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Despotovic strike seals fourth-straight Sydney win

SYDvNEWA second goal in two games for Ranko Despotovic, and a late first-half strike by Joel Chianese secured a fourth-straight win for Sydney FC – a new club record. In front of just under 15,000 fans at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night, the Sky Blues weathered the early Newcastle pressure to record a hard-fought victory that sees them now sit in 2nd place on the A-League ladder.

Brett Emerton was a late withdrawal for the Sky Blues, after failing to pass a late fitness test, with Tiago Calvano also missing as he served the first game of his eight match ban for touching the referee in the game against the Victory earlier in the season. The Jets, however, welcomed back centre half Kew Jaliens following his one match suspension.

It was a physical game early on, with numerous players picking up knocks under heavily tackling pressure. Sydney’s Nick Carle was an early recipient of a yellow ticket from AFC referee of the year Ben Williams in just the 4th minute, and was fortunate not to receive his marching orders for another lazy tackle just 15 minutes later.

Joel Chianese had the best of the early chances, with a foray into the Newcastle box ending in a tame shot at Mark Birighitti, when perhaps a lay off to a teammate was the better option. Minutes later, in-form Jets striker Adam Taggart was left all alone in the penalty area, but his shot from the right hand side was unfortunately directed straight at Sydney goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic.

Towards the end of the first half, Newcastle had taken complete control of the game. Nathan Burns made a series of forward thrusts down the left wing, however the delivery of the final ball was lacking and the chances went unrealised. Andrew Hoole, one of Newcastle’s best this season, delivered a ball across goal in the 36th minute, but Emile Heskey was unable to get good purchase on the ball, and Janjetovic graciously collected it.

Match Details Full match details »

Date/Time Sat Nov 30, 2013, 7:45 PMStadium Allianz StadiumAttendance 14,803Referee Ben Williams



Then, in the shadow of half time, a speculative cross to the penalty spot by makeshift left back Ali Abbas was picked off the feet of Jets defender Jacob Pepper by Chianese, who controlled the ball on his second touch and fired past Birighitti into the far corner to give the home side the advantage.

Half chances were shared between the two sides when play resumed, with neither team able to capitalise. Then, in the 57th minute, Nathan Burns should have equalised for the visitors. Some fantastic lead-up work by Ben Kantarovski finished at the feet of Burns, whose first-time shot disappointingly flashed over the crossbar. The miss continues what has been a frustrating season for Burns thus far, with the striker unable to find the back of the net despite several gilt-edged chances.

Unfortunately for Burns and the Jets, they were made to pay shortly thereafter. After a combination move between Chianese and Richard Garcia only found the crossbar minutes before, a bullocking run by Ranko Despotovic allowed the Serbian striker to find his way into the penalty area. With only Birighitti in his way, Despotovic fired between the Jets keeper and the near post, with the shot caressing the inside of the woodwork before nestling in the back of the net.

The game settled down from then on, with Sydney comfortably controlling the match, and the Jets struggling to find a way to break down the sturdy Sky Blue defence. Garcia almost added a third for Sydney in the 89th minute, but his shot across goal was well cleared by Jaliens.

Despite the two-goal win, the loss of captain Alessandro Del Piero in the first half, due to a hamstring complaint, will be a talking point for Sydney between now and Saturday, when they travel to Gosford to face the Mariners. For the Jets, a trip to Melbourne next Sunday to face the Victory will provide a stern test.

About the author

avatarJustin is a passionate football fan, and the Editor-in-chief of Ultimate A-League.

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