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Serie A heavyweights head-to-head

50-50 Challenge 2 days ago
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Jan 24, 2010

Sydney FC fight back to reclaim top spot

Sydney FC came from behind to reclaim top spot in the A-League with a 3-1 win over Newcastle at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Sunday.

The Jets looked set to carry on their good form when midfielder Jobe Wheelhouse gave them the lead in the 32nd minute but John Aloisi pulled Sydney level just before halftime.

Midfielder Stuart Musialik then broke the hearts of his former club with a 50th-minute strike to put Sydney ahead before substitute Chris Payne capped the result in injury time with his first A-League goal.

The win continued the musical chairs atop the A-League table, with Sydney moving a point clear of Melbourne and Gold Coast after the latter were held to a 1-1 draw against Central Coast on Friday night.

The Jets remain in a strong position to claim a finals berth but now sit only a point ahead of fifth-placed Perth and will need at least a win from their final three games to ensure they make the playoffs.

Branko Culina's side began positively in front of 9,892 fans - easily their best crowd of the season - but it was Sydney who enjoyed the better of the early chances.

Both of those fell to Alex Brosque on his return from a groin injury, the first denied by a great one-on-one save from Jets 'keeper Ben Kennedy while he turned another shot just wide from an Aloisi cross.

It was the Jets, though, who opened the scoring through Wheelhouse.

The midfielder's run was picked out perfectly with an exquisite through ball from Jets captain Matt Thompson and the much-improved Wheelhouse made no mistake with the finish.

The home side looked to be heading into halftime with the lead but Aloisi struck just before the break to get Sydney back level.

The former Socceroos striker was finally rewarded for his perseverance and hard work in recent weeks when he collected the ball from Terry McFlynn and steered an angled shot just past Kennedy.

It was his sixth goal of the season and first in seven matches, though his afternoon was cut short when he was forced off with what looked like a hamstring injury in the 76th minute.

Sydney came out looking the sharper side after halftime and took the lead just five minutes in when Musialik stunned the home crowd with a 25-metre strike.

He connected perfectly with the outside of his boot after a layoff from Terry McFlynn, with his swerving shot leaving Kennedy rooted to the spot after he was blinded by his own defenders.

The Jets' best chance for an equaliser fell to Thompson after Iraqi international Ali Abbas sent in a dangerous cross with his first touch but the captain hit his header straight at Clint Bolton.

Payne, who came on for Aloisi, completed the win in the dying minutes when he won the ball on the right flank and beat Kennedy with a good individual effort.

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