Sydney FC edges closer to finals with 1-0 win

Sydney FC has grasped its finals destiny back into its own hands after an emphatic 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory to claim the beyondblue Cup in front of 18,180 fans in a thoroughly entertaining match at Allianz Stadium tonight.

Sydney FC has grasped its finals destiny back into its own hands after an emphatic 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory to claim the beyondblue Cup in front of 18,180 fans in a thoroughly entertaining match at Allianz Stadium tonight.

The Sky Blues battered Melbourne for 90 minutes and fully deserved the win, which could have been by a much greater margin if not for four goal line clearances by desperate Victory defenders and some string saves by Melbourne goalkeeper Ante Covic.

Karol Kisel celebrated his 50th match for Sydney FC by converting the penalty to win the match but the stand out Man of the Match was youngster Joel Chianese, who terrorised the Melbourne defence with his blistering pace and sublime skills.

The win sees Sydney FC move to within one point of Melbourne Heart (5th) and Newcastle Jets (6th) and with matches against both teams in the coming fortnight, the Sky Blues- finals destiny rests in their own hands.

Sydney FC went into the game with an unchanged starting line-up, rewarding the players that outplayed the Central Coast last weekend, but the bench received a huge boost with Mark Bridge and Sebastian Ryall returning from injury to sit alongside Terry Antonis and Liam Reddy.

The game started with a flurry of attacking play as both teams used their pace up front. Chianese (Sydney) and Archie Thompson (Melbourne) found themselves in behind the defence several times inside the first five minutes, bring good saves out of both goalkeepers.

Chianese then had a golden opportunity to open the scoring in the 18th minute when a clever through ball from Pascal Bosschaart saw him one-on-one with Covic and the Melbourne ‘keeper made a great save.

Chianese continued to create havoc, fashioning chances for himself (21st minute) and Kisel (23rd minute) but Covic saved both opportunities with routine stops.

Sydney FC looked to have taken the lead in the 26th minute when Kisel struck a neat shot that beat Covic only to see Mark Milligan make a despairing late lunge to clear the ball off the line.

Sydney was creating numerous chances in what was a cracking start to the 24th edition of “The Big Blue” but Victory youngster James Jeggo had a shot blocked by Rhyan Grant on 28 minutes.

Sydney FC deservedly took the lead in the 33rd minute when Kisel celebrated his 50th Sydney FC appearance with a sweetly-taken penalty. The spot kick was awarded after Cazarine was dragged down in the box by Ubay Luzardo.

Kisel should have doubled the Sydney FC lead in the 39th minute when Jamieson released Brett Emerton down the left flank and after rounding a defender he cut the ball back to Kisel, who skied his shot over the crossbar.

The next chance fell to Chianese, who should have done better when presented with a neat pass by Kisel on the edge of the six-yard-box with Covic out of position but he snatched at the shot and the opportunity passed him by.

Melbourne had its best chance in the 44th minute when Marco Rojas found Thompson with a well-flighted cross but the header from 10m sailed harmlessly over the bar.

Sydney FC deservedly received a standing ovation from many of the 18,180 crowd when the teams filed off Allianz Stadium at half time with the Sky Blues leading 1-0 following its best first half of football all season.

Chianese missed another glaring opportunity in the 52nd minute when Kisel got in behind the defence and squared the ball only for Chianese to miss the ball under pressure from Milligan. Chianese then created another chance for himself in the 55th minute that was well saved by Covic.

The 61st minute came and went with Scott Jamieson, who was dangerous all night, getting into dangerous positions on two occasions but the opportunities amounted to nothing.

Sydney FC-s luck was also out in the 65th minute when Nick Carle beat Covic with a full-blooded strike only to see Milligan clear the ball off the line for the second time in the game.

The Sky Blues charge showed no sign of abating with Cazarine looping a header over the crossbar in the 69th minute before Melbourne managed a rare shot on goal when Rojas blasted wide less than 60 seconds later.

Melbourne Victory rode its luck again in the 80th minute when desperate Victory defenders blocked goal-bound shots from Kisel and then Terry Antonis in quick succession.

The final 10 minutes saw Melbourne throw caution to the wind, looking for an equaliser but the Sydney FC defence stood firm to gain all three points, lift the beyondblue Cup and end Melbourne Victory-s season.

Sydney FC now moves to just one point behind Melbourne Heart (5th) and Newcastle Jets (6th) after both Heart and Newcastle drew 1-1 with Wellington Phoenix and Gold Coast respectively earlier in the round.

The Sky Blues play Melbourne Heart next Saturday in Melbourne before a massive clash with Newcastle Jets at Allianz Stadium (formerly the Sydney Football Stadium) on Sunday 25 March.

Sydney FC 1 (Karol Kisel 33pen) d Melbourne Victory 0 Allianz Stadium Crowd: 18,180 Referee: Ben Williams

Sydney FC: 20. Ivan Necevski, 4. Pascal Bosschaart, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 7. Brett Emerton, 8. Karol Kisel (2. Sebastian Ryall ‘90), 9. Bruno Cazarine, 10 Nick Carle (17. Terry Antonis ‘78), 15. Terry McFlynn (c), 16 Joel Chianese (19. Mark Bridge ‘81), 21. Scott Jamieson, 23. Rhyan Grant. Sub not used: 1. Liam Reddy. Yellow cards: Karol Kisel 21, Terry McFlynn 60. Red cards: Nil

Melbourne Victory: 21. Ante Covic (gk), 2. Matthew Foschini, 3. Fabio (6. Leigh Broxham ‘90), 4. Petar Franjic, 5.Mark Milligan, 10. Archie Thompson, 11. Marco Rojas, 17.Jimmy Jeggo (9. Jean Carlos Solorzano ‘86), 19. Isaka Cernak (18. Danny Allsopp ‘65), 22. Harry Kewell, 28. Ubay Luzardo.

Sub not used: 1. Tando Velaphi (gk). Yellow cards: Peter Franjic 31, Ubay Luzardo 33. Red cards: Nil