Draw ends Sydney FC’s finals hopes

Sydney FC were mathematically put out of the finals race on Sunday afternoon despite taking the lead with just 13 minutes remaining at Energy Australia Stadium, with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle Jets.

Sydney FC were mathematically put out of the finals race on Sunday afternoon despite taking the lead with just 13 minutes remaining at Energy Australia Stadium, with a 1-1 draw against Newcastle Jets.

It was Bruno Cazarine-s precise finish that enthralled the hearts of Sydney with buoyancy, but it was quickly diminished when Sasha Petrovski levelled proceedings for the Jets just six minutes after the Sky Blues opened the scoring in a game that was played in torrential conditions.

The match began in scrappy fashion, mainly due to the high winds, and it was the home-side who adjusted best as the SydneyFC defence only just managed to keep Newcastle from an early entry on the scoresheet in a goal-mouth scramble.

This, and the bundle of desperate follow-up attempts, was just one particular case in a host of five opportunities inside 10 minutes for the Hunter Valley team.

But the wet conditions left a feeling of remorse on the Newcastle bench when Jeremy Brockie lost his footing with a tap-in chance prevailed in front of him. The anguish continued when a Nikolai Topor-Stanley rocket header was cleared off the line and followed up by a near own goal when Hiro Moriyasu mishit his attempted clearance.

It took Sydney a quarter of an hour for their first chance but they too tried to open the flood-gates. But, much like their fellow finals-hopefuls, they couldn-t conjure up a real test for the keeper. Matt Jurman, in what could only be described as a half-chance, looked to get on the end of a free-kick with a hopeful lunge.

It was an off-target drive from Tarek Elrich in the 42nd minute that brought the crowd alive after a spell of dull football. It looked to be another prodigal shot until Labinot Haliti reacted well and directed the shot towards goal. But, to his disbelief after already running off to celebrate, his effort rattled the crossbar.

Only five shots were on target in a half featuring 22 attempts on goal, with Newcastle failing to recapture their early dominance in a repetitive 45 minutes of football.

Sydney FC started the second half much like Newcastle began the first, with Juho Makela and Nick Carle forcing saves from Kennedy and Moriyasu having his attempt deflected.

The raid on goal didn-t stop there, with a long stretch of possession on the hour mark ended by another Carle shot, with Kennedy only able to palm it out for a corner. Sung Hwan Byun-s shot blocked by Topor-Stanley was the means for further annoyance.

The match fell dangerously into the routine of bypassing the midfield as quickly as possible, and short passes to the feet appeared to be woefully neglected. Despite the wet weather and inadequate first touches, no one was willing to slow down the play.

It was a routine not broken until the 77th minute when Cazarine shook the game up. Minutes earlier, the Brazilian went close as a cross only just eluded his sliding effort. But this time he was inch perfect when he showed his strength by turning young defender Sam Gallaway before finishing into the far corner.

But Cazarine-s strike proved to be a short-lived lead for Sydney when substitute Petrovski equalised in the 83rd minute. A nothing free-kick was made special by the towering and dominant Topor-Stanley, who out-muscled his marker and directed his header across the face of goal. Petrovski, lurking at the far post, was presented with a tap-in that he didn-t hesitate to snatch.

Neither side was content with a draw as the game drew to a close. Cole saw his volley in injury time go over the cross-bar and for Newcastle, Marko Jesic latched onto a poor Keller back-pass, but hit his shot wide.

With the last play of the game, a Jets free-kick found an unmarked Petrovski whose header across goal was saved by Necevski and deflected into the path of Topor-Stanley, who was situated just a few yards out with an open goal looming.

But the ball came too quick for the big defender to react and it hit his thigh before going over the cross-bar, ending the game for Newcastle with a sour taste.

Sydney FC host the Wellington Phoenix at the Sydney Football Stadium on Wednesday 9 February (7pm kick-off).

Newcastle Jets: 1 (Sasho PETROVSKI 85-)
Sydney FC: 1 (Bruno CAZARINE 77-)

Sydney FC line-up: 3. Stephan KELLER, 6. Hirofumi MORIYASU (12. Shannon COLE 74-), 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. Bruno CAZARINE 10. Nick CARLE (2. Sebastian RYALL 84-), 15. Terry McFLYNN (c) 17. Matthew JURMAN, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 21. Scott JAMIESON, 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN, 24. Dimitri PETRATOS (18. Juho MAKELA 44-).

Substitutes Not Used: 30. Dylan Mitchell (gk).
Yellow Cards: 18. Juho MAKELA 73-
Red Cards: Nil.
Goals: 9. Bruno CAZARINE 77-

Newcastle Jets line-up: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 14. Labinot HALITI (31. Jacob PEPPER 84-), 16. Jeremy BROCKIE (13. Sasho PETROVSKI 67-), 18. Marko JESIC, 19. Ali ABBAS (26. James VIRGILI 67-), 25. Samuel GALLAWAY, 28. Mario SIMIC

Substitutes Not Used: 40. Matthew NASH (gk).
Yellow Cards: 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY 89-, 11. Tarek ELRICH 90 + 1-
Red Cards: Nil.
Goals: 13. Sasho PETROVSKI 67-

Referee: Peter GREEN.