Sydney FC clawed back at the death to earn a well-deserved point against Western United on Saturday night at Allianz Stadium
Goals from Robert Mak and Diego Caballo were enough to cancel out three Western United strikes.
Sydney FC 3 (Mak 22’, 89’, Caballo- 59’) Western United 3 (Wales 15’, Pain 26’, Brattan (OG) 58’)
Moments That Mattered:
WALES OPENS SCORING FOR WESTERN- 15’- Connor Pain picks out Lachie Wales with a through ball from midfield, and Wales makes no mistake, looping the ball over Redmayne, into the right-hand side of the net.
MAK DENIED BY GOAL LINE TACKLE- 17’- Joe Lolley slips while crossing, but Caceres manages to stretch and keep the ball in, then cutting it back across the face of goal. Robert Mak looked to have a simple finish, but a goal-line tackle by Nikolai Topor-Stanley denies the Slovak his sixth goal of the season.
MAK LEVELS THE SCORING- 22’- Diego Caballo picks up the ball on the left flank and finds Max Burgess on the edge of the box, who carefully swivels and plays a perfect reverse pass into the path of Robert Mak, who is then able to flick the ball home with the outside of his boot.
PAIN PUTS WESTERN AHEAD AGAIN- 26’- Dylan Pierias breaks down the right wing at speed, but his powerful shot is parried away by Andrew Redmayne, however the ball falls at the feet of Connor Pain who, after taking one touch, steers the ball into the bottom right corner.
BRATTAN OWN GOAL MAKES IT THREE- 58’- Lachie Wales whips in a free kick to the far post, which is headed back across the goalmouth by Captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley, and unfortunately turned in to the Sydney net by Luke Brattan.
CABALLO STRIKES BACK- 59’- Brattan picks up the ball in the far-right side of the box, and plays a lovely dipping cross into the path of Diego Caballo who heads the ball into the bottom right corner of the net, pulling one back for Sydney.
ROBERT MAK IS THE HERO- 89’- Robert Mak pulls away down the left wing, before cutting inside and nutmegging Jacob Tratt. He then cuts onto his right foot, and curls the ball perfectly past Jamie Young, a spectacular finish, to pull the Sky Blues level.
What They Said: Steve Corica: “Obviously it would have been tough to take a loss there, we were sloppy with the goals that we conceded, but we showed great fighting spirit, and Robbie (Mak) scored a great goal.
“It could have went either way, Redders (Redmayne) made some really important saves.
“I thought Jake Girdwood-Reich was excellent today.
“These games against teams lower than us are never easy, and we have some tough games coming up, but we’re confident about making the top six.”
Match Report: Sydney FC looked to bounce back after their derby loss two weeks ago, and would start this tie on the front foot, having almost all of the ball in the first 15 minutes. Chances were created from the off, with a Robert Mak effort being deflected just wide.
The Sky Blue’s early chances would not pay dividends, as Lachie Wales latched onto a ball from Connor Pain and fired a mishit shot over Andrew Redmayne, putting Western United 1-0 up.
A Sky-Blue response was imminent however, as they probed, looking for the chance to level the score. This moment would come through Robert Mak, after Max Burgess turned on the edge of the box and threaded the ball through for the Slovak to flick past Jamie Young into the right bottom corner.
The Sky Blue joy was short lived however, and as Sydney FC looked to turn the game around completely, they were caught out on the counterattack by the pace of Dylan Pierias, who’s rifled shot was palmed away by Andrew Redmayne. Unfortunately for Sydney FC, the ball fell perfectly to Connor Pain, who lashed the ball into the bottom right corner, putting Western ahead for the second time in 10 minutes.
The Sky Blues would attempt to find ways back into the game on multiple occasions, but a solid Western United defence were able to nullify Sydney’s chances at an equaliser. The Sky Blues came closest when Diego Caballo’s low cross was just touched away by Jamie Young, inches away from setting up Robert Mak with an open goal. Sydney FC were unable to forge an equaliser before half time, sending themselves into the break 2-1 down, with lots of work to do in the second half.
Sydney FC kept the pressure on at the beginning of the second half, and were able to carve out some early chances, but to no avail. Their hopes of getting something from this tie looked to be destroyed when Lachie Wales’ free kick found the head of Nikolai Topor-Stanley, who’s header was turned into the Sydney net by Luke Brattan. However, the Sky Blues would waste no time in answering back, and Brattan would waste no time making amends, as he played a perfect dipping ball onto the head of Diego Caballo, who headed it home to give the Sky Blue’s a lifeline.
Sydney FC would continue to push and came agonisingly close to an equaliser when Max Burgess’ shot from the edge of the box hit the outside of the post, then on the follow up, Anthony Caceres had his shot blocked, and Joe Lolley flashed the ball wide on the third attempt, coming within inches of an equaliser.
Sydney would fight hard but would have to wait until the dying moments of the game for any spark of salvation, when Robert Mak took matters into his own hands, and burst down the left wing, before cutting inside, beating a player, and firing a curling effort into the far-right corner, sending the Sydney Fans into jubilation, and equalizing with minutes to go.
Robert Mak’s wonder strike was enough to earn a point for the Sky Blues, and to keep them in the top 6 going into next week’s clash with Adelaide United.
Sydney FC: 1. ANDREW REDMAYNE (GK), 4. ALEX WILKINSON (C), 6. JACK RODWELL, 10. JOE LOLLEY, (25. JAIDEN KUCHARSKI- 85’), 11. ROBERT MAK, 17. ANTHONY CACERES, 18. DIEGO CABALLO, 22. MAX BURGESS, 23. RHYAN GRANT, 26. LUKE BRATTAN, 28. JAKE GIRDWOOD-REICH (9. ADAM LE FONDRE- 63’)
Unused Subs: 20. TOM HEWARD-BELLE (GK), 3. JOEL KING, 12. PATRICK WOOD, 19. ADRIAN SEGECIC, 29. AARON GURD.
Yellow Cards: Caballo- 62’
Red Cards: None
Western United: 1. JAMIE YOUNG (GK), 4. LEO LACROIX, 5. DYLAN PIERIAS (23. ALESSANDRO DIAMANT- 67’), 6. TOMOKI IMAI (27. JACOB TRATT- 67’), 7. TONGO DOUMBIA, 8. LACHIE WALES, 10. STEVEN LUSTICA (21. SEBASTIAN PASQUALI- 76’), 11. CONNOR PAIN (20. RAMY NAJJARINE- 81’), 17. BEN GARUCCIO, 44. NIKOLAI TOPOR-STANLEY, 99. ALEKSANDAR PRIJOVIC (38. NOAH BOTIC- 76’)
Unused Subs: 9. MICHAEL RUHS, 37. RYAN SCOTT (GK)
Yellow Cards: Doumbia- 47’
Red Cards: None
Venue: ALLIANZ STADIUM
Referee: Chris Beath