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Dec 23, 2023   |  8:19PM AET

Festive Season Gifts Sydney FC Three Points

Festive Season Gifts Sydney FC Three Points

Sydney FC went into Christmas on a winning note, after a 4-2 victory over Western United.

Sydney FC 4 (Fabio 26’, Lolley 40’, 90’, Rodwell 47’) def. Western United 2 (Thurgate 5’, Grimaldi 84’)

Moments That Mattered

5’ – THURGATE GOAL – Thurgate emerges unmarked at the back post to head in Wales’ corner delivery.

26’ – FABIO GOAL – Fabio tucks away a close-range finish from Girdwood-Reich’s header after Western cannot clear their lines.

40’ – LOLLEY GOAL – Lolley picks the ball up 30 yards from goal and flashes a pinpoint hit low into the bottom corner.

47’ – RODWELL GOAL – Lolley’s corner finds Rodwell at the far post, whose looping header finds the net.

Sydney FC celebrate Jack Rodwell’s goal.

55’ – HEWARD-BELLE SAVES – A series of great saves from Heward-Belle prevents Sydney’s lead becoming unassailable.

63’ – WESTERN WASTE DOUBLE CHANCE – Wales and Botic both pass up excellent chances on the attack to pull the game back.

84’ – GRIMALDI GOAL – Grimaldi finishes high into the net to give United hope.

90’ – LOLLEY GOAL – Game over in stoppage time, as Lolley grabs his second to wrap up victory.

What They Said: Ufuk Talay: “It’s nice to get the three points and to win the game, but I’m not as happy with the performance, to be honest.

“Our pressing wasn’t good in the first half, and the back line dropped off too early within the game, allowing them to play through the lines. I let the boys know my feelings at half-time, and I think in the second half we came out with a different mentality. There were things we did a little bit better and we created moments where we could have killed the game off, but we still at times dropped off too early without the ball.

Lacerda and Caceres get stuck into Wales

“The intent is there, which is first and foremost for me, very important. What’s vital for me is that we don’t just beat the opponent, we’re also the better team. We want to play a certain brand of football and win the game at the same time.”

Match Report: Sydney FC fans’ Christmas wish was granted on Saturday evening, as the Sky Blues claimed a 4-2 win over Western United at the Allianz Stadium.

The hosts were required to come from behind for the victory, after Angus Thurgate headed the men from Melbourne in front inside five minutes.

Fabio Gomes levelled the contest 20 minutes later, before Joe Lolley hit the first of a brace to put Sydney into a half-time lead.

Players celebrate Fabio’s goal.

Jack Rodwell notched his first A-League goal for the club shortly after the break, and despite Matthew Grimaldi’s consolation, Lolley polished off the points with a late fourth.

Ufuk Talay made a solitary change from his side’s last outing at Melbourne Victory, as Andrew Redmayne reclaimed his place in goal having served a one-match suspension.

But it did not take long for Western to breach the Sky Blues’ resistance, as with five minutes on the clock, a Lachlan Wales corner drifted to the back post – where an unchallenged Thurgate was there to head in the opener.

Sydney responded and looked to create a real threat, as Jake Girdwood-Reich fizzed the most inviting of low crosses along the six-yard line, but no one was on hand to meet it.

Luke Brattan also drove a shot wide, before Wales possibly could have done better at the other end to divert Riku Danzaki’s ball towards goal.

And that chance for Western did serve its punishment, in Brazilian style.

A set-play from the left-hand side wreaked havoc in the visitors’ defence, as the ball bounced around in the area. Girdwood-Reich won his header, allowing Fabio to equalise from close range.

Robbie Mak battles Garuccio

And after Redmayne took in a shot on target from Thurgate, Sydney were back in the driving seat and made the pressure count, as Lolley turned the scoreline around.

The Englishman set himself from all of 30 yards, the accuracy taking his left-footed drive beyond an unsighted Tom Heward-Belle and into the far corner for a half-time Sky Blue lead.

The second half began in ruthless fashion for Talay’s men, and crucially the third goal took precious little time to arrive.

Rodwell rose highest at the far post to double the lead, sending a looping header over Heward-Belle’s head from Lolley’s corner.

Chances came and went as Heward-Belle kept United in it, denying Fabio on two occasions as well as Anthony Caceres, all with a string of good stops.

The away side did create themselves, as Wales and Noah Botic both skewed genuine chances wide in an attempt to claw a way back.

Sydney stood firm until the final six minutes, when Grimaldi came off the bench to produce an instant impact, finishing high into Redmayne’s net to add the pressure.

And after a momentary scare as Michael Ruhs’ goal was chalked off for an infringement late on, Sydney duly sealed the game.

Santa arrived as Christmas came early for the Sky Blues

Lolley took it upon himself to send a clinical shot into the top corner two minutes into the allotted four of injury time, gift-wrapping the Sydney FC faithful’s Christmas gift.

The visit of Talay’s former club Wellington Phoenix to the Allianz on December 29 signs off 2023, as the Sky Blues search for successive wins.

Sydney FC: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 6. Jack RODWELL (12. Corey HOLLMAN 67’), 8. Jake GIRDWOOD-REICH, 9. Fabio GOMES (13. Pat WOOD 90’), 10. Joe LOLLEY (19. Mitch GLASSON 90’), 11. Robert MAK (28. Nathan AMANATIDIS 73’), 15. Gabriel LACERDA, 16. Joel KING, 17. Anthony CACERES (22. Max BURGESS 73’), 23. Rhyan GRANT, 26. Luke BRATTAN ©.

Unused Subs: 20. Adam PAVLESIC (GK), 4. Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS.

Yellow Cards: Girdwood-Reich (3’), Amanatidis (90’)

Red Cards:

Western United: 1. Tom HEWARD-BELLE (GK), 6. Tomoki IMAI, 8. Lachlan WALES (39. Matthew GRIMALDI 80’), 11. Daniel PENHA, 17. Benjamin GARUCCIO, 19. Josh RISDON ©, 21. Sebastian PASQUALI (42. Rhys BOZINOVSKI 58’), 27. Jacob TRATT, 32. Angus THURGATE, 38. Noah BOTIC, 77. Riku DANZAKI (9. Michael RUHS 69’).

Unused Subs: 33. Matthew SUTTON (GK), 10. Steven LUSTICA, 22. Kane VIDMAR, 24. Connor O’TOOLE.

Yellow Cards: Risdon (16’)

Red Cards: None

Venue: Allianz Stadium

Referee: Jonathan Barreiro