Sydney FC NYL had to settle for a point following a dramatic comeback to draw 3-3 with Melbourne City at Lambert Park on Sunday.
A slow start from the Sky Blues had them on the back foot from the outset when they went a goal down after only one minute after a clumsy challenge on the edge of the box saw Melbourne City captain Philip Petreski step up and curl his free kick over the wall and into the top corner to open the scoring.
Sydney FC had the chance to draw level a four minutes later when George Blackwood was bundled over in the penalty area by the City keeper and the referee pointed to the spot with Christopher Naumoff stepping up, however his strike smashed against the base of the post and bounced to safety letting Melbourne City off the hook.
A series of near misses by the Sky Blues proved costly as a Blackwood header was cleared off the line and Jordan Tsekenis was through with only the keeper to beat but had his effort smothered.
Sydney FC suffered a set back when they lost skipper Jacob Tratt after 35 minutes due to an ankle injury following a late and reckless tackle by City striker, Stefan Zinni.
Melbourne City went up 2-0 on the 36 minute mark when, against the run of the play, Anthony Rizk fired home a loose ball after beating the Sydney FC defence.
Rizk went from hero to villain only minutes later when he brought down Naumoff in a last man tackle and was shown a straight red card, with Sydney FC receiving their second penalty of the match. This time it was George Blackwood who accepted the spot kick task and he coolly slotted home sending the keeper the other way to make the score 2-1.
Just as it seemed the Sky Blues would nab an equaliser, they conceded to the 10 man City outfit on a counter attack in the 46th minute as Herman Espindola broke down the left and drove his shot across Anthony Bouzanis inside the back post for a 3-1 lead at the break.
Sydney FC’s Foxtel National Youth League Head Coach, Steve Corica, threw out the challenge to his players at half time to dig deep and work hard to get something out of the match in the second stanza.
Melbourne were intent to sit back as they went to a 4-4-1 formation and at times a 4-5 structure to try and close out the game. The young Sky Blues kept launching forward with wave after wave of attacking pressure but the stubborn Melbourne City defence were difficult to break down.
With City attempting to run down the clock, their time wasting strategy soon caught up with them as their keeper, Marko Stevanja, was issued with a second yellow card for time wasting and Melbourne City went down to nine men after 76 minutes.
Further chances went begging for Sydney FC as Themba Muata-Marlow headed just wide while Blackwood also had a point blank header go straight at the keeper with goal gaping.
After an eventful 90 minutes of regulation time, the officials added on 6 minutes of extra time and this seemed to spark the Sydney FC side for one final effort.
It was Blackwood that gave the Sky Blues a glimmer of hope when he flicked on a cross with a deft header over the substitute custodian into the back of the net to reduce the deficit to 3-2 in the 93rd minute.
With Sydney FC throwing everything forward to chase an equaliser, Cristian Gonzalez delivered the ball into the box which was not dealt with by the Melbourne City defenders and the ball fell to the feet of Charles Lokolingoy who rifled in the equaliser in the 95th minute to complete a nail biting 3-3 draw and a share of the spoils.
SYDNEY FC 3 (Blackwood 40′ & 93′; Lokolingoy 95′) drew MELBOURNE CITY 3 (Petreski 1′; Rizk 36′; Espindola 46”)
Sydney FC – Anthony BOUZANIS; Jacob TRATT (Dylan CATON 35′); Themba MUATA-MARLOW; George TIMOTHEOU; Cristian GONZALEZ; Hagi GLIGOR; Max BURGESS; Daniel ARAUJO (Charles LOKOLINGOY 63′); Jordan TSEKENIS (John GROZDANOVSKI 46′); George BLACKWOOD; Christopher NAUMOFF.
Sub Not Used: Luke BABIC (GK)