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Jan 26, 2012

Ryall eyes top-three spot for Sky Blues

Having reignited Sydney FC's A-League season with a dramatic equaliser against Melbourne Victory, unlikely hero Sebastian Ryall is eyeing a top-three finish for the Sky Blues.

The centre-back scored his first A-League goal with a 90th-minute leveller against his former club on Thursday night - his strike coming less than a minute after being brought on as a substitute.

"That was my 80th league game and I've never scored a goal so I'm very happy to finally score, and against my old team," Ryall told AAP on Friday.

"The circumstances made it even more special. It was an important goal for the whole club and the fans, so I'm over the moon to be able to contribute."

Down 2-0 at the break, Sydney fought back to rescue a point and keep them in sixth place, four points in front of fierce rivals the Victory on the ladder.

Having only managed one win in the past eight matches - a 3-2 victory over the last-placed Gold Coast - Sydney have collected only six points from a possible 24.

And with those eight matches also including a demoralising four-game losing streak, Ryall admitted the team's confidence had suffered a few blows this season.

He said the importance of the Victory clash at this point of the season was forefront in the players' minds.

"Getting a result was massive," Ryall said.

"We spoke about it before the game and we knew that this game could be a turning point in our season.

"We obviously wanted to win the game and jump well above Victory and stay in sixth place.

"We all knew it was such an important game so to come back from two goals down shows the great character of the team.

"We've been doing it so often this season and it hasn't been easy at all. We've put ourselves in tough spots but it just shows there's so much fight in the squad."

The crucial point moves Sydney just one win away from reaching third place, currently occupied by trans-Tasman rivals Wellington.

With only eight games left for the Sky Blues before the finals series, time is running out for them to make their way up what is an incredibly-congested ladder.

But Ryall feels a top-three finish and a home elimination final is well within reach.

"It is such a close league, but I think we can finish in the top three," he said.

"We've got such a talented squad and there's a lot of competition for spots this season.

"I don't want to look too far ahead, but I think we're good enough to finish in the top three."

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