Sydney FC’s PlayStation 4 NPL 2 NSW Men's first grade played sealed the Premiership with an exhilarating 4-4 draw with Western Sydney Wanderers at Popondetta Park on Sunday.
The Wanderers needed a six goal victory to snatch the Premiers title from the Sky Blues, however it was Sydney FC that threw down the gauntlet early, with Charles Lokolingoy opened the scoring after just forty seconds.
A delightful ball played through by Chris Arditti found Lokolingoy in full flight and the big striker fended off the Wanderers centre back to smash home his 24th goal of the campaign and give Sydney FC a 1-0 lead.
Arditti almost teed up Lokolingoy again after 17 minutes with a clever run into the penalty area but his final pass was cleared just as the forward was lining up to hit the target. The missed opportunity proved costly as only a few minutes later former Sydney FC youth player Kyle Cimenti scored against the run of play to level the scores at 1-1.
Sydney FC then spurned two excellent chances in the 30th and 33rd minute as first, Timotheou set up Lokolingnoy only to see his shot hit side netting from close range, followed by Juan Zapata hitting the base of the post with an effort after pouncing on a loose ball in the box.
The Wanderers found a way back into the game as they took the lead in the 38th minute when Keanu Baccus flicked in a header from a set piece to give the home side a 2-1 advantage going into half time.
Sydney FC didn't have to wait long after the break to restore parity, as Lokolingoy was played in by Zapata in the 54th minute and the centre forward slammed the ball under the onrushing keeper for 2-2.
Zapata then turned goal scorer less than a minute later as William Mutch outpaced his fullback on the right and laid the ball to Zapata to slot home for 3-2 to the Sky Blues.
With 73 minutes played, Cimenti struck again for the Wanderers with a close range tap in to level the scores again at 3-3.
The amazing goal-fest continued when in the 81st minute Zapata helped himself to a brace as he lifted the ball over Mat Symes to edge Sydney FC in front 4-3 but there was one more twisted in the tale as Wanderers found a late equaliser through Mathew Lecce to complete the eight goal thriller at 4-4.
The point gained from the result ensured the Sky Blues secured the NPL2 Premiership finishing three points ahead of their cross town rivals.
It wrapped up an amazing season for Head Coach, Rob Stanton, who not only coached the 1st grade to the Premiership title but also the Sydney FC Under 20's, who with their 2-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers were also crowned Premiers. The U20’s won the title by a massive 18 points, scoring an amazing 102 goals and conceding only 26 goals in the process.
The results of the two senior teams along with the Under 18's finishing the season as runners up sees Sydney FC take out the Club Championship by 44 points and gain promotion to NPL1 in 2017.
All three Sydney FC sides now enjoy a week off before their semi-finals on Saturday 10 September (Opposition, venues and times are to be confirmed).
Sydney FC 4 (Lokolingoy 1'/54'; Zapata 55'/81') drew Western Sydney Wanderers 4 (Cimenti 21'/73'; Baccus 38'; Lecce 87')
Sydney FC Line Up: Mitchell Evans (GK); Nicola Kuleski; Patrick Flottman; George Timotheou; Brendan Curtis; Daniel Araujo (C); Chris Zuvela (Andreas Agamemnonos 83'); Chris Arditti; William Mutch (Daniel Maskin 63'); Charles Lokolingoy (John Iredale 76'); Juan Zapata
Subs Not Used: Nick Sorras (GK); Matt Green
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