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Feb 2, 2013

Syd FC draw 2-2 with Jets in A-League

A Ryan Griffiths penalty in the dying minutes forced Sydney FC to settle for a 2-2 A-League draw with Newcastle on Saturday.

Sydney FC, missing a host of regular starters, opened the scoring through Alessandro Del Piero, with teammate Blake Powell getting the Sky Blues' second goal.

But late drama, in which skipper Terry McFlynn was sent off for a handball, ensured Griffiths - who scored the first-half equaliser also through a penalty - grabbed the point for the Jets at a rain and wind-lashed Hunter Stadium.

Sydney appeared undeterred by their depleted squad after coach Frank Farina was forced to make several changes. Defenders Tiago Calvano and Fabio were both suspended alongside striker Joel Griffiths, while speedy Panamanian attacker Yairo Yau was away on national duty and injured duo Brett Emerton and Jason Culina were also missing.

The Jets, undefeated in their previous four matches, stay in fifth place while the Sky Blues remain in eighth.

The Jets had the lion's share of possession in the early stages and created a few chances.

But a terrible defensive mistake from Connor Chapman allowed Del Piero a perfect shot at goal inside the box with the Italian legend making no mistake to put Sydney 1-0 up after just 12 minutes with his 10th A-League goal.

The Jets redeemed themselves only moments later when Rhyan Grant conceded a penalty after bringing down Ryan Griffiths in the box.

Griffiths stepped up to the mark, easily beating gloveman Vedran Janjetovic to level the score in the 16th minute.

Del Piero threatened again, this time with a superb free-kick from outside the box, forcing a spectacular save from Jets 'keeper Mark Birighetti just before the break.

The Sky Blues started the second half determined to create chances with Ali Abbas forcing Birighetti into action with his powerful header.

But it was Powell who put the visitors 2-1 in front in the 57th minute.

A sloppy Jets defence was again to blame after Del Piero, given too much space, passed the ball to Abbas, with Birighetti making a meal of the Iraqi's ensuing strike - sending the rebound to Powell's feet for the cool finish.

A Griffiths strike created a goal-mouth scramble late in the match with McFlynn red-carded for attempting to clear the ball with his arm.

Griffiths stepped up for the spot, securing the 2-2 result in the 89th minute.

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