Sydney FC sees red as Melbourne claim 3-1 Victory

A nine-man Sydney FC suffered a 3-1 loss to Melbourne Victory in a controversial “Big Blue” at AAMI Park tonight.

A nine-man Sydney FC suffered a 3-1 loss to Melbourne Victory in a controversial “Big Blue” at AAMI Park tonight.

Referee Chris Beath handed out 10 yellow cards with Tiago and Fabio both sent off in the second half after receiving their second cautions of the match.

The cards overshadowed an entertaining clash that saw Melbourne Victory take advantage of the extra man to lead 3-0 before a late Sydney FC fight back fell short, despite Joel Grifiths scoring his second goal in as many matches.

Sydney FC went into the match with an unchanged starting line for the first time this season as the Sky Blues looked to build on back-to-back wins over Melbourne Heart and Wellington Phoenix.

A fit-again Adam Griffiths made a return to the bench, which Frank Farina had to use early as Blake Powell was called into the match in the 23rd minute for Brett Emerton, who suffered a back injury. In fact the substitution had some bearing on Melbourne Victory-s opening goal, which was scored while Sydney FC were waiting to inject Powell into the game after Emerton had made his way from the pitch.

Sydney FC lost possession at halfway and with a quick transition Marco Rojas found space and his harmless shot from the edge of the penalty area took a wicked deflection of Sebastian Ryall and hit the back of the net with Vedran Janjetovic wrong-footed.

Melbourne Victory were good for their lead as the Sky Blues squandered a lot of early possession but Sydney FC managed to get a foothold into the game after going behind.

The Sky Blues- best chance fell in the 36th minute when Alessandro Del Piero was first to react to a Joel Griffiths shot and his effort sailed inches wide with Nathan Coe beaten.

Both teams were finding joy from diagonal balls in behind the defence but the teams went to the break with Melbourne holding a 1-0 lead.

The second half was drifting aimlessly as neither side could gather momentum until the match reached a flashpoint in the 60th minute when Tiago was sent off for a second yellow card, delivered by referee Chris Beath on the advice of his linesman.

Sydney FC had an amazing chance to level the scores in the 67th minute when Joel Griffiths was played in behind the Melbourne defence but dragged the ball wide from 6m. Less than 60 seconds later Melbourne had its second goal when Archie Thompson made a run through the centre of the defence and slotted home a well time pass to make it 2-0.

Sydney FC-s task became even more difficult on 71 minutes when Rojas scored his second of the game. A poor Sydney FC clearance fell to the winger and he surged forward to the edge of the penalty area with yet another deflection beating Janjetovic.

The Sky Blues showed a glimmer of hope in the 75th minute when Griffiths scored his second goal in two weeks with a well-placed shot inside the far post after he was played in behind the Victory defence by Del Piero.

Both sides had chances as the game swung from end to end in the final stages with Del Piero shooting wide and Grant having a header well saved by Nathan Coe but it was not to be.

Making matters worse for Sydney FC was a second red card with Fabio receiving a second yellow card in the shadows of full time.

Sydney FC is once again on the road next weekend, travelling up the F3 Freeway next Saturday (February 2) to face Newcastle Jets before returning to Allianz Stadium on February 10 for the clash with Brisbane Roar.

Melbourne Victory 3 (Marco Rojas 24 and 71, Archie Thompson 67) d Sydney FC 1 (Joel Griffiths 75) AAMI Park Crowd: 26,882 Referee: Chris Beath

SYDNEY FC: 20. Vedran JANJETOVIC, 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3. FABIO, 6. Jason CULINA (21. Yairo YAU ‘79), 7. Brett EMERTON (12. Blake POWELL -23, 8. Adam GRIFFITHS ‘68), 10. Alessandro DEL PIERO, 13. TIAGO, 15. Terry McFLYNN (c), 22. Ali ABBAS, 23. Rhyan GRANT, 29. Joel GRIFFITHS. Sub not used: 33. Matthew NASH (gk). Yellow Cards: Tiago 39, Rhyan Grant 52, Fabio 58, Tiago 60, Alessandro Del Piero 92, Fabio 93. Red Card: Tiago 60, Fabio 93.

MELBOURNE VICTORY: 39. Nathan COE (GK), 3 Adama TRAORE, 5. Mark MILLIGAN, 6. Leigh BROXHAM (8. Jonathan BRU ‘86), 9. Marcos FLORES (18. Francesco STELLA ‘76), 10. Archie THOMPSON (26. Andrew NABBOUT ‘76), 11. Marco ROJAS, 13. Diego FERREIRA, 14. Billy CELESKI, 23. Adrian LEIJER (c), 24. Nick ANSELL. Sub not used: 1. Tando VELAPHI (gk). Yellow Cards: Mark Milligan 47, Nick Ansell 51, Billy Celeski 62, Diogo Ferriera 81.