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Sydney fight back to earn draw against Victory

Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC have played out a fierce and entertaining 1-1 draw tonight at AAMI Park, in front of over 20,000 spectators.

Goals each way to Kosta Barbarouses and David Carney do little to aid either side in their quest for the Premier’s Plate, with both sides now on 30 points and a full 8 points behind leaders Western Sydney.

For the Victory, a 2-1 win over Shanghai SIPG mid-week in the Asian Champions League would’ve buoyed the squad after a a less-than-stellar past month in the A-League.

Kevin Muscat made four changes to the starting line-up that lost 1-0 to Adelaide last week, with Ansell, Geria, Bozanic and Thompson all making way for Thomas Deng, Daniel Georgievski, Rashid Mahazi and Kosta Barbarouses.

Graham Arnold, meanwhile, fielded an identical starting side to the one that drew 1-1 in the Sydney derby last week, with many of them having been rested for the mid-week trip to play Urawa in the ACL. Only Robert Stambolziev was added to the squad as a substitute, with Andrew Hoole omitted.

The opening half of the game was one that could be described as anything but fluid, with both sides guilty of breaking up play when necessary, drawing the attention of a busy Kris Griffiths-Jones on the whistle.

Sydney, though, started the stronger of the two sides, but struggled to convert the positive start into shots on goal. Victory, meanwhile, had no such problem, with an early free kick from Fahid Ben Khalfallah driven low at Vedran Janjetovic’s goal. The Sydney stopper, though, had it well covered.

An injury to Matt Simon in the 8th minute eventually forced a change for Graham Arnold’s side twelve minutes later, with Milos Dimitrijevic introduced in Simon’s place.

The best chance of the half came after just 13 minutes, from a Victory free kick on the edge of the area. Unbelievably, in a repeat of the result of the past two weeks, Gui Finkler’s set piece thundered back off the crossbar, denying the Victory an early goal.

Match Details Full match details »

Date/Time Sat Feb 27, 2016, 7:30 PMStadium AAMI ParkAttendance 20,112Referee Kris Griffiths-Jones

Melb. Victory

Yellow Card30′ R.MahaziGoal46′ K.Barbarouses

Sydney

Yellow Card24′ A.BrosqueYellow Card45′ S.RyallRed Card64′ J.FatyYellow Card71′ D.CarneyGoal76′ D.CarneyYellow Card88′ R.GrantYellow Card90′ R.Stambolziev

Adding to the stop-start nature of the first half was the persistent fouling. In the 24th minute, a poor tackle by Barbarouses on Milos Ninkovic went unpunished, and then 30 seconds later, a sloppy effort by Brosque on Broxham drew the ire of, and a yellow card from, the referee.

All in all, there were 16 fouls and three bookings before Griffiths-Jones eventually blew his whistle for half-time.

The game changed quickly after the break. In fact, it took less than 60 seconds for the Victory to break the deadlock through Barbarouses, putting the memory of a dire first half into the background.

A long ball forward caught the Sydney defence unaware, with the Kiwi winger trapping the ball out wide before advancing into the box. Checking back onto his left boot, Barbarouses then shot toward the near post, beating Janjetovic and rippling the back of the net.

Sydney had a penalty shout in the 50th minute, when Carney was shouldered out of the way by Ben Khalfallah. At first glance, it appeared to be a fair claim, but the referee’s decision to wave play on was justified on replay, with Ben Khalfallah’s superior body position winning out over Carney.

At the other end of the park, Ben Khalfallah’s volley went close to making it 2-0 in the 54th minute, but the ball flashed over the top of the bar.

Finkler went close again in the 58th minute, with his header from a corner gobbled up by Janjetovic.

The contest changed again in the 64th minute, when Jacques Faty was given his marching orders for denying Besart Berisha a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

After the ball got caught under Faty as he looked to pass the ball back to his goalkeeper, Berisha nicked the ball away before being tugged back by the Senegalese defender. Griffiths-Jones glanced at his assistant referee for confirmation before reaching into his pocket to produce a straight red card, reducing Sydney to ten men for the final half an hour of play.

Despite the difference in playing stocks, though, Sydney would score the equaliser in the 76th minute.

A swift counter-attack down the left wing ended with David Carney who, after beating Thomas Deng, drove the ball across Danny Vukovic and into the far corner of the net to make it 1-1.

A flurry of substitutions in the final ten minutes made little impact, as Sydney stoutly kept the full compliment of Victory players out. Georgievski had a chance to steal a win deep into injury time, but a last-ditch tackle by Matt Jurman denied the full back the winner.

Sydney will now host Guangzhou Evergrande mid-week, before heading back to Melbourne to face City. Disappointingly for Graham Arnold, he will be without Faty, Ryall, Grant and Carney for that match due to suspensions.

Victory, meanwhile, head to Japan to play Gamba Osaka in the ACL, before returning to take on the Mariners in Gosford.

 

Ultimate A-League ‘Player of the Season’ Votes
3 Matthieu Delpierre (Melbourne Victory)
2 Matthew Jurman (Sydney FC)
1 Daniel Georgievski (Melbourne Victory)

About the author

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

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