Sydney FC unable to earn points in Auckland

Sydney FC have gone down 2-1 in their last game before the international break against the Wellington Phoenix, after a Kosta Barbarouses goal and Hayden Matthews own goal nullified a lively first-half performance.  

Sydney FC 1 (Mak 6’) def by. Wellington Phoenix 2 (Matthew (OG) 54’, Barbarouses 69’)

Moments that Mattered:

6’ Mak GOAL – Anthony Caceres’ shot hits a Wellington defender and bounces back into his feet. Caceres then shifts the ball left to an open Robert Mak, and he smashes it into the top right corner.

11’ REDMAYNE SAVE – Sam Sutton lofts the ball to Kosta Barbarouses and finds himself one-on-one with Andrew Redmayne. He shoots, but it finds the palms of the Sky Blues goalkeeper.

23’ LACERDA HITS THE CROSSBAR – Robert Mak’s corner finds Gabriel Lacerda at the back post, but his shot hits the woodwork.

28’ COURTNEY PERKINS DISSALLOWED GOAL – Luke Brattan lobs the ball into the Wellington defence, and it falls to the feet of Jordan Courtney-Perkins. However, after a VAR review, the referee disallows it as the ball hits his forearm after he smacks it into the net.

Sydney FC celebrating Mak’s opener

54’ MATTHEWS OWN GOAL – Nicholas Pennington finds Barbarouses, and he crosses it towards Bozhidar Kraev, but Hayden Matthews slides into the ball and directs it into the back of the net.

62’ SYDNEY FC CHANCE – Jordan Courtney-Perkins’s header hits the post, and it rebounds to Anthony Caceres, where Paulsen saves his shot before a Fabio Gomes follow-up, which the Nix’s keeper puts out.

69’ BARBAROUSES GOAL – Youstin Salas threads the ball to Barbarouses, who dribbles around the Sky Blue defence and buries it into the bottom left corner.  

What They Said: Luke Brattan

“Tonight, we started really well. But they’re a fantastic team, they’re top of the table for a reason.

“It was a great atmosphere tonight for them and I think in the second half we weren’t up for it.

Match Report:

A rigid encounter between Sydney FC and the Wellington Pheonix has finished 2-1 in Auckland, despite a dominant first half display by the Sky Blues.

An early goal by Robert Mak was not enough as two goals in the second half for the Nix saw them earn the three points.

Jaiden Kucharski dribbling

Sydney FC immediately pounced on the front foot, pushing deep into Wellington’s half, a statement of their season.

And within five minutes, Anthony Caceres released the ball to Robert Mak, who darted it into the top right corner sending the Sky Blues 1-nil up.

Mak’s goal sprung the Phoenix into life, creating a frantic and fast-paced contest between the two sides. 

But the injury of Tim Payne saw the Sky Blues force the throttle again, which almost saw Gabriel Lacerda squeeze his first Isuzu UTE A-League goal.

Sydney FC continued to control the game, and Jordan Courtney-Perkins thought he had doubled the Sky Blues lead, but the ball hit his forearm before he shot.

As half-time approached, Wellington began to regain momentum with their sleek passing, wrestling themselves into Sydney’s box and forcing Redmayne into action.

Anthony Caceres fighting for the ball

Ten minutes into the second half, Wellington found their equaliser through a dangerous Kosta Barbarouses cross, which Hayden Matthews got on the end of.

Sydney FC looked to respond immediately and had a trio of chances with Courtney-Perkins, Caceres and Gomes. Still, Alex Paulsen was there to deny the Sky Blues lead.

Seven minutes later, Kosta Barbarouses smoothly propped the Nix ahead after a Youstin Salas ball.

As full-time beckoned, the Nix sat back deep in defence, slowing the game down, creating a cagey final end, where the game finished 2-1.

Sydney FC will return to Allianz Stadium in two weeks when they play the Central Coast Mariners.

Sydney FC: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 4. Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS, 10. Joe LOLLEY, 11. Robert MAK (16. Joel KING 90+), 12. Corey Hollman (22. Max BURGESS 73’), 15. Gabriel LACERDA (6. Jack RODWELL 73’), 17. Anthony CACERES, 23. Rhyan GRANT, 25. Jaiden KUCHARSKI (9. Fabio GOMES 60’), 26. Luke BRATTAN ©, 27. Hayden MATTHEWS.

Unused Subs: 20. Adam PAVLESIC, 18. Matthew SCARCELLA, 19. Mitch GLASSON.

Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Wellington Phoenix: 40. Alexander PAULSEN (GK), 3. Finn SURMAN, 4. Scott WOOTTON, 6. Timothy PAYNE (17. Youstin SALAS 19’), 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Benjamin OLD, 11. Bozhidar KRAEV, 14. Alex RUFER ©, 15. Nicholas PENNINGTON, 19. Sam SUTTON, 26. Isaac HUGHES (10. David BALL 89’).

Unused Subs: 25.JackDUNCAN (GK), 5. Finn CONCHIE, 12. Mohamed AL-TAAY, 18. Lukas KELLY-HEALD, 24. Oskar VAN HATTUM.

Yellow Cards: Barbarouses (75’), Sutton (79’), Wootton (89’)

Red Cards: None

Venue: Eden Park

Referee: Alireza Faghani