Sydney FC conceded a 93rd minute equaliser to draw 1-1 with competition leaders Central Coast Mariners in a pulsating clash at Bluetongue Stadium tonight, making next Saturday night’s clash with Melbourne Victory huge.
Sydney FC conceded a 93rd minute equaliser to draw 1-1 with competition leaders Central Coast Mariners in a pulsating clash at Bluetongue Stadium tonight, making next Saturday night-s clash with Melbourne Victory huge.
The Sky Blues dominated the match and looked like scoring a well-deserved 1-0 victory courtesy of Joel Chianese-s second Hyundai A-League goal but Troy Hearfield grabbed a scrappy late equaliser to deny Sydney FC two deserved points.
The draw leaves Sydney FC three points behind 6th-placed Newcastle Jets, who face Sydney FC in the final round of the season.
But first awaits Melbourne Victory, who visit Allianz Stadium (formerly Sydney Football Stadium) next Saturday night in what is shaping as the biggest home game of the season.
Sydney FC made one change to the team that suffered a frustrating 1-0 loss to Wellington Phoenix last weekend with Karol Kisel replacing Hirofumi Moriyasu. Dimi Petratos also came back into the team after Olyroo duty, taking the place on Mitch Mallia on the bench.
The match was played in wet and slippery conditions but it didn-t deter either side from trying to play the ball through the feet although the first 15 minutes came and went without any meaningful penalty area action.
Carle fashioned a half chance in the 16th minute after winning possession on the edge of the penalty area but couldn-t clear the ball out of his feet and the chance went begging.
Six minutes later Carle and Cazarine worked together to create a far better opportunity with a one-two but Carle-s shot from 10m was brilliantly saved by the advancing Matt Ryan.
The Mariners had their first real chance in the 27th minute when Tomas Rogic created half a yard of space on the edge of the penalty area but his shot was well-saved by Ivan Necevski.
After Sydney FC managed to dominate the midfield for the first 20 minutes, the home side battled their way back into the game with both sides looking dangerous going forward in what was shaping as a great contest.
The Sky Blues were putting a lot of pressure on the ball when the Mariners defence had possession and when Chianese robbed Patrick Zwaanswijk on halfway Cazarine rolled the ball into the path of Brett Emerton, whose shot was well cleared by Trent Sainsbury.
Rhyan Grant had a chance to open the scoring in the 42nd minute when Carle played a delightful diagonal ball over the back of the Mariners defence but Grant was unable to bring the ball down when he only had Ryan to beat.
The teams went to the break level at 0-0 and Sydney FC rattled the crossbar inside the first 60 seconds when Scott Jamieson caught Ryan off his line.
Chianese was next to put himself in a position to open the scoring, running onto a slick reverse pass from Carle only to see his shot parried to safety by Ryan, who was having a busy time in the Mariners goal.
The goal Sydney deserved finally came in the 56th minute and it was Chianese who put the ball in the back of the net. Emerton released Kisel down the right flank and his cross fell to Chianese, whose first shot was saved by Ryan but the youngster slotted the rebound to make it 1-0.
The goal shook the Mariners into action and substitute Bernie Ibini could have scored with his first involvement in the 59th minute but after rounding Necevski he could only find the side netting from a tight angle.
The game opened right up at this point with Chianese and then Ibini again having chances in front of goal around the hour mark.
Chances abounded at both ends of the pitch as the Sydney FC and Central Coast both continued to look to play attacking football with Chianese a constant menace and John Hutchinson rattling the crossbar in the 79th minute.
Sydney FC looked to have weathered the Mariners- storm until Hearfield pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area and headed the ball past Necevski to snatch a point.
Sydney FC now faces arch rivals Melbourne Victory at the newly named Allianz Stadium (formerly Sydney Football Stadium) on Saturday night with early signs pointing towards a season-high crowd for the first clash between Brett Emerton and Harry Kewell in a professional club football match in Sydney.
Sydney FC 1 (Joel Chianese 56) drew Central Coast 1 (Troy Hearfield 93) Bluetongue Stadium Crowd: 8,658 Referee: Chris Beath
Sydney FC: 20. Ivan Necevski, 4. Pascal Bosschaart, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 7. Brett Emerton (11. Dimi Petratos ‘59), 8. Karol Kisel (17. Terry Antonis ‘78), 9. Bruno Cazarine (22. Nathan Sherlock ‘91), 10 Nick Carle, 15. Terry McFlynn (c), 16. Joel Chianese, 21. Scott Jamieson, 23. Rhyan Grant. Sub not used: 1. Liam Reddy (gk). Yellow cards: Rhyan Grant 23, Karol Kisel 30, Nick Carle 45. Red cards: Nil
Central Coast: 1. Mathew Ryan, 3. Joshua Rose, 6. Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7. John Hutchinson, 11. Oliver Bozanic (2. Daniel McBreen ‘76), 14. Michael Mcglinchey, 16. Trent Sainsbury (12. Troy Hearfield ‘66), 17. Tomas Rogic, 18. Alex Wilkinson (c), 19. John Sutton. 23. Adam Kwasnik (9. Bernie Ibini ‘55).
Sub not used: 20. Justin Pasfield (gk). Yellow cards: Joshua Rose 83, John Hutchinson 93. Red cards: Nil