down in stifling conditions.

Sydney FC were reduced to ten men with 30 minutes remaining when Zadkovich caught the heels of Persik Kediri midfielder Bertha Yuana Putra right under the nose of the referee. Culina substituted Terry McFlynn for Adam Casey and the visiting team, despite its numerical disadvantage, created a glorious chance to edge in front only for Carney, no more than a few yards from goal, to step on the ball at the vital moment.

Persik Kediri made Sydney FC pay for its profligacy seconds later. The Indonesian side broke quickly and worked the ball over to unmarked substitute Budi Sudarsono, whose low shot found its way into the back of the net to spark wild celebrations in the stands and on the home team's bench. Sudarsono picked up a yellow card for taking off his jersey but the caution was not enough to wipe the beaming smile off his face.

Culina rang the changes in the latter stages, including withdrawing Carney and handing Nikolas Tsattalios his competitive debut, but Sydney FC did not generate any more real scoring opportunities as both teams ran out of steam on the saturated pitch.

Persik Kediri 2 (Aris Budi Prasetiya 25', Budi Sudarsono 70') Sydney FC 1 (Steve Corica 8') Date: Thursday, April 12, 2007 Venue: Manahan Stadium, Solo City Referee: Abdulla Mohamed Balideh (Qatar) Crowd: 15,000

Persik Kediri: 1. Kurnia SANDY (gk), 3. Erol IBA (2. Yohanes YANTARA 86'), 4. Aris INDARTO (captain (23. Restu Setyo KARTIKO 64')), 6. ZAINURI, 7. Bertha Yuana PUTRA (13. Budi SUDARSONO 70'), 10. Christian GONZALEZ, 12. HARIANTO, 18. Aris Budi PRASETIYA, 25. Khusnul Yuli KURNIAWAN, 28. Ronald FAGUNDEZ, 30 Danillo FERNANDO.

Substitutes not used: 27. WAHYDU (gk), 8. Jefri Dwi HADI, 17. Dwi Prio UTOMO.

Yellow cards: Zainuri 30', Danillo Fernando 66'.

Sydney FC: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Iain FYFE, 4. Mark RUDAN (captain), 6. Ufuk TALAY, 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9. David ZDRILIC (19. Luka GLAVAS 74'), 10. Steve CORICA, 11. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 12. David CARNEY (3. Nikolas TSATTALIOS 84'), 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry McFLYNN (18. Adam CASEY 65').

Substitutes not used: 20. Dean BOUNZANIS (gk), 5. Noel SPENCER.

Yellow cards: Ruben Zadkovich 18', David Carney 45'

Red cards: Ruben Zadkovich 61'.