Sydney FC and Melbourne share the points

A second goal in as many games from Juho Makela helped Sydney FC secure a point against Melbourne Victory on Saturday night, as the two teams played out their sixth draw in ten games at the Sydney Football Stadium.

A second goal in as many games from Juho Makela helped Sydney FC secure a point against Melbourne Victory on Saturday night, as the two teams played out their sixth draw in ten games at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Despite almost total first-half domination in which Sydney fired 16 shots on Melbourne’s goal, a 52nd minute Daniel Allsopp goal was almost enough for Victory as Sydney needed an injury time equaliser from Makela to keep their finals hopes alive.

“My feelings are mixed,” said coach Vitezslav Lavicka.”I think both teams played a very good game tonight. We did a great first half, good effort, good quality, we created chances but we didn-t score the goal.”

“The second half we started a bit shaky and Victory punished us after a good counter. We made a couple of substitutions and changed the system for the last ten minutes and equalised. But as I said before, my feelings are mixed.”

The second highest crowd this season saw 11,387 supporters through the gates on a hot and muggy evening, and after a moment of silence in honour of the Queensland flood victims the match kicked off in typical fast paced fashion.

Sydney came out guns blazing and leaned on Melbourne’s backline right from the start, winning several corners and striking multiple shots on goal within the opening five minutes.

It was a pattern that would continue throughout the first 45 with Sydney dominating in midfield. Captain Terry McFlynn and Nicky Carle controlled the Blues’ attacking strategy in the centre of the park, allowing Scott Jamieson and Sung Hwan Byun to constantly create trouble down the wings.

After a barrage of shots and corners, Sydney’s best chance came on the half hour mark when Jamieson fired a cross into the box that Bruno Cazarine headed towards goal from almost point blank range. The crowd rose to their feet but somehow Melbourne keeper Michael Petkovic stuck a leg out to block what seemed a certain goal.

Young gun Dimitri Petratos continued his impressive form of late up front, firing several shots on goal and providing plenty of pace and creativity in attack. He got the better of two Melbourne defenders in the 36th minute but struck a low shot wide, before combining well with Hirofumi Moriyasu several minutes later inside the penalty area, but this time it was the post that denied a Moriyasu shot.

Melbourne was struggling to even get the ball out of their own half, let alone create goal scoring chances.

Their best chance of the half came in the opening 15 minutes when Daniel Allsopp failed to connect to a cross on the edge of the six yard box.

In the 38th it was Allsopp again with another half chance, but solid Sydney defending ensured an almost complete Melbourne shutout in the opening 45, which closed to a blistering long range shot from Moriyasu that just sailed over the crossbar.

The boys in Blue went into the dressing rooms to a standing ovation from Sydney fans, and in the driving seat for a much-needed three points.

But as happens so often in football, the second half was a completely different story.

Victory coach Ernie Merrick made two changes, swapping Ricardinho and Leigh Broxham for Mate Dugandzic and Matthew Foshini, with the switch paying almost immediate dividends.

Just six minutes in Victory’s Carlos Hernandez struck what was arguably one of the passes of the season from the wing right into the path of Allsop, who struck a first time shot towards the Sydney goal. Moriyasu did well to block Allsopp’s shot but an unfortunate deflection saw the ball loop over Liam Reddy’s hands and into the net to give Melbourne a surprise lead.”At times (during the first half) we were keeping the ball for 5, 6, 7 passes then getting shots on goal, but we didnt put them in the net,” said McFlynn after the game.

“Melbourne sat deep, tried to catch us on the counter, and they scored early in the second and we tried to get back into the game after that.”

Lavicka responded with a change of his own, bringing on Makela for Moriyasu, before subbing Byun for Shannon Cole in the 67th.

Melbourne continued to apply the lion’s share of pressure, before Sydney’s substitutes started making an impact of their own. Cole dazzled Melbourne’s defence with several stepovers before shooting wide, while Nicky Carle came close with an edge-of-the-box shot in the 76th.

Sydney’s best chance came when Carle slid a thru-ball to an unmarked Petratos in the centre of the box with ten minutes to play, but the youngster uncharacteristically mistimed his shot, missing the ball altogether.

In the final ten minutes the Blues resurrected their first half dominance and finally got their reward in the last minute of injury time, when Nicky Carle passed the ball to an unmarked Makela who sidefooted an easy finish into the back of the net to snatch a draw at the death.

“We finished the stronger, but maybe the goal came a little bit too late. If we had have scored earlier the momentum was with us to go on and hopefully win the game, but the clock beat us in the end,” McFlynn said.

Match Detail:

Sydney FC: 1 (MAKELA 90+1′)
Melbourne Victory FC: 1 (ALLSOPP 51′)

Sydney FC line-up: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 3. Stephan KELLER, 6. Hirofumi MORIYASU (18. Juho MAKELA 55′), 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. Bruno CAZARINE, 10. Nick CARLE, 15. Terry McFLYNN (c) (2. Sebastian RYALL 85′), 17. Matthew JURMAN, 21. Scott JAMIESON, 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN (12. Shannon COLE 67′), 24. Dimitri PETRATOS.

Substitutes Not Used: 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk).

Yellow Cards: Nil.
Red Cards: Nil.
Goals: 18. Juho MAKELA 90+1′

Melbourne Victory FC line-up: 1. Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 4. Petar FRANJIC, 6. Leigh BROXHAM (3. Mate DUGANDZIC 46′), 8. Grant BREBNER (c), 9. RICARDINHO (17. Matthew FOSCHINI 46′), 11. Marvin ANGULO, 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diogo FERREIRA, 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ (15. Tomislav PONDELJAK 83′), 18. Daniel ALLSOPP.

Substitutes Not Used: 20. Sebastian MATTEI (gk).

Yellow Cards: 9. RICARDINHO 29′, 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ 81′, 1. Michael PETKOVIC 90+2′.
Red Cards: Nil.
Goals: 18. Daniel ALLSOPP 51′.

Referee: Matthew BREEZE
Crowd: 11 387 at the Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney.