Sydney FC crunch Gold Coast 2-0

Sydney FC notched a hat-trick of firsts at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night as they bagged their first ever win against Gold Coast United, with both Dimitri Petratos and newly-signed Finnish striker Juho Makela netting their first goals in Sky Blue colours.

Sydney FC notched a hat-trick of firsts at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night as they bagged their first ever win against Gold Coast United, with both Dimitri Petratos and newly-signed Finnish striker Juho Makela netting their first goals in Sky Blue colours.

Petratos opened the scoring in the 32nd minute with a blistering shot that Gold Coast keeper Glen Moss could do little about, before Makela slotted home in second-half injury time on his home game debut to send the Cove faithful into hysterics.

The win sets up a mouth-watering clash next Saturday night when the Sky Blues host arch rivals Melbourne Victory at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday 15 January (7:30pm kick-off).

“We played them three times last season and didn’t win, then this season twice and the same, but tonight it changed,” said coach Vitezslav Lavicka.

“Everyone is happy; the boys worked very hard and deserved a good result. We have two victories in a row so the confidence is coming back. The season is still going and if there is a chance mathematically to play in the finals series we will fight until the last moment.”

Despite the result it was Gold Coast who found an early rhythm to dominate the opening 15 minutes, with Bruce Djite scuffing a low shot wide from inside the area, before talented midfielder Zenon Caravella slinked into the box several minutes later, but he too sent his shot wide. Djite and Caravella’s efforts were United’s best of the half, and they would soon come to rue the missed opportunities.

With Hayden Foxe out through injury, the job of marshalling Sydney’s defence fell on the shoulders of Stephan Keller, who defended well alongside Matty Jurman as Sydney FC soaked up the Gold Coast pressure comfortably.

From fifteen minutes onwards the Sky Blues turned the tables and piled the pressure on Gold Coast’s backline. Nicky Carle, who played like a man possessed after weeks on the sidelines, fired a long range drive that keeper Moss struggled to parry clear, while Bruno Cazarine came close to connecting with several well placed thru-balls from the likes of Hirofumi Moriyasu and Carle.

With the momentum clearly in Sydney’s favour the Sky Blues’ confidence visibly rose, and just after the half hour mark young gun Petratos bagged his first goal in Sydney colours with an absolute screamer of a shot.

Moriyasu sliced Gold Coast’s defence with an inch-perfect thru-ball into the edge of the penalty area that Petratos blasted first-touch across the face of the goal and into the top corner of the net – a fantastic goal to open his A-League account.

“He scored a spectacular goal, and did a very good performance,” said Lavicka.

The second half got underway with similar pace but with a lot less chances from either side. More inventive attacking from Petratos and Carle kept Sydney looking dangerous, while Keller even made his way into the box on several occasions.

Neither side however created any real chances until the 63rd minute when a heavy challenge on Moriyasu from behind earned Gold Coast midfielder Steven Fitzsimmons a red card from match referee Chris Beath.

Sydney FC sought to capitalise on the extra-man advantage but Gold Coast were far from looking done and dusted despite being a man and a goal down. But the Blues midfield and defence kept calm and in control, allowing Vitezslav Lavicka to substitute midfielder Moriyasu for recently signed Finnish striker Juho Makela in the 74th minute.

Making his second appearance after coming on in the closing stages of last Monday’s win over Newcastle, Makela should have scored in the 87th when Scott Jamieson fired an inviting cross into the 6-yard box that Makela managed to get a head on, but couldn’t direct it goalwards.

Cazarine then almost put the match to bed with a delightful back heel in the 89th from a Nicky Carle cross; the Brazilian was unlucky not to score after a superb performance tonight. Both he and Dimitri Petratos were substituted to a deserved standing ovation from the Sydney faithful.

In the 92nd minute though the fairytale was completed as Sebastian Ryall slid a delightful ball into the area for a galloping Makela to slot into the back of the net and open his A-League account.

“It’s always a fantastic feeling to score, especially today being my first home game here in Sydney,” Makela said after the match.

“I missed the first cross from Scott Jamieson and didn’t score from that, but I got another chance from Sebastian Ryall and I’m very happy. I hope to start playing in the starting line-up, it means a lot to me.”

Match Detail:

Sydney FC: 1 (Dimitri PETRATOS 32-, Juho MAKELA 90+3)
Gold Coast United:

Sydney FC line-up: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 3. Stephan KELLER, 6.Hirofumi MORIYASU (18. Juho MALEKA 74-), 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. Bruno CAZARINE, 10. Nicky CARLE (2. Sebastian RYALL 90-), 15.Terry MCFLYNN (c), 17. Matt JURMAN, 21. Scott JAMIESON, 22.Sung-Hwan BYUN, 24. Dimitri PETRATOS (12.Shannon COLE 83-)

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

Yellow Cards: 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN, 65-, 15. Terry MCFLYNN 68-
Red Cards: Nil.
Goals: 24. Dimitri PETRATOS 32-, 18. Juho MAKELA 90+3

Gold Coast United line-up: 1. Glen MOSS (gk), 3. Michael THWAITE, 5. ROBSON (25. Chris BROADFOOT 35-), 6. Dino DJULBIC, 7. Zenon CARAVELLA, 11. Bruce DJITE (24. John CURTIS 66-), 13. Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 15. Tahj MINNIECON (27. Chris HAROLD 46-), 16. Kristian REES, 22. Adama TRAORE, 23. Steven FITZSIMMONS

Substitutes Not Used: 20. Scott HIGGINS (gk),
Yellow Cards: 13. Bas VAN DEN BRINK 60-
Red Cards: 23. Steve FITZSIMMONS 64-
Goals: Nil.

Referee: Chris BEATH
Crowd: 6 135 at the Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney.