Van Dijk triple bursts Sydney’s finals bubble

Sydney FC is coming to terms with the fact that, for the first time, it won’t play a part in the Hyundai A-League finals after having its slim hopes of qualifying for the top four crushed by the Queensland Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

Sydney FC is coming to terms with the fact that, for the first time, it won-t play a part in the Hyundai A-League finals after having its slim hopes of qualifying for the top four crushed by the Queensland Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

The Sky Blues needed to keep winning and rely on the results of other matches to sneak into the semis but a stunning hat-trick from Roar striker, Sergio Van Dijk sealed their fate and secured Queensland a 3-1 victory.

“It-s obviously disappointing that we didn-t get the result we needed but I can-t fault the effort tonight,” said Sydney coach, John Kosmina. “They boys gave it everything they had but in the end it just wasn-t meant to be.”

Kosmina-s youthful side made a positive start in the must-win meeting, dominating the early play and keeping the hosts on the back foot for the first ten-minutes, but the Roar looked dangerous on the counter attack and on the quarter-hour claimed the lead when Van Dyke found the net for the first of his triple.

Matt McKay delivered a quality ball from the byline and while Ivan Necevski did well to smother Mitch Nichols- firm first effort, he had no chance of reacting in time to stop Van Dijk-s follow up shot and Queensland enjoyed an early lead.

Despite the setback, Sydney continued to push forward and 17-year-old defender, Rhyan Grant showed he also has an eye for attack with his searching run paving the way for fellow teenager, Kofi Danning to almost claim the equaliser five minutes later.

Grant continued to cause trouble down Queensland-s left and another raid forward brought reward in the 25th minute with the rising star calmly rounding a Roar defender before crossing deep for Danning, whose beautiful looping header over the out-stretched arms of the keeper had Sydney back on level terms and young star on the scoreboard for the second straight week.

The Sky Blues looked set to take the upper hand but an error in defence quickly handed the advantage back to the hosts.

After absorbing more sustained Sydney pressure, Craig Moore launched a long ball forward and Zach Cairncross was caught out of position, leaving Van Dijk one-on-one with Necevski, who could do little to prevent the Dutchman from stabbing home his second.

Iain Fyfe forced a save from Griffin McMaster with a well taken free kick five minutes before the break, but that was as close as Sydney came and Queensland had reason to feel confident heading into half-time.

Knowing only a win would do, the visitors threw caution to the wind at the start of the second but almost paid the price after stand-in skipper, Terry McFlynn was forced to foul on the edge of the area to kill off another quick counter attack.

Van Dijk lined up the free kick and was millimetres away from finishing off his hat-trick, denied only by the athlete efforts of Sydney-s custodian.

In the 56th minute Alex Brosque was through one-on-one with McMaster but was pulled back for a foul before he could fire his shot, and two minutes later Stuart Musialik unleashed from long range but was wide of the mark.

Sydney was desperate, but its urgency often worked against it with cheap turnovers preventing it from applying any real pressure.

Brosque had another opportunity with twelve minutes remaining but only managed to fire the ball firmly into the arms of the keeper after Mark Bridge put him in space for what would be the Sky Blue-s last real opportunity of the game.

Within sight of the final whistle, referee Craig Zetter showed Cairncross a straight red card for a foul on Andrew Packer, leaving Sydney to play out the final minutes with only ten-men - and the Roar made the most of their numerical advantage with Van Dijk finally claiming his third on the back of another fast-break, deep into injury time.

The 3-1 defeat has put the finals out of range for Sydney FC, but John Kosmina will continue the rebuilding effort when his young side lines up for its final match, against the Newcastle Jets.

“We-ve still got one more game to play and we want to finish on a positive note in front of our home fans,” explained the head coach. “The semis might be out of reach but we can still improve our position on the ladder so we-ll be working hard at training and doing everything we can to get the three points next week against Newcastle.”

Sydney-s season-ending clash with the Jets will be played at the SFS at 5:00pm next Sunday.

Match Detail

Queensland Roar 3 (Sergio Van Dijk 15-, 28-, 90+3-) Sydney FC 1 (Kofi Danning 25-)

Queensland Roar: 20.Griffin McMASTER (gk), 2.Andrew PACKER, 4.Craig MOORE (c), 5.Josh McCLOUGHAN, 7.Michael ZULLO (10. Charlie MILLER 80-), 8.Massimo MURDOCCA, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 15.Matthew McKAY, 16.Hyuk-Su SEO,17. Mitch NICHOLS (22. Robbie KRUSE 66-),18.Danny TIATTO.

Substitutes not used: 40. Matt HAM (gk), 14.Ben GRIFFIN.

Yellow Cards: Josh McCloughan 17-, Craig Moore 67-, Sergio Van Dijk 84-. Red Cards: nil. Goals: Sergio Van Dijk 15-, 28-, 90+3-.

Sydney FC: 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2. Iain FYFE, 7. Robbie MIDDLEBY (4. Simon COLOSIMO 63-), 8. Stuart MUSIALIK (16. Chris PAYNE 89-), 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry McFLYNN (c) (10. Steve CORICA 69-), 19. Mark BRIDGE, 32. Brendan GAN, 34. Rhyan GRANT, 35. Kofi DANNING, 36. Zach CAIRNCROSS.

Substitute not used: 1. Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk).

Yellow Cards: Terry McFlynn 49-, Simon Colosimo 69-. Red Cards: Zach Cairncross 87-. Goals: Kofi Danning 25-.

Referee: Craig Zetter. Crowd: 19,111 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.