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Dec 29, 2023   |  10:44PM AET

Sydney FC secure back-to-back festive wins

Sydney FC secure back-to-back festive wins

Sydney FC rounded off 2023 in style on Friday night, defeating Wellington Phoenix 3-1 at the Allianz Stadium.

Sydney FC 3 (Grant 11’, Mak 86’, Fabio 90’) def. Wellington Phoenix 1 (Barbarouses 81’)

Moments That Mattered

11’ – GRANT GOAL – Lolley’s corner is knocked down by Kucharski for Grant, who finishes beyond Paulsen.

81’ – BARBAROUSES GOAL – Barbarouses is teed up by Van Hattum to equalise against his former club.

86’ – MAK GOAL – Mak is played through by Gomes, before cutting inside his man and finishing well.

90’ – FABIO GOAL – Substitute Fabio slots home a tidy finish to wrap up the year, and the points.

Sydney FC players jump on Rhyan Grant after he opened the scoring.

What They Said: Ufuk Talay: “I thought we were going to drop two points when we conceded the goal, but I think in the first half we pressed them really well in their half and created opportunities from it.

“Going in at 1-0, it’s a dangerous score, and they’re a good counter-attacking team. The way we play is high-risk, high-reward – and we have to defend when they do beat our press.

“We needed players like Jaiden who can play in those spaces against teams who defend deep, and Fabio got his goal and made the goal for Robbie – it was a great impact.”

Sydney FC fans quieten the Wellington faithful.

Match Report: Sydney FC finished the calendar year on a positive note on Friday night, securing successive home wins with a 3-1 success over league leaders Wellington Phoenix at the Allianz Stadium.

The Sky Blues led through Rhyan Grant’s opener, before former Sydney man Kosta Barbarouses equalised in the final 10 minutes.

But Sydney were far from finished, regaining the advantage through Robert Mak before Fabio Gomes put the icing on the cake in stoppage time.

Following a win for Ufuk Talay’s men against his former side, the club now move up two places to eighth on the Isuzu UTE A-League ladder.

Talay opted for the inclusion of Jaiden Kucharski from the offset, with Fabio making way following a bout of illness during the week.

The game showed a demanding and ultimately impressive press from the Sky Blues, who did not take long to grab the first goal, as Grant got his name on the scoresheet.

Immense performance from Sydney FC Captain Luke Brattan on his 100th game.

Joe Lolley’s corner was unable to be cleared by Phoenix as Kucharski got a crucial touch, teeing up Grant to steer home a close-range finish and open the scoring.

Notable other opportunities at either end included a good save from the legs of Andrew Redmayne to prevent a Phoenix leveller, and Kucharski volleying off target shortly before the break.

The second half saw the game stretched as it went on, with Anthony Caceres finding a shot blocked before Pat Wood tested goalkeeper Alexander Paulsen from a tight angle – Max Burgess seeking a cutback in a promising position. From the resulting corner, Jack Rodwell headed wide.

Luke Brattan and Joel King were given framed prints as thanks for their 100 games.

After two chances inside the area from Wood were thwarted, Wellington broke forward and got in behind with nine minutes to go, levelling the match.

And it was a player Sydney and Talay knew all too well, as Barbarouses tapped in Oskar Van Hattum’s square pass to equalise as the New Zealanders were able to get in behind the Sydney press.

With Phoenix looking promising for a point, the hosts were ruthless and struck twofold late on to secure the win, as Fabio made a superb impact with a goal and an assist.

The latter came first, as he played through Mak on the left side of the area. The Slovakian showed trademark composure to cut inside his marker, before lashing a clinical finish into the net to regain the lead.

And the points were signed, sealed and delivered in stoppage time as the Brazilian striker tucked away a neat finish for three.

Next up – following the turn of the year – the Sky Blues are on their travels, with back-to-back away rounds in Brisbane and Adelaide to begin 2024.

Sydney FC players appreciate the supporters.

Sydney FC: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 6. Jack RODWELL (4. Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS 90’), 8. Jake GIRDWOOD-REICH (9. Fabio GOMES 78’), 10. Joe LOLLEY (19. Mitch GLASSON 90’), 11. Robert MAK, 15. Gabriel LACERDA, 16. Joel KING, 17. Anthony CACERES (22. Max BURGESS 60’), 23. Rhyan GRANT, 25. Jaiden KUCHARSKI (13. Pat WOOD 60’), 26. Luke BRATTAN ©.

Unused Subs: 20. Adam PAVLESIC (GK), 28. Nathan AMANATIDIS.

Yellow Cards: Caceres (26’), Rodwell (33’), Girdwood-Reich (43’), Mak (63’), Burgess (83’), Wood (90’), Fabio (90’)

Red Cards: None

Wellington Phoenix: 40. Alexander PAULSEN (GK), 3. Finn SURMAN, 4. Scott WOOTTON, 6. Tim PAYNE, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Ben OLD, 10. David BALL (24. Oskar VAN HATTUM 73’), 11. Bozhidar KRAEV, 14. Alex RUFER ©, 15. Nicholas PENNINGTON (12. Mohamed AL-TAAY 73’), 19. Sam SUTTON (23. Luke SUPYK 89’).

Unused Subs: 25. Jack DUNCAN (GK), 5. Fin CONCHIE, 18. Lukas KELLY-HEALD, 26. Isaac HUGHES.

Yellow Cards: Sutton (88’)

Red Cards: None

Venue: Allianz Stadium

Referee: Alireza Faghani

Attendance: 14,431