A 3-1 win over the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has pushed the Sydney FC National Youth League side into the competition’s top four for the first time since November last year.
A 3-1 win over the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has pushed the Sydney FC National Youth League side into the competition-s top four for the first time since November last year.
Goals to Joel Chianese, Iain Ramsay and Dimitri Petratos and a stellar performance from goalkeeper Nenad Vekic were the cornerstones of the Sky Blues 11th win of the season.
With two games to go, the young Sky Blues now sit in fourth spot, three points behind equal competition leaders Perth Glory and Central Coast Mariners and one point adrift of the third placed Adelaide United.
Although now back in the top four, the defending champions face Adelaide at Cromer Park on Saturday 27 February and the Mariners away the following weekend.
Sydney FC keeper Vekic began what would be a big day when he tipped over a shot in the first minute and the AIS maintained their strong start with a number of midfielders dominating possession but it never eventuated into goals.
The Sky Blues would make the young AIS pay for not converting the weight of possession when Chianese slotted a long range goal in the 21st minute.
Almost 40 yards out, Chianese unleashed a worm burning strike that caught the AIS defence asleep and skidded into the bottom left hand of the net.
Sydney FC looked to capitalise on a deflated AIS side, with striker Hussein Akil creating plenty of chances to extend the away teams lead.
On the 30 minute mark, Sydney FC looked to have made it 2-0 after a deflected corner looked certain to go in after it beat AIS keeper Aaron Lennox but Institute defender Nikola Stanojevic cleared it off the line. Despite the Sydney FC protests, the no-goal decision was upheld.
It was then the AIS- turn to think the scoreline would soon change after they were awarded a penalty on the eve of halftime after a player was brought down in the box but it was that man Vekic who saved Sydney-s bacon, first stopping Mustafa Amini-s penalty attempt and then blocking his follow up shot.
Akil looked lively early in the second half but it was Sydney FC midfielder Iain Ramsay who nailed the Sky Blues second goal.
Fresh off his Hyundai A-League debut on Thursday night against Melbourne Victory, Ramsay continued his goal scoring ways for the club with superb left foot strike in the 53rd minute that never looked like missing.
The AIS keeper had no chance as the ball continued its path into the top left-hand corner of the goal.
Vekic then bettered his early feats by brilliantly saving an AIS free kick from just outside the box before being deservedly rested in the 73rd minute.
Sydney FC netted their third goal in the 83rd minute through Petratos after Chainese intercepted an AIS defensive pass before passing it off to Petratos to round out the victory.
The AIS scored a consolation goal in the 86th minute when Jake Barker-Daish slotted a penalty from 20 yards out passed Sydney-s replacement keeper Mark Pullman.
The young Sky Blues face Adelaide United at Cromer Park on Saturday 27 February. Kick-off is at 4pm.
Sydney FC 3 (Chianese 13, Ramsay 53, Petratos 83)
AIS 1 (Barker-Daish 22)
Referee: Gary Vandeburgt
Assistant referees: Brett Woodford and Greg Taylor
Fourth official: Allyson Flynn
AIS line-up: Mustafa AMINI, Melvin BECKET (Jake BARKER-DAISH 60-), Christopher BUSH, Stephen DOMENICI, Ryan EDWARDS, Curtis GOOD (Scott MELLISH 60-), Aaron LENNOX (GK), Trent SAINSBURY, Nikola STANOJEVIC (C), David TALEVSKI (Aaron PETERSON
46-), Marc WARREN
Substitutes not used: Paul IZZO (GK)
Yellow cards: Ryan EDWARDS 35-, Jake BARKER-DAISH 75-, Trent SAINSBURY 90-+2
Red cards: Nil
Sydney FC line-up: Hussein AKIL (Dimitri PETRATOS 62-), Luke AUSTIN, Joel CHIANESE, Sam GALLAGHER (Sam CHARPLE 62-), Justin HAYWARD (Joseph GIBBS 62-), Tim MCGOWAN, Sam MUNRO (c), Nenad VEKIC (gk) (Mark PULLMAN (gk) 80-), Mitchell SPEER, Iain RAMSAY, David VRANKOVIC
Substitutes not used: Nil
Yellow cards: Tim MCGOWAN 73-, Mitchell SPEER 86-
Red cards: Nil