Sydney FC's Foxtel National Youth League side stunned the nation when they defeated the Vietnam U19 side 2-1 in their International Newspaper Cup group match on Thursday, in Can Tho, Vietnam.
The Vietnam side which recently defeated the Young Socceroos and has the backing of the Arsenal FC holds celebrity status in their home country, however they didn't count on a spirited Sky Blues outfit determined to fight to the end in a must win game if they were to be any chance of progressing to the semi final stages.
The opening 15 minutes were evenly balanced with both sides testing each other out. Vietnam were the first to threaten when a close range shot was well saved by Sydney keeper, Andrew Depta, before Sydney FC fired back with an Anthony Tomelic free kick that flew across the face of the Vietnam goal.
Big striker George Blackwood was proving a handful for the Vietnam back line and his low shot on target was well saved by the Vietnam custodian however neither side could break the deadlock and the teams headed to the break locked at 0-0.
With a draw not enough for the Sky Blues they pressed early from the restart and were rewarded in the 47th minute when another Tomelic free kick into the box was flicked on by Blackwood to the feet of Lachlan Scott to slam home the opener for a 1-0 lead.
The joy was short lived as Vietnam equalised just nine minutes later as the ball was slipped in behind the defence and slotted passed the diving Andrew Depta by the home side to the delight of the capacity crowd of 20,000.
With the clock ticking down Sydney FC kept pushing forward searching for the winner and it eventually came in the 86th minute as ball was played through by Dylan Caton.
Substitute, Bai Antoniou, pressured the Vietnam centre back who tried to head the ball back to his keeper but only managed to head the ball into his own net for a 2-1 Sydney lead.
With an inexplicable 7 minutes of added time given by the officials it was a backs to the wall effort for the Sydney FC players. A second yellow card to fullback Darcy Madden in the 94th minute resulted in a red card and Sydney were down to ten men, however, they fought to the final whistle for a momentous victory.
The result left all three teams in the group (Malaysia, Vietnam and Sydney FC) on equal points, equal goals for and against as well as an equal goal difference with each side having recorded a 2-1 win.
It was a spirited effort by the young Sydney boys as half the team had been struck down with stomach viruses during the tournament leaving several players unable to take the field.
The tournament rules then called for a drawing of lots to determine which two teams would progress to the semi finals.
Lady Luck did not smile on the Sky Blues as first Malaysia drew lot # 1 placing them top of the group and then Sydney FC drew lot # 3 which placed them third while Vietnam received the final lot # 2 and claimed second place in the group.
"Football can be a cruel game sometimes" said Head Coach, Steve Corica. "I was very proud of the boys. They followed the game plan and were rewarded with the win."
"Sadly the draw didn't go our way but when you consider we are a club side beating national teams, it's a remarkable achievement by the players."
Captain on the night Dylan Caton was selected as the MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the match.
Sydney FC now need to bounce back from the disappointment of missing the semi finals when they face Singapore for the 5-6 place play off on Saturday, 25th October at Can Tho Stadium 7.30pm AEDT kick off.