Sydney FC comes from behind twice in 2-2 draw


Sydney FC showed tremendous character and an improved performance to come from behind twice in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Perth Glory at nib Stadium tonight.

Sydney FC showed tremendous character and an improved performance to come from behind twice in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Perth Glory at nib Stadium tonight.

Sydney FC defender Sebastian Ryall scored an 82nd minute equaliser after Jason Culina had earlier taken another significant step forward in his comeback with his first goal for the Sky Blues, both cancelling out strikes by A-League marksman Shane Smeltz.

The late equaliser was well deserved for Sydney FC, who dominated the second half with a strong possession-based performance in a positive sign ahead of two home matches in the next week against Melbourne Heart (January 13) and Wellington Phoenix (January 19).

Sky Blues coach Frank Farina stuck with Aaron Calver in defence after the 16-year-old made his debut off the bench last weekend while Alessandro Del Piero, Ali Abbas and Culina all returned to the starting line up.

The game started in stiflingly hot conditions as both teams looked to improve on recent results. It made for a tough, no-nonsense encounter, with neither side able to settle into a rhythm.

Perth thought they had taken an early lead when Travis Dodd poked home a loose ball following a free kick in the 8th minute but he was rightfully adjudged to be off side.

Sydney FC came close through Culina in the 25th minute before Vedran Janjetovic made two brilliant saves to in quick succession midway through the first term.

The match looked like getting to half time scoreless before Smeltz proved why he is the leading goalscorer in A-League history with a bullet header from a Josh Risdon cross in the 40th minute and Glory held the 1-0 advantage until the break.

Sydney FC came out of the blocks after the half time break and managed to wrestle the momentum from the home side, keeping possession and putting Perth under pressure.

The change in tide bore fruit in the 63rd minute when Culina scored his first Sydney FC goal in what was a special moment for the Socceroo. The goal was made by Culina-s Sky Blues and long time Socceroo team mate Brett Emerton who found space out wide and whipped in a delightful cross that Culina buried with a strong header at the far post.

Culina could have had a double in the 72nd minute when he latched onto a cut back from substitute Joel Chianese but his shot went over the cross bar.

Sydney FC-s goal sparked the home side into life but even with both sides pushing hard for a winner in an end-to-end contest Sydney FC looked the team most likely to take all three points.

But there were a few late twists, firstly through Smeltz again who hit the back of the net in the 80th minute, smashing the ball home from the edge of the penalty area after a strong run from Travis Dodd.

Two minutes later Ryall levelled the scores for the Sky Blues with a smart finish from a Del Piero free kick as Sydney FC showed tremendous character to come from behind again to make it 2-2.

After two weeks on the road, Sydney FC now returns to Allianz Stadium for the first of back-to-back home games against Melbourne Heart on Sunday afternoon. Kick off is at 5pm.

Sydney FC 2 (Culina 63, Ryall 82) drew Perth Glory 2 (Smeltz 39, 80)
nib Stadium
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Crowd: 9,817

Sydney FC: 20.Vedran Janjetovic, 2. Sebastian Ryall, 6. Jason Culina, 7. Brett Emerton, 10. Alessandro Del Piero, 12. Blake Powell (16. Joel Chianese ‘65), 18. Trent McClenahan, 22. Ali Abbas, 23. Rhyan Grant, 26. Peter Triantis, 28. Aaron Calver.
Subs Not Used: 15. Terry McFlynn, 25. Daniel Petkovski, 33. Matthew Nash (gk).
Yellow Cards: McClenahan 57, Emerton 88.

Perth Glory: 1. Danny Vukovic, 5. Steve Pantelidis, 7. Jacob Burns, 8. Dean Heffernan, 9. Shane Smeltz, 10. Liam Miller, 12. Ryo Nagai (17. Chris Harrold ‘64), 13. Travis Dodd, 14. Steve McGarry, 19. Joshua Risdon, 21. Scott Jamieson.
Subs Not Used: 6. Nick Ward, 15. Brandon O-Neal, 30. Lewis Italiano (gk).
Yellow Cards: Heffernan 56, Vukovic 67, Harrold 87.