Sydney Derby Ends In Draw

Ten man Sydney FC ground out a battling 1-1 draw to edge a step closer to the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.

Ten man Sydney FC ground out a battling 1-1 draw to edge a step closer to the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.

The Sky Blues took the lead thanks to another solo effort from Italian striker Alessandro Del Piero but were pegged back by a Shannon Cole free kick, after captain Brett Emerton had been given a straight red card for a challenge on the former Sydney full back.

Sydney made one change to the team that drew with Melbourne Victory last weekend with Socceroos captain Lucas Neill coming into the side and Adam Griffiths dropping to the bench.

In an electrifying atmosphere the Sky Blues settled in quickly and produced the first chance in the tenth minute. A corner from the left wing from Del Piero reached the head of Kresinger in his own box, but he could only succeed in nodding the ball across his six yard line to the on-rushing Rhyan Grant who blasted over from a tight angle.

Sydney were dominating the opening stages and Del Piero tested Covic in the Wanderers goal with a shot from a left wing free kick which he tipped over the bar in the 19th minute.

The Wanderers best chance came next when Emerton lost the ball in midfield to Kresinger. He played it to Appiah Kubi who fed Ono. The Japanese marquee crossed to Bridge but he mis-hit his shot from 12 yards and the ball went well wide.

Sydney took a deserved lead after 33 minutes and it was their Italian marquee Alessandro Del Piero who did the damage. Seemingly under no pressure, Wanderers skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley gave the ball straight to the World Cup winner while playing the ball out of defence. Del Piero wasted no time in bearing down on goal, turning La Rocca one way and then the other before drilling a left footed shot past Covic.

The Wanderers were almost level within a couple of minutes when Bridge rode a couple of challenges on the edge of the box and after a scramble in front of goal Necevski was able to collect the ball.

Bridge had an even better chance moments later when Ono-s miscued shot fell to him wide on the left. However with only Necevski to beat, the striker-s low effort was superbly deflected past his left hand post by the keeper to keep Sydney in the ascendency at half time.

Sydney made one change in the second half with Lucas Neill coming off with a recurrence of a calf injury, and Adam Griffiths renewing his partnership with Tiago at the heart of defence.

The hosts needed to come out and had an early opportunity when Appiah Kubi got to the byline and pulled the ball back to Ono whose effort on goal was nudged wide by Adam Griffiths.

The Sky Blues task got harder just before the hour mark when captain Brett Emerton was given a straight red card. As Sydney looked to hit their neighbours on the break the ball reached the FC skipper whose touch let the ball run away slightly. As he lunged towards a 50/50 challenge with former Sydney defender Shannon Cole he caught his ex-teammate on the foot. Referee Kris Griffiths Jones deemed that sufficient to send the midfielder for an early bath.

With ten men Sydney sat back and looked to stay solid. Haliti almost penetrated that with a left foot shot which Necevski did well to save at his near post.

Sydney-s resolve didn-t last for long however as Wanderers drew level. Kresinger threw himself to the floor dramatically after an innocuous looking challenge from Adam Griffiths on the edge of the box. From the resulting free kick Shannon Cole curled the ball around the wall and into the right hand corner of Necevski-s net.

Chianese and Yau replaced Joel Griffiths and Abbas late in the half to give the Sky Blues some fresh legs as Haliti and Trifiro both had chances saved by Necevski.

As the Wanderers pushed on looking for the winner it was the Sky Blues who arguably had the best chance to win it with five minutes remaining. Yau received the ball on the left and his pace took him past the full back and into the box. He pulled the ball back to Chianese who took a touch and hit a shot from 12 yards which was blocked by the head of the last man Cole.

With the scores level, the teams became level in injury time when La Rocca was sent off for an outrageous elbow in the face of Terry Antonis. Physio Stan Ivancic was called on to bandage the 19-year old-s head and stem the flow of blood.

That was the last action of the match as the referee blew time from the resulting free-kick to leave Sydney needing a win in the final match in Brisbane on Thursday to guarantee their Finals slot.

Sydney FC 1 (Del Piero 33-) drew w. Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Cole 69-)

Parramatta Stadium

Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones

SYDNEY FC: 1 Ivan NECEVSKI, 2. Seb RYALL,7. Brett EMERTON (C), 10. Alessandro DEL PIERO, 13. Tiago CALVANO, 22. Ali ABBAS (21. Yairo YAU 76-), 23. Rhyan GRANT, 26. Peter TRIANTIS, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 29. Joel GRIFFITHS (16. Joel CHIANESE 65-), 32. Lucas NEILL (8. Adam GRIFFITHS 45-).

Substitute not used: 20. Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK).

Yellow Cards: 26. Peter TRIANTIS 26-, 13. Tiago CALVANO , 23. Rhyan GRANT 43-, 7. Brett EMERTON 51-, 29. Joel GRIFFITHS 57-, 8. Adam GRIFFITHS 80-

Red Cards: 7. Brett EMERTON (C) 57-,

WEST SYDNEY WANDERERS: 1. Ante COVIC, 2. Shannon COLE, 3. Adam D-APUZZO (11. Tarek ELRICH 45-), 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 8. Mateo POLJAK, 9. Dino KRESINGER, 14. Kwabena APPIAH KUBI (16. Rocco VISCONTE 74-) , 18. Iacopo LA ROCCA, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 21. Shinji ONO (7. Labinot HALITI 55-), 23. Jason TRIFIRO.

Substitutes not used: 30. Carlos SALIADARRE (GK),

Yellow Cards: 2. Shannon COLE 19-, 14. Kwabena APPIAH KUBI 63-

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