Sydney FC’s ambitious January investment in Reza Ghoochannejhad appears set to start paying rich rewards.
Lured on loan from APOEL just over a month ago, the signing of the well-credentialled 31-year-old marked a serious statement of intent about the Sky Blues’ plans for the Hyundai A-League and AFC Champions League.
He arrived with an enviable resume, having demonstrated his scoring prowess in the Netherlands, Belgium and at the FIFA World Cup.
And now the Iran international is off the mark in the Hyundai A-League.
Ghoochannejhad broke his duck in Friday night’s accomplished 2-0 victory over Adelaide United, putting the Sky Blues on the path to an important three points with a well-taken first-half finish.
Four goalless games at the outset of the striker’s Sydney FC career had provided pause for thought as to whether introducing another natural centre-forward was beneficial for the free-scoring Adam Le Fondre.
But the pair’s clever combination in the 15th minute at Leichhardt Oval offered an insight into just how their promising partnership could grow into something special.
Ghoochannejhad was involved at the start of the one-touch move that bamboozled Adelaide for the opener, setting the play into motion and continuing his run into the box.
His developing understanding with Le Fondre then led the competition’s top scorer to cushion a deft pass into his team-mate’s path, and all that remained was for Paul Izzo to be nutmegged at close range.
Ghoochannejhad later drew a superb fingertip save from the Adelaide gloveman as he sought to double his tally with one of five total shots, three of which were on target.
The former Charlton Athletic and Heerenveen man ultimately went unfulfilled in his bid for a brace but it mattered little in the end with Sydney FC, who are still in the hunt for the Premiers Plate, gaining an exciting glimpse of just what their new front two can do.