Sydney FC and Melbourne Finish 3-3

Hyundai A-League 2010 Champions Sydney FC began their 2010/11 A-League season with a thrilling 3-3 draw with Melbourne Victory FC at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night.

Hyundai A-League 2010 Champions Sydney FC began their 2010/11 A-League season with a thrilling 3-3 draw with Melbourne Victory FC at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night.

The 2010 Grand Final rematch lived up to all expectations in a seesawing encounter of free-flowing attacking football. The Sky Blues skipped out to a two goal lead before Melbourne bagged three goals in seven minutes to take the lead but a piece of Shannon Cole brilliance in the 85th minute again levelled the scores.

Sydney FC Coach Vitezslav Lavicka said he was happy with the character of his team but said a period where his side lacked concentration proved costly.

“It was a strange game,” Lavicka said. “I think in the first half we controlled the game, but after we scored the second goal we had a bad period. We lost concentration.”

“When we were one goal down we started again to believe and we were able to change the game. In the moments after the game we can be happy for taking part but we have to improve as a team.”

Sydney FC travel to Townsville next week to take on the North Queensland Fury at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday 14 August.

The Sky Blues attacking trio of Nicky Carle, Alex Brosque and Mark Bridge combined beautifully throughout the match creating numerous opportunities for the home side.

Sydney FC had the better of the first half and almost went ahead inside the first five minutes of the game. Off season signing Scott Jamieson, in his 50th Hyundai A-League appearance, whipped in a superb ball into the box for Hayden Foxe who only narrowly headed over the crossbar. Two minutes later the Sky Blues almost broke the deadlock again when Bridge only missed by a whisker after attempting an audacious curling shot with the outside of his boot from 25 yards out.

Melbourne-s first chance came in the 15th minute and proved to be their only meaningful attack of the half. After a Sydney attack broke down the Victory went on the counter attack as Mate Dugandzic played in a dangerous ball for Carlos Hernandez before Stephan Keller crucially intercepted for Sydney.

A Jamieson set piece in the 20th minute caught Melbourne by surprise when he played a short ball to Stuart Musalik. The Sydney midfielders wicked shot from 35 yards looked destined for the top right hand corner before it took deflection from Tom Pondeljiak and went over.

Moments later Foxe had another golden opportunity to open the scoring for Sydney. The veteran defender outjumped his marker on the near post after Jamieson again whipped in a fantastic ball from a corner, but Foxe sent his header wide.

The Sky Blues were to get the goal they so dearly deserved in the first half when Victory captain Kevin Muscat was caught out in possession in the 36th minute. After receiving the ball in his own penalty area he was hounded down by Bridge who stole the ball and played it to Brosque who clinically finished the move with his right foot.

Sydney FC stared the second half in spectacular fashion when they doubled their lead in the 52nd minute. Captain Terry McFlynn headed home after another defensive error from the Victory. Following a miscued header by Adrian Leijer from a Jamieson cross the ball fell to Evan Berger who misjudged the flight of the ball allowing McFlynn to head over the helpless goalkeeper Michael Petkovic.

However it wasn-t long before Melbourne got on the score sheet in fortunate circumstances to begin their comeback. Following a quick free kick by Muscat in the 66th minute, Pondeljiak-s cross found Leigh Broxham who headed onto the foot of defender Sebastian Ryall causing the ball roll agonisingly past goalkeeper Liam Reddy into the back of the net.

Melbourne shocked the home crowd moments later as they scored their second goal in two minutes. Pondeljiak again orchestrating the attack as his cross proving to be another superb delivery from the right flank. His cross found Dugandzic who brought the ball down with feint touch and turned to finish past Reddy.

Bridge almost instantly regained the lead for Sydney following a lack of communication between Vargas and Muscat in the 70th minute. Bridge collected the ball just inside the box, but his shot could not find it way past Petkovic who parried away.

In what proved to be their third goal in seven minutes Melbourne took the lead in the 73rd minute and completed their bizarre comeback. Dugandzic timing his run perfectly to sprint into the box and patiently wait to play in onrushing substitute Billy Celeski who guided the ball past Reddy.

In an enthralling last quarter of an hour Sydney went all out attack to find an equalising goal and their efforts were rewarded in the 85th minute after Muscat brought down Bridge just outside the box. Up stepped substitute Shannon Cole, in his 50th appearance for Sydney FC, who powerful free kick flew into the back of the net in front of The Cove.

Sydney almost capped of are marvellous match in stoppage time after a manic moment in the Victory box saw McFlynn-s driven shot was cleared off the line by Vargas, the rebound then fell to Carle who-s shot was then deflected out for a corner.

Despite a flourishing finish to the game, the Sky Blues were unable to find a crucial winning goal and the game finished at 3-3.

Match Detail

Sydney FC: 3 (BROSQUE 36', McFLYNN 53', COLE 85') Melbourne Victory FC: 3 (BROXHAM 66', DUGANDZIC 68', CELESKI 73')

Sydney FC Line-up: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL (12. Shannon COLE 81'), 3. Stephan KELLER, 5. Hayden FOXE , 8. Stuart MUSIALIK (Rhyan GRANT 86'), 10. Nick CARLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN (c), 19. Mark BRIDGE, 21. Scott JAMIESON (11. Kofe DANNING 76'), 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN.

Substitutes Not Used: 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk).

Yellow Cards: 10. Nick CARLE 35'. Red Cards: Nil. Goals: 14. Alex BROSQUE 36', 15. Terry McFLYNN 53', 12 Shannon COLE 85'.

Melbourne Victory Line-up: 1. Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2. Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3. Mate DUGANDZIC (11. Marvin ANGULO 90+3'), 5. Surat SUKHA (14. Billy CELESKI 53'), 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 8. Grant BREBNER, 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 15. Tomislav PONDELJAK, 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ (22. Nick WARD 88'), 19. Evan BERGER, 23. Adrian LEIJER

Substitutes Not Used: 20. Sebastian MATTEI (gk).

Yellow Cards: 12. Rodrigo VARGAS 58'. Red Cards: Nil. Goals: 6. Leigh BROXHAM 66', 3. Mate DUGANDZIC 68', 14. Billy CELESKI 73'.

Referee: Matthew BREEZE Attendance: 12 106 at the Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney