Sydney FC 2 (Nieuwenhof 30’, Brattan 56') Wellington Phoenix 1 (Muratovic 45+1’)
Sydney FC have claimed three points in the first match of the 2020/21 A-League season after winning 2-1 against a strong Wellington Phoenix.
Moments That Mattered:
- BARBAROUSES CHANCE - 3' - Some slick moves from Ninkovic allows the time for a low driven cross to find Barbarouses who finds the side netting.
- NIEUWENHOF GOAL - 30’ - What a way to open up your A-League account! The 19 year old lets fly from 25 yards out to find the top left of the net on his A-League debut.
- MURATOVIC GOAL - 45+1’ - A late equaliser for Wellington as Muratovic scores on debut for his side.
- NIEUWENHOF CHANCE - 46’ - The youngster tries his luck from distance again, stinging the palms of Marinovic who just does enough to push away from danger.
- BRATTAN GOAL - 56’ - Brattan restores the Sky Blues lead with a world class strike from a free kick, leathering the ball into the top right hand corner leaving the keeper no chance.
- BAUMJOHANN CHANCE - 73’ - Baumjohann plays a lovely one-two with Buhagiar to attempt a quick snap shot inside the box but it goes just wide of the left hand upright.
- REDMAYNE SAVE - 90’ - A quick counter attack from Wellington is thwarted by Redmayne who makes a low diving save.
- DAVILA DISALLOWED GOAL - 90+4’ - Wellington look to have equalised in the dying moments but the assistant referee rightly points out a deflection off an offside player.
An initial plucky start from Wellington was soon nullified by the Sky Blues who imposed themselves in the contest, putting their opponents on the back foot with a sustained amount of possession and pressure.
Sydney FC finally broke down a resolute Wellington defence on the half hour mark and in some style too. After a half cleared corner, A-League debutant Nieuwenhof found the top left corner of the net from well outside the area.
Despite continued pressure, Wellington equalised on the stroke of half-time to have the sides go into the dressing room level at the break.
There wouldn’t be too long of a wait for a Sky Blue lead to be restored after the restart as Brattan nearly burst the net from a long-range free kick, finding the top right hand corner past a flailing Wellington custodian.
Head Coach Steve Corica’s men weathered a late Wellington attacking onslaught including a late disallowed goal to clinch their first three points of many on the road towards a historic ’threepeat’ championship tilt.
Sydney FC will have an extended break and preparation time for their next clash - the first Sydney Derby of the season against bitter rivals Western Sydney Wanderers on the 16th of January at Stadium Australia.
What They Said: Steve Corica:
"I'm very pleased with the three points in the first game, it's always hard but the points were the main aim.
"Calem Nieuwenhof was very good on his A-League debut. His performance was very good and a wonderful goal.
"We looked a little bit tired in the second half, but defended quite well and we don't have a game for the next two weeks so we will work hard and look at that for the game against the Wanderers.
"[On the disallowed goal] The VAR got the right call, he was offside."
Sydney FC: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 3. Ben WARLAND, 4. Alex WILKINSON, 10. Milos NINKOVIC, 11. Kosta BARBAROUSES (18. Luke IVANOVIC 64’), 12. Trent BUHAGIAR (33. Patrick WOOD 82’), 16. Joel KING (7. Michael ZULLO 82’), 17. Anthony CACERES (5. Alexander BAUMJOHANN 64’), 23. Rhyan GRANT, 26. Luke BRATTAN, 28. Calem NIEUWENHOF (19. Christopher ZUVELA 73’).
Subs: 20. Tom HEWARD-BELLE (GK), 6. Ryan McGOWAN.
Yellow Cards: 3. Ben WARLAND 5’, 28. Calem NIEUWENHOF 25’, 17. Anthony CACERES 36’, 12. Trent BUHAGIAR 62’, 26. Luke BRATTAN 65'.
Red Cards: None.
Wellington Phoenix: 1. Stefan MARINOVIC (GK), 3. Luke DEVERE, 5, J McGARRY, 6. Tim PAYNE, 8. Cameron DEVLIN (12. Matthew RIDENTON 82’), 9. David BALL, 11. Jaushua SOTIRIO, 14. Alex RUFER, 15. Mirza MURATOVIC (17. Tomer HEMED 60’), 21. Joshua LAWS, 23. Clayton LEWIS (10. Ulises DAVILA 60’).
Subs: 20. Oliver SAIL (GK), 2. Liam McGING, 16. Louis FENTON, 31. Ben WAINE.
Yellow Cards: 6. Tim PAYNE 45’, 21. Joshua LAWS 67’, Ufuk TALAY (Head Coach) 90+5'
Red Cards: None.