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Janko drives Sydney to wild 5-4 victory

Sydney FC have jumped into 2nd on the A-League table tonight, with a thoroughly entertaining 5-4 victory over Brisbane Roar in wet and wild conditions at Allianz Stadium.

Despite going ahead 4-1 in the second half, Sydney were almost clawed back by a fast-finishing Roar, in front of over 13,000 nervous, rain-soaked fans.

Sydney came into the game unbeaten in their last 8 league matches, but quizzically the Sky Blues have registered just three home wins all season. Alex Gersbach and Mickael Tavares re-joined the starting line-up for Graham Arnold’s side, with Terry Antonis and Rhyan Grant relegated to a spot on the substitutes bench.

For the Roar, Luke Brattan was the most notable exclusion from the side that defeated Western Sydney 1-0 last Sunday at Suncorp Stadium, with Adam Sarota stepping into his midfield role. Elsewhere, Frans Thijssen opted for youngster Corey Brown in the starting XI, ahead of club stalwart Shane Stefanutto.

With the forecast suggesting a rainy afternoon, fans would’ve been pleased to see blue skies just before kick-off. That, however, didn’t last long, as just minutes into the opening half the heavens opened on Allianz Stadium, sending fans scurrying for shelter.

On the pitch, the Roar started the better of the two sides, and put their stamp on the game after just five minutes.

Jean Carlos Solorzano skipped past two defenders before guiding the ball through for Henrique with the outside of his boot. The diminutive Brazilian raced through one-on-one with Vedran Janjetovic, burying the chance in the far corner to hand his side the lead.

For the second week running, though, there will be questions regarding the legitimacy of an A-League goal, as replays shown on the newly-installed replay screens at Allianz Stadium suggested Henrique was offside when the ball was played to him by Solorzano.

Match Details Full match details »

Sydney

Goal7′ M.JurmanYellow Card10′ A.GersbachPenalty38′ M.Janko (Pen)Goal52′ M.JankoPenalty76′ M.Janko (Pen)Goal89′ A.Brosque

Brisbane

Goal5′ HenriqueYellow Card30′ J.PolenzYellow Card37′ A.SarotaPenalty79′ A.Kaludjerovic (Pen)
Goal84′ S.LusticaGoal90′ D.Petratos

That would all be forgotten by the home fans just two minutes later, though, as Sydney equalised against the run of play.

A long ball forward from midfield was headed down by Matt Jurman just outside the penalty area, with Marc Janko wrong-footing the Roar defence and putting the ball back into the path of Jurman with his heel. The defender leathered the chance, with the ball flying to the left of Jamie Young and into the net off the underside of the crossbar.

Both sides traded periods of possession in the opening 25 minutes, but both were struggling to convert that into chances. Brisbane went close in the 21st minute, with both Jerome Polenz and Dimitri Petratos unleashing shots from outside the box at Janjetovic’s goal — the former was comfortably saved, the latter went flying metres over the top of the bar.

It almost certainly should’ve been 2-1 to Brisbane in the 23rd minute. A cross into the box from the left wing by Corey Brown found the onrushing Solorzano, and as he stretched to meet the ball at the near post, he inexplicably put the ball over the crossbar, with the goal at his mercy.

As the rain continued to pelt down, the chances dried up.

In fact, it wasn’t until the 35th minute before the next real opportunity came. Sydney broke quickly through midfield, with Janko played through into the box. With his shot on target, it took a great save by Young to force the ball inches wide of the far post.

Young could do nothing about the next chance that flew his way, though, after Sarota brought down Alex Brosque in the box for a clear penalty in the 37th minute, following some classy lead-up work by Bernie Ibini.

Janko stepped up to the spot and sent Young the wrong way, scoring in his 7th straight game — a new A-League record, surpassing Besart Berisha’s record of six games in a row.

Alex Brosque almost made it 3-1 after the break, but his powerful shot on target in the 49th minute was well saved low and to his left by Young. Chris Naumoff, too, went close minutes later, but his curling effort toward the back post was beaten away by Young.

The writing was on the wall, and Janko eventually make it 3-1 to Sydney in the 52nd minute.

Bernie Ibini was again involved as he dribbled through the middle of the park before releasing Naumoff on the right side of the penalty area. Naumoff’s ball across the face of goal was pinpoint accurate, allowing Janko to tap in from point-blank range at the back post.

With one eye on the mid-week Champions League game against Suwon Bluewings, Frans Thijssen made a double switch just before the hour mark, with captain Matt McKay and top-scorer Henrique both substituted, with Brandon Borrello and Steve Lustica coming on in their stead.

The conditions failed to improve as the game ticked into the final 15 minutes, but Sydney continued to push forward.

A push into the back of Janko in the 75th minute would give the Austrian a chance at his hat-trick, as referee Kris Griffiths-Jones pointed to the spot for the infringement. Janko made no mistake, putting the ball under Young and lifting his tally for the season to 16 — four clear of Nathan Burns in the race for the Golden Boot.

Brisbane would pull one back just five minutes later, when Griffiths-Jones awarded another penalty — this time for a push in the box on James Donachie. Andrija Kaluderovic, who had come on at half time for Solorzano, converted from the spot to hand his side a glimmer of hope late in the game.

That glimmer became brighter in the 84th minute, when Brandon Borrello gathered inside the box before pulling the ball back for Lustica at the top of the penalty area. With a first time shot, Lustica put the ball past Janjetovic to bring his side back within a goal.

Alex Brosque made it 5-3 in the 89th minute, after Terry Antonis laid the ball on a platter for his captain near the penalty spot. Young stood no chance, as Brosque side-footed the ball home.

It wasn’t over yet, though. Down the other end of the park, Steve Lustica played in Borrello, who looked to cut the ball back to the penalty spot. Sydney failed to clear the threat, with a rebound falling to Dimitri Petratos who fired home under Janjetovic to make it 5-4.

 

Ultimate A-League ‘Player of the Year’ Votes
3 Marc Janko (Sydney FC)
2 Mickael Tavares (Sydney FC)
1 Brandon Borrello (Brisbane Roar)
Youth Brandon Borrello (Brisbane Roar)

About the author

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

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