It proved the decisive goal in a five-goal thriller – and it was put together by two of Sydney FC’s brightest young talents.
Highly-touted youngsters Jaiden Kucharski and Adrian Segecic are both products of the club’s academy; on Saturday night the former made his first Isuzu UTE A-League appearance for the club, and the latter scored his first league goal for the club – assisted by Kucharski.
In the end it was vital; Sydney then led Macarthur FC 3-1, and would go on to concede to Anthony Carter before wrapping up three points in a 3-2 win at Campbelltown Stadium.
“I’m pleased with the both of them,” Corica told Paramount+ after the game.
“Kucharski with the ball across the goal and (Segecic) getting the goal as well is great. He’s been lively every time he’s come on, and it’s good to see Kucharski as well getting an opportunity (after doing) so well in the NPL. He’s got some talent as well.”
Kucharski came into the 2022-23 A-League Men campaign after winning the NPL New South Wales Gold Medal as Player of the Year in 2022.
Segecic and Kucharski join the likes of Aaron Gurd, Jake Girdwood-Reich, Corey Hollman, Patrick Yazbek and Patrick Wood as players in and around Sydney’s first team who came into the clubs academy in the 13-15 age group.
‘We need to look at ourselves’: Sky Blues spot weakness after edging Bulls nail-biter
In the end, they won by the finest of margins – but it shouldn’t have been that way for Sydney FC in their clash with 10-man Macarthur FC on Saturday night.
Up 3-1 and cruising to the final whistle, Steve Corica’s side gave the Bulls a glimmer of hope when a counter attack led to Anthony Carter’s 88th-minute strike, which halved the deficit. Then, in the fifth minute of additional time, the Bulls striker beat Sydney keeper Andrew Redmayne with a dipping strike.
The ball struck the bar and repelled from danger, and the Sky Blues held on for all three points.
It’s the second week running Corica’s side has failed to put away a side reduced to 10 men. In Round 3 it was Adelaide United who, after losing striker Hiroshi Ibusuki to a straight red card, came from 2-1 down to draw 2-2 with the Sky Blues on the road.
This week it was Macarthur battling to the final whistle undermanned after Jonathan Aspropotamitis’ send-off in the second half, with the difference between a win and a draw coming down to the slight misdirection of Carter’s venomous strike.
The Sky Blues savoured the three points.
“Very important,” said midfielder Luke Brattan on Paramount+. “We started really well, we just had that danger period where as soon as we score, we switch off. We need to look at ourselves and change that.
“Sometimes it’s harder playing against 10 men, they can sit back and counter. They were unbeaten for a reason, they’re a good side. Their structure is great and they counter, they’re always going to have chances but I think we managed the game pretty well. We’re happy with three points.”
Corica added to Brattan’s post-match reflections in the Paramount+ post-match show.
“We got in front at 3-1 and then we conceded another bit of a scrappy goal toward the end, and a bit of a scare as well with him hitting the crossbar,” Corica said.
“I think we got ourself in a good position at 3-1 and the game should have been dead and buried. We should have looked after the ball a little bit better. But they wanted to keep going and Macarthur had a good crack as well, which Adelaide did last week. We just have to be making sure were a little bit switched on defensively and not getting caught like that towards the end.”