Sydney FC beat the heat, and Heart in NYL

Sydney FC fought off blistering conditions and an onslaught of first half pressure to complete a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Melbourne Heart in the NYL on Saturday.

Sydney FC fought off blistering conditions and an onslaught of first half pressure to complete a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Melbourne Heart in the NYL on Saturday.

Stefan Mauk had put the Heart ahead early before a late first-half penalty from Josh Macdonald and a brilliant finish from Alec Urosevski in the final stages got the visitors over the line.

The win sees the Sky Blues remain comfortably at the top of the table with the Heart still in eighth place after 14 rounds.

The home side hit in the front after just five minutes thanks to a goal from senior player Mauk, who calmly slotted past Tristan Prendergast after being sent through one-on-one.

They nearly doubled their advantage after Jeremy Walker found Luke O’Dea on the right who rounded the keeper but saw his shot from a tight angle cleared off the line by a lunging Jacob Tratt.

Sensing they had Sydney on the ropes, Heart continue to press and in the 22nd minute Sam Mitchinson found himself with space on the left, whipping in a venomous cross which found Alex Dao who flashed his first-time volley just wide of the near post.

That was the last action before a drinks break was taken with the temperature climbing over 35 degrees.

Heart began to dominate possession after the break with Sydney finding chances hard to come by. A long drive by Max Burgess that blazed over the bar epitomised the away side’s inability to find a way past a well-organised Heart defence.

The game was turned on its head on the stroke of half-time when Urosevski was clumsily brought down in the box with Macdonald slotting the penalty into the bottom right corner to level the scores.

Sydney piled on the pressure as the half drew to a close, but the Heart held on to head into the sheds with the scores level at 1-1.

Both sides failed to create any meaningful chances in the opening stages of the second period as the game grinded into a stalemate.

Sydney started to impose themselves as the half wore on with Urosevski good shot after cutting in from the right in the 71st minute, forcing a good save from Stevanja.

The ever-dangerous Urosevski flashed another shot just wide four minutes later with the Heart struggling to contain the pacey winger.

Mauk then nearly gifted Sydney the lead when he inexplicitly gave the ball away to Nikola Taneski on the edge of the area but the substitute failed to get his shot away after taking for too long on the ball.

Taneski was then given a chance to score once more with his shot from inside the area bringing the best out of Stevanja as Sydney started to dominate proceedings.

They finally made their pressure count in the 85th minute when Urosevski cut inside on his favoured left foot and curled a shot into the top corner, giving the visitors a deserved lead.

The Heart pressed for an equaliser and nearly found it in the with one minute of normal time remaining when Ersin Kaya skipped past three Sydney defenders but his cutback was scrambled clear from inside the six yard box.

That was the home side’s last real chance to get a share of the spoils as Sydney held on for a hard-fought win in the heat.

Melbourne Heart 1 (Mauk 5′)
Sydney FC 2 (Macdonald 43′, Urosevski 85′)

Played at Epping Soccer Stadium

Melbourne Heart: 1. Marko Stevanja (GK) 2. Jeremy Walker 4. David Vrankovic 5. Ross Archibald (C) (7. Hernan Espindola 59′) 6. Stefan Mauk 8. Paulo Retre (3. Phillip Petreski 59′) 9. Luke O’Dea (12. Andrew Mullett 59′) 10. Marcus Schroen 13. Alex Dao 14. Ersin Kaya 15. Sam Mitchinson

Sydney FC: 1. Tristan Prendergast (GK) 3. Aaron Calver 4. Jacob Tratt (C) 5. Daniel Petkovski (2. Luke Clifford 52′) 8. Max Burgess 11. Alec Urosevski 12. Terry Antonis (6. Dylan Caton 54′) 14. Joshua Macdonald 15. Themba Muata-Marlow 16. Christopher Naumoff (7. Nikola Taneski 45′) 18. Anthony Tomelic