Late free kick denies Sky Blues NYL win


Anthony Proia’s late free kick earned Melbourne Victory a 2-2 draw against Sydney FC in the Foxtel National Youth League at Lakeside Stadium on Monday.

Anthony Proia’s late free kick earned Melbourne Victory a 2-2 draw against Sydney FC in the Foxtel National Youth League at Lakeside Stadium on Monday.

Sydney FC twice had leads cancelled out with Max Burgess’ long range belter being equalised by Chris Cristaldo before Blake Powell’s calm finish looked to have sealed the three points.

But substitute Proia stepped up just before the 90 minutes to place his free kick in the bottom corner and ensure Victory a share of the points.

In a dynamic start to the match, Victory should have taken the lead after two minutes but Sydney goalkeeper Ivan Necevski tipped Jesse Makarounas’ point blank shot on to the crossbar after Connor Pain’s drilled cross.

Two minutes later, Sydney had their own clear cut chance as Chris Naumoff followed up a stinging long-range drive by just lifting the ball over the bar from inside the six-yard box.

The action continued immediately as Victory swept the ball down other end with Cristaldo’s low cross being thumped into the crossbar by Pain.
An exchange between James Jeggo and Pain saw a low cross drilled in which the former could only sidefoot inches wide of the right post.

Sydney regularly threatened from long range in the first-half and after Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas brilliantly tipped over Anthony Tomelic’s scorching shot from distance, the away side took the lead on 26 minutes from a similar scenario.

Holding midfielder Burgess picked the ball up in midfield and rifled a stinging drive into the top corner from 30 yards that a diving Thomas could get nowhere near.

Necevski looked unbeatable between the Sydney goal, making three excellent saves in a minute off Cristaldo, James Karvelis and Pain before denying Milos Ridesic’s header from point-blank in the shadows of half time.

Victory came out fired up in the second half after Pain volleyed narrowed over the bar, the home side equalised in the 54th minute after some exquisite skill from James Jeggo.

The Victory playmaker lifted the ball over the defence into the path of Cristaldo, who rounded Necevski and slotted into the empty net.

Losing their advantage seemed to spring the Sky Blues to life, and their two substitutes with plenty of A-League experience combined to restore the lead.

Terry Antonis, who has missed this whole campaign with a serious calf injury, returned to set up Powell’s low shot that was driven into the bottom corner.

It appeared Sydney would hold on for Victory until they conceded a free kick right near the edge of the penalty area.

Proia’s placed free kick was within saving range for Necevski but the Sydney custodian could not get a strong enough hand on it to claw it out.

Antonis went close with a free kick in stoppage time but the late Sydney pressure amounted to nothing.

With the result shared, Sydney remain in first place on the NYL ladder; 11 points clear of second-placed Victory.

Melbourne Victory 2 (Cristaldo 54′ Proia 89′)
Sydney FC 2 (Burgess 26′, Powell 65)
HT: 0-1

Melbourne Victory: 2. Christian Cavallo, 3. Milos Ridesic, 4. James Karvelis, 6. Jordan Brown, 7. Chris Cristaldo, 8. Luc Jeggo (C), 9. Jesse Makarounas (19. Luka Prelevic 62′), 10. James Jeggo (14. Anthony Proia 62′), 11. Connor Pain (12. Anthony Duzel 62′), 15. Damien Miskulin, 20. Lawrence Thomas (GK)

Sydney FC:1. Ivan Necevski (GK), 2. Luke Clifford, 4. Jacob Tratt (C), 5. Daniel Petkovski (10. Blake Powell 45′), 6. Dylan Caton (12. Terry Antonis 58′), 8. Max Burgess, 9. Mitch Mallia, 11. Alec Urosevski, 15. Themba Muata-Marlow, 16. Chris Naumoff, 18. Anthony Tomelic