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Jan 17, 2009

Roar end Sydney's season with 3-1 win

Dutch courage has helped the Queensland Roar keep their top two hopes alive and ensure Sydney FC miss out on the A-League finals for the first time.

Barely 24 hours after needing scans to clear him of a facial fracture, Holland-bred marksman Sergio van Dijk scored all home goals in a 3-1 victory over their arch rivals at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

The loss ensured inaugural champions Sydney FC can't make the final four.

It was hard to believe van Dijk was in doubt with a suspected fractured cheekbone following a nasty collision in Wednesday night's draw at Adelaide.

The striker proved his fitness in no uncertain terms with a first half double and completed the hat-trick - the first ever by a Roar player - in stoppage time.

Not a bad effort from a player who looked in all sorts of trouble on Wednesday night when he lost consciousness briefly after a head clash with Adelaide's Robert Cornthwaite.

Van Dijk sparked a Roar team that was running out for their third game in seven days.

Queensland poured on the pressure from the outset and a young Sydney FC finally succumbed in the 15th minute.

Mitch Nichols' strike from a Matt McKay cross was deflected by keeper Ivan Necevski - then van Dijk pounced.

But the 19,111-strong Roar faithful were silenced in the 25th when Sydney FC wonderboy Kofi Danning threatened to snatch the spotlight when he grabbed his second goal in as many games.

The teenage trio of Danning, Rhyan Grant and Zach Cairncross all started ahead of the likes of prominent former Socceroos John Aloisi, captain Steve Corica and Simon Colosimo.

Danning - just 17 - had ridden a wave of emotion coming into their crucial match after scoring the matchwinner in their last clash against Wellington - only his second game.

And Ghana-born Canberra talent Danning looked set to soak up more of the limelight when he headed fellow youngster Grant's cross past Roar keeper Griffin McMaster and suddenly scores were locked up.

However, Cairncross' inexperience was exposed when he was found out in defence by a Craig Moore long pass which found a wide open van Dijk and the flying Dutchman did the rest to score in the 28th minute.

Fittingly the last word went to van Dijk when he lashed home a Charlie Miller cross in the 93rd minute.

It may have been the business end of the season but the match was all personal for the rival coaches Frank Farina of the Roar and Sydney FC mentor John Kosmina - as their post-match hand shake showed.

The pair looked to have a passionate exchange with Kosmina at one stage grabbing the back of Farina's head.

It emerged that Farina and Kosmina had a heated conversation when a phone call turned nasty earlier this week.

It was the fourth home win in a row for the Roar whose Suncorp Stadium hoodoo now seems a distant memory.

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