Sydney FC’s Foxtel National Youth League squad had a comfortable 5-2 win against a dogged FFA Centre of Excellence outfit in Canberra last Saturday.
Sydney FC made the perfect start to open the scoring after just five minutes when Chris Arditti forced a turnover in the midfield and surged towards goal. He outpaced his defender and cut back a square pass to Charles Lokolingoy to slot home the opener for a 1-0 lead.
It was all Sydney FC for the next ten minutes as their high press was causing the FFA COE to make mistakes however Sydney did not capitalise on a number of clear cut chances to extend the lead.
This proved costly as the Canberra based team grabbed an equaliser through John Roberts when the ball fell to his feet in the penalty area after Sydney FC had failed to clear the danger and it was 1-1 after 22 minutes on the clock.
Both teams tried to control possession for the remainder of the half but neither could break the deadlock as they headed to the sheds on level terms.
Sydney FC started the second half well and it was Arditti again instigating the play as he transitioned through the middle of the park before sliding a pass to William Mutch who was racing in at top speed. Mutch took a single touch and calmly placed the ball under the advancing keeper to make it 2-1.
The FFA COE did not give up the fight and drew level just under the hour mark when Jacob Italiano nipped in and shot high into the goal for 2-2.
The young Sky Blues did not panic and continued to maintain the ball seeking the right moment to open up the opposition.
Former Centre of Excellence graduate, Daniel Maskin, broke away down the flank to shoot on goal only to see his effort parried away for a corner. The ensuing corner kick was flicked on by George Timotheou to Brendan Curtis who laid it back for Lokolingoy to grab his brace and restore the lead for Sydney FC 3-2.
The goal lifted Sydney FC as they started to get over the top of their opponents however the final pass or shot on goal was just off the mark.
With ten minutes remaining Sydney were awarded an indirect free kick inside the area. The FFA COE placed all eleven players on the goal line however skipper Nicola Kuleski found the gap as his shot rifled into the roof of the net from a Juan Zapata lay off for 4-2.
Another COE graduate Bai Antoniou put the icing on the cake in the 89th minute when he banged in a left foot shot inside the far post to complete the final 5-2 score line.
Sydney FC have a crucial final home game against Newcastle Jets this Sunday, 15th January 5.00pm kick off at Lambert Park as they look to go back to back for the NYL title with two rounds remaining.
Sydney FC 5 (Charles Lokolingoy 5’/60′; William Mutch 51′; Nicola Kuleski 82′; Bai Antoniou 89′) defeated FFA Centre of Excellence 2 (John Roberts 22′; Jacob Italiano 58′)
SYDNEY FC XI: Mitchell Evans (GK); Brendan Curtis; Liam McGing; George Timotheou; Cristian Gonzalez; Andrea Agamemnonos; Nicola Kuleski (Sam McIllhatton 85′); William Mutch; Charles Lokolingoy (Juan Zapata 80′); Chris Arditti; Daniel Maskin (Bai Antoniou 75′)
SUBS NOT USED: Tom Manos (GK)