Sky Blues Fall Cruelly To Late Strike

Sydney FC 0 def. by Kawasaki Frontale 1 (Saito 83’)

A late goal from Manabu Saito has undone a spirited performance from Sydney FC as they were defeated 1-0 this evening in their AFC Champions League clash against Kawasaki Frontale.

1
The Sky Blues' starting XI against Kawasaki.

Moments That Mattered:

  1. Brosque Chance 8' - Grant swings over a ball from the right and it's met by the head of Brosque but the Sydney FC skipper's attempt is saved by the Kawasaki keeper.
  2. Damiao Miss 12’ – The Sky Blues dominated possession early but it was the home side with the first real chance, as Damiao’s shot from the edge of the box was struck low but just wide.
  3. Redmayne Save 20’ – It’s the Brazilian striker again for Kawasaki who is causing some trouble, but a lovely fingertips save from the Sydney FC shot-stopper kept the match at level pegging.
  4. Zullo Run 32’ – Ninkovic and Zullo connect brilliantly down the left flank and it finds the latter inside the area after a nice run, but his ball into the centre of the box is fended away by the Kawasaki keeper.
  5. Redmayne Save 59’ – A lovely looped volley from Morita outside the area is stopped by an even better save from a full-stretch Redmayne, who continues to keep the Sky Blues in the match as it approaches the hour mark.
  6. Redders…Again 75’ – The home side continued to mount pressure as the clock got closer to 90, but another great save from the ultra-impressive Redders and a poor follow up shot from Kobayashi kept scores level with quarter of an hour remaining.
  7. Saito Winner 83’ – It was a scrappy goal but Kawasaki finally find the back of the net as Manabu Saito’s shot into the bottom right corner was enough to secure them the victory.
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Andrew Redmayne makes a save.

A hearty defensive effort from Sydney FC wasn’t enough as they were defeated 1-0 in the AFC Champions League tonight by Kawasaki Frontale after a late winner from substitute Manabu Saito.

The first half was full of excitement and produced chances for both sides to take the lead heading into the break, as the Sky Blues and Kawasaki pushed forward and looked to bring  their creative players into the contest.

Michael Zullo and Milos Ninkovic looked to combine for the Sky Blues first goal of the match but were denied by the home side’s goalkeeper just after the half-hour mark, meaning both sides would go into the sheds without a goal despite opportunities aplenty.

It was all about defence for Sydney FC for the majority of the second half as the home side began to take full control and create a plethora of goalscoring opportunities, but the Sky Blues were more than up to the task and defused all the chances Kawasaki created.

Andrew Redmayne was at his absolute best and continued to deny the home side for the most of the 90 minutes, highlighted by an amazing full-stretch save of Hidemasa Morita’s looped volley just before the hour mark.

Unfortunately the keeper’s efforts were undone in the 83rd minute, as a low shot from Manabu Saito gave Kawasaki Frontale the win after having the weight of possession in the second stanza.

Sydney FC will now travel back to Australia for this Sunday night’s Hyundai A-League clash with Melbourne City at Leichhardt Oval, before returning to AFC Champions League football on the 10th April at Jubilee Stadium.

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Paulo Retre takes on the Kawasaki defence.

What They Said:

Midfielder Brandon O’Neill: “It’s a sloppy goal to concede late but there’s plenty of positives to take from it. They’re a great side and it was a really good learning experience for us, especially with a few of our young guys out there. We nearly got there but now we just have to regroup and look forward to our next match.

“We’ve still got four winnable games, especially those ones at home, so if we can pick up as many points as we can on the road anything can happen. We almost got a very valuable point away from home but we just have to regroup now.”

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Adam Le Fondre contests and aerial ball.

Sydney FC: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK) 3. Ben WARLAND 4. Alex WILKINSON 7. Michael ZULLO 8. Paulo RETRE (31. Luke IVANOVIC 75’) 9. Adam LE FONDRE 10. Milos NINKOVIC 13. Brandon O’NEILL 14. Alex BROSQUE © (16. Reza GHOOCHANNEJHAD 67’) 17. Anthony CACERES 23. Rhyan GRANT

SUBS NOT USED: 2. Aaron CALVER 18. Jacob TRATT 20. Alex CISAK (GK) 24. Cam DEVLIN

Yellow Cards: None.

Red Cards: None.

Kawasaki Frontale: 1. Jung SUNG-RYONG (GK) 2. Kyohei NOBORIZATO 3. Tatsuki NARA 5. Shogo TANIGUCHI 6. Hidemasa MORITA (27. Yuto SUZUKI 61’) 9. Leandro DAMIAO (20. Kei CHINEN 64’) 11. Yu KOBAYASHI © 14. Kengo NAKAMURA 16. Tatsuya HASEGAWA (19. Manabu SAITO 80’) 25. Ao TANAKA 41. Akihiro IENAGA

SUBS NOT USED: 7. Shintaro KURUMUYA 21. Shota ARAI (GK) 22. Hokuto SHIMODA 34. Kazuya YAMAMURA

Yellow Cards: None.

Red Cards: None.

Ground: Todoroki Athletics Stadium

Attendance: 11,278

Referee: Valentin Kovalenko