Sydney FC and Victory fight out thrilling 1-1 draw


Allianz Stadium witnessed the match of the season tonight as Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory played out a pulsating 1-1 draw in front of 22,233 fans.

Allianz Stadium witnessed the match of the season tonight as Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory played out a pulsating 1-1 draw in front of 22,233 fans.

Melbourne midfielder Mark Milligan gave the Victory the lead in the 3rd minute before an 85th minute equaliser from Yairo Yau gave the Sky Blues a well-deserved share of the spoils.

That Sydney FC goalkeeper Ivan Necevski and Victory custodian Nathan Coe were the best two players on the park speaks volumes for the attacking brilliance the game provided as chances were created regularly at both ends.

Necevski only came into the game at the last minute after regular Sydney FC goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic was dropped to the bench after arriving late at the stadium, and he took his chance with both hands.

The draw sees Sydney move into 5th position on the A-League ladder ahead of two crucial away matches against Western Sydney and Brisbane Roar.

Terry Antonis led the way for the Sky Blues, producing a career best performance, whilst Tiago Calvano was phenomenal marshalling the troops in the back line.

Frank Farina made two changes to the side that defeated the Mariners last start with Necevski joined in the starting side by Ali Abbas, who replaced the injured Terry McFlynn.

With the first attack of the match, the Victory took the lead through Milligan. Archie Thompson started the attack, releasing Connor Pain down the left flank and the youngster ran to the by-line and sent in a low cross that the Socceroo prodded home.

After the early setback Sydney managed to regain a foothold in the match, dominating possession, although Melbourne Victory were always dangerous.

Abbas also threatened early, combining with Rhyan Grant to float in a great ball to Antonis, which the youngster could only head straight at Coe.

Coe-s next involvement nearly saw the Victory custodian sent from the field. Calvano sent a direct ball in the path of Del Piero, which Coe intercepted catching the ball outside his own area with Del Piero poised to strike but referee Strebre Delovski deemed a yellow card was necessary.

The resultant free kick saw Del Piero fire just over the crossbar, the first of two attempts by the Italian to fly wide in the space of five minutes.

In between the set piece chances for Sydney, Melbourne so nearly doubled their advantage with Thompson seeing a goal bound effort blocked fantastically by Adam Griffiths.

With seven minutes of the first half remaining Allianz Stadium erupted, crying for a penalty after a handball by Leigh Broxham but referee Delovski waved play on and the teams went to the break with the visitors holding a 1-0 lead.

The second half continued at the unrelenting pace the first half produced, with Sydney continuing to lay siege on Coe-s goal.

The first ten minutes of the second stanza saw Sydney miss three golden chances to equalise.

Abbas was the first to go close seeing a swerving drive beat Coe, but frustratingly also the left hand post.

After being fouled for a third time by Broxham, Del Piero finally found his set piece range, seeing his effort deflect off the wall with the rebound falling only inches past the outstretched boot of Antonis.

The Italian then scuffed an effort straight at Coe with the goal at his mercy after being found by a fantastic cross from Brett Emerton on the right hand by-line.

After surviving the onslaught the Victory should have scored only for Necesvki to deny Rojas with an outstanding save after Thompson caught the Sydney defence on the counter.

After seeing his counterpart produce a fantastic save, Coe produced a fine save shortly after, denying Del Piero from the penalty spot. Coe dived full length to his right to divert ADP-s penalty past the far post, redeeming debutant teammate Dylan Murnane, whose handball led to the spot kick.

With Sydney pushing large numbers forward in search of an equaliser chances flowed at both ends with the Victory looking threatening on the counter.

The influx of chances provided both goalkeepers the chance to continue to excel with Necevski stopping Rojas brilliantly on three occasions in the space of five minutes and Coe finger tipping a whizzing Del Piero free-kick onto the crossbar.

With The Cove increasingly anxious, Yairo Yau lifted the roof off the stadium as he headed home an 85th minute equaliser from Sydney-s 14th corner of the night. Del Piero delivered a wicked set piece from the right which Rhyan Grant flicked on to a waiting Yau at the far post, with the Panamanian making no mistake.

Not content with the draw Sydney looked to snatch a late winner with Del Piero, Emerton and Grant all seeing attempts fly the wrong side of the post.

Though a late winner wasn-t found, Sydney can take enormous courage in the race for a spot in the A-League finals series.

Sydney FC 1 (Yairo Yau 85) drew Melbourne Victory 1 (Mark Milligan 3)
Allianz Stadium
Crowd: 22,233
Referee: Strebre DELOVSKI

Sydney FC: 1. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 7. Brett EMERTON, 8. Adam GRIFFITHS, 10. Alessandro DEL PIERO, 13. Tiago CALVANO, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 22. Ali ABBAS (16. Joel CHIANESE 64-), 23. Rhyan GRANT, 26. Peter TRIANTIS (12. Blake POWELL ‘78), 29. Joel GRIFFITHS (21. Yairo YAU ‘71).
Substitute not used: 20. Vedran JANJETOVIC(GK).
Yellow Cards: Ali ABBAS 29-, Sebastian RYALL 31-, Tiago CALVANO 90-

Melbourne Victory: 39. Nathan COE (GK), 5. Mark MILLIGAN, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 10. Archie THOMPSON (13. Diogo FERREIRA ‘84), 11. Marco ROJAS, 14. Billy CELESKI, 21. Spase DILEVSKI (17. James JEGGO ‘69), 31. Scott GALLOWAY, 32. Connor PAIN, 33. Daniel MULLEN, 34. Dylan MURNANE (18. Francesco STELLA ‘86).
Substitute not used: 1. Tando VELAPHI(GK).
Yellow Cards: Nathan COE 16-, Billy CELESKI 32-