Roar claim 1-0 win over Sydney FC

Defending Hyundai A-League Champions Sydney FC went down 1-0 to league leaders Brisbane Roar in a match that lived up to the old football cliche of a game of two halves.

Defending Hyundai A-League Champions Sydney FC went down 1-0 to league leaders Brisbane Roar in a match that lived up to the old football cliche of a game of two halves.

A 41st minute strike from Kosta Barbarouses sealed victory for the Roar in a first half that saw Brisbane dominate their southern rivals. Despite a second half turnaround that saw Sydney administer the lion's share of pressure, the Sky Blues were unable to find the back of the net and succumbed to their second successive defeat.

Sydney FC have just two days to recover before heading north to take on the North Queensland Fury at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Wednesday night.

"In the first half we didn't keep possession well enough, especially against a team like Roar who like to keep possession," said Sydney FC captain Terry McFlynn.

"That was what we did a lot better in the second half - kept the ball a lot more, created a few chances but in the end it wasn't enough. We defended well but we just didn't keep possession enough."

Brisbane came out all guns blazing in the opening 45 as Sydney struggled to maintain any substantial possession, while the Roar moved the ball at will across Sydney's flanks and into the penalty area.

Effective defending from the likes of Stephan Keller, Hayden Foxe and Hirofumi Moriyasu did well to prevent Brisbane from capitalising on more than a few occasions.

However, the Sky Blues were consistently outmatched in midfield, seeing the likes of Mitchell Nichols, Kosta Barbarouses, Jean Carlos Solorzano and Thomas Broich switching the ball at will and constantly probing Sydney's backline to rack up 68% possesion in the first half.

Ivan Necevski did well to parry clear several venomous Brisbane shots, but the breakthrough finally came for the Roar when Solorzano flicked a peach of a through-ball into Sydney's area, allowing Barbarouses to bury a tight shot across the face of Necevski for a thoroughly deserved lead.

Sydney coach Viteslav Lavicka subsequently made two changes for the second half, bringing on Dimitri Petratos for Brendan Gan, and Alex Brosque in place of Terry Antonis.

"We made the two substitutions, we told the players to stay positive, work hard and try to change the game," Lavicka said. "I think in the second half we definitely improved, we played better quality in attack, we created half chances, some chances, but we didn-t score the goal."

"Full credit to the (Sydney) players, especially those that weren-t 100% fit like Bruno Cazarine coming back after more than 3 weeks injury, and Alex Brosque was 75% fit but he showed strong character, and the other boys showed character too. But we need the (finishing) product," Lavicka said.

Sydney did look like a different side in the second half, dominating the opening 20 minutes. Petratos was unlucky not to score from a shot courtesy of an inviting layoff from Brosque, while Shannon Cole also came close to finding the net.

Despite turning the tables- possession-wise Sydney were unable to cash in on their forays into the Roar's half, despite a committed performance from Cazarine and young Petratos who defended well and took part in several promising attacks.

But Sydney's standout performer was goalkeeper Ivan Necevski who pulled off a series of crucial diving saves, notably denying two late efforts from Brisbane that could have easily closed out the match. The Sky Blues will be without key defender Hayden Foxe after he picked up a fifth yellow card in the final minutes.

"We've got strong characters in the group, we never give up. We're still within touching distance of the finals and the good thing about football is there is always a game quick and fast to get three points and luckily for us that's this Wednesday night, so we'll be focussing on getting the three points up there," McFlynn said.

Match Details:

Sydney FC: 0 Brisbane Roar FC: 1 (Kosta BARBAROUSES 41-)

Sydney FC squad: 3. Stephan KELLER, 5. Hayden FOXE, 6. Hirofumi MORIYASU, 7. Brendan GAN (24. Dimitri PETRATOS 46-), 9. Bruno CAZARINE(2. Sebastian RYALL 80-), 12. Shannon COLE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN (c), 16. Terry ANTONIS (14. Alex BROSQUE 46-), 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN,

Substitutes not used: 1. Liam REDDY (gk) Yellow cards: Shannon COLE (25-), Hayden FOXE (90-) Red cards: Nil

Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH, 3. Luke DEVERE, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 9. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO (14. Rocky VISCONTE 83-), 15. Matt McKAY (c) 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Milan SUSAK

Substitutes not used: 18. Luke BRATTAN, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 21. James MEYER Yellow cards: Matt SMITH (49-) Red cards: Nil

Referee: Jarred GILLETT Crowd: 7554 at Sydney Football Stadium.