Sydney FC has faced its first test against Hyundai A-League opposition and passed with flying colours, cruising to a 4-nil win over the North Queensland Fury in a friendly on Saturday night at Shark Park, Cronulla.
Sydney FC has faced its first test against Hyundai A-League opposition and passed with flying colours, cruising to a 4-nil win over the North Queensland Fury in a friendly on Saturday at Shark Park, Cronulla.
In the first ever clash between the teams, the hosts held a narrow 1-nil lead at the break but stormed home to claim a comfortable victory, and an important psychological edge, with Sydney set to kick off its Hyundai A-League campaign in North Queensland on August 8.
“We can-t take too much out of it but the good thing is we-ve kept another clean sheet and we-ve scored four goals,” said Sydney skipper, Steve Corica after the match. “It-s obviously going to be a different team that we play up in North Queensland. We-re looking forward to the challenge though.”
Sydney started in sparkling fashion, showing all the confidence that comes from seven straight trial victories and quickly had the North Queensland defence under pressure.
Pressing forward for a corner, Antony Golec could have given the Sky Blues the lead in the 6th minute but couldn-t get a shot away with the goal at his mercy. It didn-t take long for the hosts to find the opener, however. Another corner was sent sailing to the far post a minute later and Captain Corica made no mistake with the finish, firing the ball back on the angle and giving Fury keeper, Paul Henderson no chance.
Sydney continued to dictate terms and John Aloisi was unlucky not to double the advantage in the 25th minute, denied only by a sharp diving save from Henderson.
The marquee man came even closer six minutes later. Stuart Musialik delivered a pin-point pass for his striker and the Fury keeper needed to be at his best to keep Aloisi-s athletic effort out of the bottom left corner.
Try as they might, the Sky Blues couldn-t extend their advantage before the break but they made the perfect start to the second stanza with Sutherland product, Brendan Gan producing some magic in front of his home fans, two minutes after the restart.
Following a flowing raid up the right, Shannon Cole sent a dangerous cross into the box and a diving Gan gave the Sydney its second with a perfectly placed header.
In the 65th minute Alex Brosque entered the fray, coming on to replace his captain and he almost added his name to the scoreboard immediately, firing off a forceful shot that stranded the keeper but was just wide of the net – with only his second touch of the game.
North Queensland dodged that bullet but soon after a poorly directed back-pass put Kofi Danning on the attack, and after beating the advancing keeper the young striker calmly slotted the ball from an awkward angle to extend the lead to three.
From there the floodgates threatened to open. Twice in the space of two minutes Brosque hit the post as Sydney searched for the killing blow.
The Fury had their best chance of the match in the 83rd minute when Jeremy Brockie shot wide, but two minutes later they were reduced to ten men, with Jason Spagnuolo sent from the field after receiving a second yellow.
The win was already assured, but Terry McFlynn made an early start to the celebrations in the 87th minute, collecting Sydney-s fourth with a calm finish from distance after receiving the ball from Rhyan Grant.
The Sky Blues now have eight-straight friendly wins under their belts and are yet to concede a goal in the process, but coach Vitezslav Lavicka is ensuring all eyes remain on the real prize.
“I have good feeling from this game but no celebrate, pre season still going, (the) season starts in August,” he explained.
Sydney FC will return to the Shire next week where it will face State Premier League powerhouse, Sutherland at Seymour Shaw Park on Wednesday night.
Sydney FC 4 (Corica 7-, Gan 47-, Danning 71-, McFlynn 87-)
North Queensland Fury 0
Sydney FC: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 5. Mitchell PRENTICE, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 10. Steve CORICA (c) (14. Alex BROSQUE 68-), 12. Shannon COLE, 23. John ALOISI (18.Adam CASEY 68-), 25. Matthew JURMAN, 31. Antony GOLEC, 32. Brendan GAN, 34. Rhyan GRANT, 35. Kofi DANNING (15. Terry MCFLYNN 77-).
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk).
Yellow Cards: Brendan Gan 58-, Matthew Jurman 61-, Antony Golec 65-.
Red Cards: nil.
Goals: Steve Corica 7-, Brendan Gan 47-, Kofi Danning 71-, McFlynn 87-.
North Queensland Fury: 1. Paul HENDERSON (gk), 2. Robbie MIDDLEBY, 3. Chris TADROSSE, 4. Scott WILSON, 7. Jason SPAGNUOLO, 11. Brendon SANTALAB (10. Jeremy BROCKIE 50-), 14. Chris GROSSMAN (17. Osama MALIK 54-), 15. Fred AGIUS, 16. Paul KOHLER, 19. Daniel MCBREEN, 21. John TAMBOURAS.
Substitutes Not Used: 12. Martin VASS, 20. Justin PASFIELD (gk).
Yellow Cards: Jason Spanuolo 20-/85-, Brendon Santalab 42-, Osama Malik 63-.
Red Cards: Jason Spanuolo 85-.
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones.
Crowd: 5,283 at Shark Park, Cronulla.