December 27, 2012
Sydney FC stun Central Coast 1-0
A resurgent Sydney FC have stunned A-League leaders Central Coast 1-0 with Brett Emerton sealing the victory with a late winner on Thursday.
Emerton's 89th minute winner secured the three points to lift the Sky Blues off the bottom of the ladder into ninth place.
The Sky Blues looked miles apart from the side who got thumped 7-2 by the Mariners in their last encounter in what was an end-to-end clash at Allianz Stadium.
Sydney showed a sense of urgency from the get go with Yairo Yau creating a chance for stand-in skipper Emerton a minute in.
But the Mariners attack soon began to create headaches for Sydney, easily getting past the Sky Blues defence with both the league's leading goal scorer Daniel McBreen and Joshua Rose forcing saves from gloveman Vedran Janjetovic.
Alessandro Del Piero showed his impressive skills to win the ball and go on a defence-busting run with Socceroo tyro 'keeper Matt Ryan saving his ensuing shot.
The Juventus legend looked like putting the hosts in front just before the break, causing a goal mouth scramble with a curling shot with Trent Sainsbury doing well to clear the ball off the line.
The Sky Blues continued peppering the Mariners goal with shots in the second half with both Adam Griffiths and Blake Powell getting the 16,887-strong crowd on their feet with dangerous strikes.
The match was briefly interrupted in the 63rd minute when a streaker took to the field.
McBreen had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock in the 74th minute when he found himself one-on-one with the 'keeper but Janjetovic saved the strike from point-blank range.
Tomas Rogic could have stolen a win in the dying minutes when late substitute Mitchell Duke supplied him with a perfect cross into the box but the Mariners playmaker sent his shot over the crossbar.
Sydney's Rhyan Grant replied with a shot of his own a moment later but was denied by the woodwork.
Sydney's Ali Abbas then played a perfect ball to Emerton with the Socceroo heading home the winner.
Frustration boiled over for the Mariners side with John Hutchinson being sent off in extra time after earning his second yellow card.
An on-field scuffle broke out between several players and things got worse for the Mariners with Rogic getting a straight red card for a tackle on Grant to end the match with nine players.
"Of course we believed we could win that game," Sydney coach Frank Farina said.
"You've got to believe that otherwise there's no point turning up.
"It was pleasing to get the result but even more so the work ethic and the fighting they showed out there tonight."
Graham Arnold was full of praise for the much-improved Sydney side.
"It wasn't one of our better displays," he said.
"But give credit to Sydney, I thought they played very well tonight. It was probably the best they've played all year.
"So we have to get used to the fact that we're sitting at the top of the table and teams will lift against us.
"You saw tonight they were prepared for the fight and I think they were still hurting from the 7-2 loss and they wanted some revenge and they got it."
|Sydney FC||Central Coast Mariners|
|Brett Emerton (90')|
|Sydney FC||Central Coast Mariners|
|20 Vedran Janjetovic||1 Matthew Ryan|
|8 Adam Griffiths||3 Joshua Rose|
|2 Sebastian Ryall||5 Zachary Anderson|
|5 Nathan Sherlock||16 Trent Sainsbury|
|22 Ali Abbas||18 Nick Montgomery|
|23 Rhyan Grant||7 John Hutchinson|
|7 Brett Emerton||14 Michael McGlinchey|
|12 Blake Powell||10 Tomas Rogic|
|26 Peter Triantis||24 Hayden Morton|
|10 Alessandro Del Piero||2 Daniel McBreen|
|21 Yairo Yau||9 Bernie Ibini-Isei|
|33 Matthew Nash||Justin Pasfield 20|
|18 Trent McClenahan||Brent Griffiths 13|
|27 Alec Urosevski||Mile Sterjovski 21|
|17 Terry Antonis||Mitchell Duke 19|
|Trent McClenahan for Nathan Sherlock (66)||Mile Sterjovski for Michael McGlinchey (72)|
|Alec Urosevski for Yairo Yau (77)||Mitchell Duke for Daniel McBreen (84)|
|Terry Antonis for Rhyan Grant (90)|
|Peter Triantis (7)||Trent Sainsbury (19)|
|Ali Abbas (8)||Hayden Morton (71)|
|Blake Powell (28)||Daniel McBreen (79)|
|Alec Urosevski (90)||John Hutchinson (86)|
|Tomas Rogic (90)|
|· Squads: Sydney FC | Central Coast Mariners|