A goal to the departing Matt Jurman wasn’t enough for Sydney FC to secure a win in their final 2011 AFC Champions League match against Kashima Antlers on Tuesday afternoon in Tokyo.
A goal to the departing Matt Jurman wasn-t enough for Sydney FC to secure a win in their final 2011 AFC Champions League match against Kashima Antlers on Tuesday afternoon in Tokyo.
Despite taking an early lead Kashima hit back with two second half goals to snatch the win. The first half displayed some of Sydney-s better football and they deservingly held the lead. But poor defensive organisation allowed Kashima to equalise before a free kick took a deflection after it passed the wall to go a long way to securing Kashima a home knock-out final match.
The fixture was a dead-rubber and the early tempo seemed to emphasise that as neither side looked to attack with any real conviction in the early stages.
Despite the snail-like start to the match it was Sydney that kept possession better and found space in midfield. Bruno Cazarine, after just one minute, found himself in space on the left but saw his low shot across goal saved by the feet of the Hitoshi Sogahata.
It wasn-t until 10 minutes later that the first real attacking-minded play was launched down the left between Scott Jamieson and Nicky Carle. The pair linked up to release Jamieson down the wing before the left-back returned the ball to Carle in the box.
Once more, though, the keeper was up to the challenge presented and denied Sydney.
Kashima Antlers struggled to settle into a groove in the wet conditions and relied on a 15th minute corner for their first opportunity. It almost proved a vital chance as a tricky near post flick-on was well saved by Liam Reddy.
The chance sparked Kashima into life as they began to dictate the play and move the ball around. Loose passes from Sydney were latched on and Kashima unleashed numerous shots that failed to test Reddy anymore than catching practice.
But Sydney knew the dangers of letting Kashima settle into a strong routine and launched a dangerous counter-attack through David Williams. The winger, released from a classy ball by Rhyan Grant, saw his shot deflected and out for a corner.
It was from this set-piece that Sydney found the lead. Jurman, in his last game for Sydney FC, leaped above the pack and connected well to head the ball past Sogahata.It was a just reward for the Sky Blues who, despite a short period before the goal, looked the better side. Kashima were slow and lacked a clinical edge. The stats showed they held more possession but that was more down to an organised Sydney defence that didn-t look to press the Antlers when they were passing around the back.
Sydney looked to push forward, albeit at a pace which could have been quickened, and deserved the half-time lead.
The second-half was a scrappy affair early. Kashima showed no signs of changing the course of the first half as they sloppily failed to capitalise on any ball in the final third. Similarly, though, Sydney FC didn-t look likely to test Sogahata in the first 20 of the second term.
It wasn-t until the 64th minute that Kashima had a real threatening chance and they took it well. A simple cross was all the Antlers required to equalise as the ball in was headed back across goal to Yuya Osaka who had far too much space in the area. The volley, though, was a bullet strike as it rattled into the top corner.
The second half comeback was completed by the home side as they looked ever more dangerous as the half continued. The winner came from a free kick in the 84th minute which went through the wall and, despite an unsighted Reddy diving full stretch, into the bottom corner.
Kashima Antlers FC: 2 (OSAKO 64-, NOZAWA 84-)
Sydney FC: 1 (Matthew JURMAN 26-)
Kashima Antlers FC line-up: 3. Daiki IWAMASA, 6. Koji NAKATA (19. Masahijo INOHA 29-), 7. Toru ARAIBA, 8. Takuya NOZAWA, 9. Yuya OSAKO (18. CARLAO 77-), 15. Takeshi AOKI, 21. Hitoshi SOGAHATA (gk), 22. Diago NISHI, 25. Yasushi ENDO, 26. Koyano KENJI (11. Fellyppe GABRIEL 60-), 40. Mitsuo OGASAWARA (c).
Substitutes Not Used: 1. Tetsu SUGIYAMA (gk), 14. Chikashi MASUDA, 20. Shibasaki GAKU, 24. Toma TAKEFUMI.
Yellow Cards: 3. Daiki IWAMASA 81-.
Red Cards: Nil.
Goals: 9. Yuya OSAKO 64-, 8. Takuya NOZAWA 84′.
Sydney FC line-up: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 3. Stephan KELLER, 5. Andrew DURANTE (2. Sebastian RYALL 72), 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. Bruno CAZARINE, 10. Nicky CARLE (6. Hirofumi MORIYASU 69-), 14. David WILLIAMS, 15. Terry MCFLYNN (C) (11. Kofi DANNING 87′) 17. Matthew JURMAN, 21. Scott JAMIESON, 23. Rhyan GRANT.
Substitutes Not Used: 12. Shannon COLE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), Joel CHIANESE.
Yellow Cards: 5. Andrew DURANTE 16-, 21. Scott JAMIESON 72-, 17. Mathew JURMAN 81-.
Red Cards: Nil.
Goals: 17. Mathew JURMAN 26-.
Referee: Khalol Al Ghamdi (Saudi Arabia).
Crowd: 3 164 at Tokyo National Stadium.