Brave Sky Blues Season Ends Amid More Controversy

An excellent Sydney FC have gone down fighting after more controversial calls and a defensive holdout by the Central Coast Mariners saw their Isuzu UTE A-League campaign end in a 0-0 stalemate, with the Mariners’ 2-1 first-leg triumph securing them a Grand Final.  

Sydney FC 0 (1) drew w. Central Coast Mariners 0 (2)

Mariners win 2-1 on aggregate.

Robbie Mak at the final whistle

Moments that Mattered:

8’ – COURTNEY-PERKINS GOES DOWN IN THE BOX – Jordan Courtney Perkins nudges the ball past Brian Kaltak who gets his legs tangled with the Sky Blues winger but the referee waves the penalty call away.  

49’ – MARINERS ASSISTANT COACH RED – One of the assistant coaches with the Mariners sees red after complaining about an on-field call. 

63’ – BRATTAN ON THE LINE SAVE – Bradley Tapp pokes the ball towards the goal, and Luke Brattan chests it off the line to deny the Mariners.

Fabio protests decision

64’ – MAK DISALLOWED GOAL– Robert Mak receives the ball inside the box, dances around two defenders to shoot and as the ball deflects off the keeper and heads towards goal Kaltak clears.

After a VAR review, Alireza Faghani explains that the ball crossed the line, but makes the claim Fabio Gomes was offside and interfered with the defender. 

77’ – BALARD HANDBALL CALL – A Sydney FC cross strikes the outstretched palm of Max Balard in the box but the referee gives nothing and neither does the VAR to the incredulity of most watching.

FT – CACERES RED – Anthony Caceres is shown red after the full-time whistle after his remonstrations to the referee. 

Talay fumes

What They Said: Ufuk Talay: “I’m disappointed to go out the way that we did but we came here with a great mentality. I thought we were the better team throughout the whole 90 minutes.

“Jordan’s was definitely a penalty and the handball was a handball. I don’t understand the rule with handballs anymore.

“The fans want to see goals, but we tend to go back up to that person in the box.”

Luke Brattan: “It’s a tough one to take, there were three clear decisions. All we ask for is consistency.

“Extremely proud of the boys. Fantastic groups. Fantastic club. Just to dig deep down I’m very proud of them.”

Cove were fantastic support

Match Report:  Sydney FC’s season has ended in controversial circumstances as they failed to break down a stubborn Mariners defence and were denied two penalties and an disallowed goal.

The 0-0 draw means that the Sky Blues miss out on an eighth Grand Final on aggregate following last Friday’s 2-1 loss.

The game started brightly for the Sky Blues who were the first to settle into the contest, sniffing at the Mariners net as they sharply manufactured passes into Central Coast’s defensive third. 

Jordan Courtney-Perkins thought he had a penalty when he was tripped in the box by Brian Kaltak however Alireza Faghani waved the call away.

As tension brewed inside Industree Group Stadium, the Sky Blues continued to battle on; with Luke Brattan running off a shin scare, which saw him go down for several minutes. 

The Mariners’ lack of ball began to boil over as Faghani dealt yellow cards to Storm Roux and Mark Jackson. 

As half-time beckoned Sydney FC continued to press but they couldn’t work their way into a goal-scoring position, and aggregate score remained 2-1 after a heavily dominant Sky Blues half. 

Caceres receives first booking

Sydney FC urgently looked for the goal which would give them an aggregate equaliser as the Mariners continued to sit back. 

However one rare foray into the Sky Blues penalty area saw Mariners sub Bradley Tapp poke the ball towards goal, with Luke Brattan clearing off the line.

Sydney FC then streamed down the field, and Robert Mak thought he had just scraped the ball past the goal line, but Faghani denied the goal because Fabio Gomes was in an offside position.

Tension ruminated throughout the stadium as every whistle and every call sparked an outburst between both sets of fans. 

Sydney FC thought they found a penalty when the ball struck the outstretched palm of Max Balard late on however Faghani waved the call away and the Sky Blues couldn’t find a magic touch as the ball continued clang and clutter in the Mariners’ favour. 

A last-gasp free kick for Robert Mak was not converted, seeing Sydney FC end their 2023/2024 A-League campaign. 

Prime Minister in attendance

Sydney FC: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 4. Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS (13. Pat WOOD 70’), 9. Fabio GOMES, 11. Robert MAK, 15. Gabriel LACERDA, 16. Joel KING, 17. Anthony CACERES, 22. Max BURGESS (25. Jaiden KUCHARSKI 90’), 23. Rhyan GRANT, 26. Luke BRATTAN, 27. Hayden MATTHEWS.

Unused Subs: 20. Adam PAVLESIC (GK), 3. Aaron GURD, 8. Jake GIRDWOOD-REICH, 18. Matthew SCARCELLA, 19. Mitch GLASSON.

Yellow Cards: Caceres (45+), Caceres (90+)

Red Cards: Caceres (90+)

Central Coast Mariners: 20. Danny VUKOVIC (GK), 2. Mikael DOKA, 3. Brian KALTAK, 4. Josh NISBET, 6. Maximilien BALARD, 7. Christian THEOHAROUS (39. Miguel DI PIZIO 58’), 9. Alou KOUL (99. Ryan EDMONDSSON 58’), 15. Storm ROUX, 18. Jacob FARRELL, 23. Daniel HALL, 26. Bradley TAPP (16. Harrison STEELE 76’).

Unused Subs: 30. Jack WARSHAWSKY (GK), 17. Jing REEC, 22. Ronald BARCELLOS, 33. Nathan PAULL.

Yellow Cards: Theoharous (25’), Jackson (39’), Roux (41’), Farrell (90+), Doka (90+)

Red Cards: Andy Schofield 55’

Venue: Industree Group Stadium

Referee: Alireza Faghani

Attendance: 20,059