Sydney FC now focused on A-League after loss

Sydney FC will now focus on the primary target of the Hyundai A-League after its unbeaten record came to an end at the hands of Perth Glory in the Pre Season Cup semi final at Aussie Stadium on Sunday night.

Sydney FC will now focus on the primary target of the Hyundai A-League after its unbeaten record came to an end at the hands of Perth Glory in the Pre Season Cup semi final at Aussie Stadium on Sunday night.

A 91st minute goal by Perth substitute Nick ward consigned Sydney FC to its first ever defeat, in its 19th match.

Sydney FC now has its sights set firmly on the opening round of the Hyundai A-League when the club faces Melbourne Victory at Aussie Stadium on Sunday August 28.

While disappointed with the loss, Coach Pierre Littbarski now has 14 days to prepare his team for the opening match of the A-League without the distraction of the Pre Season Cup final, which will be fought out between Perth and the Central Coast Mariners.

“We are a professional soccer team and we try to win every game so yes we are disappointed at losing the game and not making it to the final,” Littbarski said. “We will now get ready for the start of the A-League because it is the most important thing for us.

Sydney FC went into the match without regular staring players Sasho Petrovski, Dwight Yorke, Matthew Bingley and Mark Milligan and it proved a hurdle too great for Sydney FC.

Alex Salazar won a starting debut with Sydney FC playing a 4-5-1 formation.

They did receive a boost before the game with Club Captain David Zdrilic and Team Captain Mark Rudan both ruled fit after extended periods on the sidelines with the pair starting the match on the bench.

The game started slowly with neither team able to come to grips with the bumpy surface at Aussie Stadium.

The two best chances of the first half came back-to-back in the 14th minute when Bobby Despotovski headed over the bar for Perth before a Terry McFlynn long ball found Steve Corica in space but Jason Petkovic thwarted the chance by coming off his line well.

The teams went to the break locked at 0-0 in what was a very uneventful first half as both teams struggled for fluency, which was not helped by a pedantic performance by referee Ben Williams.

With both teams lacking creativity, Littbarski threw both Zdrilic and Rudan into the match in the 66th minute with the pair forming a new striking duo as Sydney FC reverted to a 4-4-2 formation.

It almost paid instant dividends with Rudan toe-poking the ball just inches wide two minutes after coming onto the pitch. Good lead up work by Andrew Packer and Zdrilic saw Corica get behind the defence and his cut back cross was poked just wide by Rudan.

The change in formation worked well for Sydney FC as the team looked more settled than it did playing with Salazar as a lone striker with Carney and Robbie Middleby attacking down the flanks.

Sydney FC looked like they were gaining the ascendancy with Packer and Zdrilic coming close but Perth stole the match in the 91st minute with substitute Ward scoring a screamer.

Perth broke quickly down the middle of the pitch with the match heading towards extra time but Ward struck a sweet 25m drive that gave Clint Bolton no chance in the Sydney FC goal.

Sydney FC will now have a weekend off before playing Melbourne Victory in the opening round of the Hyundai A-League.

Perth Glory 1 (Nick Ward 91) d Sydney FC 0 Aussie Stadium, Sydney Sunday August 14, 2005 Referee: Ben Williams Crowd: 3424

Sydney FC

1. Clint Bolton 2. Iain Fyfe 3. Alvin Ceccoli 6. Ufuk Talay 7. Robbie Middleby 10. Steve Corica (c) 12. David Carney 13. Alex Salazar 14. Andrew Packer 15. Terry McFlynn 17. Jacob Timpano

Substitutes: 4. Mark Rudan on for Robbie Middleby (66 mins) 9. David Zdrilic on for Alex Salazar (66 mins)

Subs not used: 20. Justin Pasfield (gk) 21. Joe Schirripa

Perth Glory

1. Jason Petkovic 2. Matt Horsley 4. Simon Colosimo 6. Steve McMahon 7. Scott Miller 10. Bobby Despotovski 12. Hiroyuki Ishida 13. Ante Kovacevic 14. Jamie Coyne 15. Billy Celeski 21. Adrian Caceres

Substitutes: 8. Nick Ward on for 6. Steve McMahon (88 mins) 18. Henry Fa-Arodo on for 21. Adrian Caceres (75 mins) 19. Naum Sekulovski on for 12. Hiroyuki Ishida (65 mins)

Sub not used: 20. Milan Jovanic (gk)

Yellow cards: Bobby Despotovski 37, Billy Celeski 43, David Carney 55, Ufuk Talay 78, Henry Fa-Arodo 79, Steve McMahon 82, Mark Rudan 82, Iain Fyfe 93.