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Jan 12, 2011

Petratos the silver lining on dark season

With a strong footballing pedigree, there was little doubt Sydney FC's Dimitri Petratos would forge a successful career in the A-League.

But to have had such an immediate impact on the competition has caught a few observers by surprise.

Everyone except Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka, who freely admits he has seen it all this difficult season.

"This season for us is a difficult season ... Different from last one," he told reporters on Thursday.

"(We have) had many troubles this season but we identified him and other young players, he's shown his quality and is helping us play better football this season."

Petratos signed a new two-year deal for the Sky Blues on Thursday, and promptly high-fived his father Angelo, who he played alongside for Sydney Olympic in the NSW Premier League last season.

"(Dad has) been a big influence on me and helped me a lot throughout my life, my soccer life as well," Petratos said.

"He's taught me a lot of things ... Playing with him is like a dream come true, I enjoyed every second of it.

"I always wanted to play for Sydney FC ... it happened very fast."

Petratos, who only turned 18 last November, lit up the Sydney Football Stadium with a stunning left-footed strike in Sydney's 2-0 victory over the Gold Coast last Saturday, a move which sped up Lavicka's desire to tie the 18-year-old to the two-time A-League champions.

"It was not a hard (decision) because we know Dimi's quality," Lavicka said.

Sydney will be looking for more wonderstrikes against Melbourne Victory on Saturday night, and Petratos said he hopes the goals continue to flow from his left boot.

"(I want to ) have my shots, take my chances and if it goes in it goes in," he said.

"If I keep working hard and stay focused I should be able to keep my spot in the team."

The enormity of the Victory clash was not lost on Lavicka, who notes that Sydney are still a mathematical chance of featuring in the finals.

"Every clash against Melbourne Victory is amazing for both teams, for football fans ... we have a great respect for them," he said.

"Because the rivalry between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory is one of the biggest in the league and we would like (to show) ourselves and our fans that we can improve and we are able to play good football and try to get them good result."

Sydney will again take the field minus a host of their injured stars, with Hayden Foxe, Alex Brosque and Mark Bridge all at least one more week away from returning to the field.

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