Sky Blues put four past poor Perth
Perth Glory have stumbled at Allianz Stadium tonight, going down 4-0 to Sydney FC to rule out a home final in week one of the play-offs.
David Carney, Filip Holosko, Milos Ninkovic and Ali Abbas scored for the home side, as they concluded Sydney’s mediocre A-League campaign with a flourish.
A win for Glory would’ve ensured a home final in Perth next week, but with the loss, Perth now must head south to Victoria to face Melbourne City next week at AAMI Park.
Sydney, meanwhile, simply had pride to play for coming into the match, and off the back of another Asian Champions League win mid-week, the squad would be riding high and looking to make an impact on the finals make-up.
The home side made seven changes to the side that lost 2-0 at home to the Reds last week, with Seb Ryall, Matt Jurman, Brandon O’Neill, David Carney, Matt Simon, George Blackwood and Ali Abbas all finding places in the starting team.
For the visitors, a slight injury concern for star Diego Castro and one eye on the finals next week meant that Kenny Lowe opted to rest his Spanish import, with Richard Garcia taking his place in the side. Chris Harold was also left back in Perth, with Jamal Reiners deputising.
It was a shaky first half from the visitors, with Sydney surprisingly able to dominate large swathes of play.
Matt Simon, in particular, was looking threatening. Twice the Sydney striker was denied by smart saves from Ante Covic – first in the 5th minute, then in the 29th minute from close range.
Perth’s best chance of the half came after 26 minutes, with a long range drive from Marc Warren flashing just wide of the far post.
On the half hour mark, however, it was Sydney who took a deserved lead.
With the ball pinballing around the penalty area — after both Shane Lowry and Alex Grant failed to clear their lines — David Carney was on hand to poke the ball under Covic, and give his side a 1-0 advantage. It was the former Jet’s first goal since returning to Sydney FC mid-way through this season.
Five minutes later, and that lead would be doubled.
A charging Filip Holosko advanced into the box, before turning Grant inside out and slotting the ball past Covic into the far corner. A home final was now looking well and truly out of reach for a flat Glory outfit, as Sydney were finding the kind of domestic form that had been severely lacking over the previous few months.
Carney almost added a third for Sydney FC after the break, after he escaped right through the middle of the Glory defence. Fortunately for the desperate Glory, Covic was up to the task to tip the ball past the post for a corner.
Perth were still struggling to find their feet in the contest, and barely registered a shot on goal let alone a foray into Sydney’s penalty area.
Conversely, Sydney attacked down either flank with relative ease, although their profligacy in front of goal maintained the brief glimmer of hope that the Glory could recover and earn an unlikely home final next week.
There was slight hiccup for the home side in the 78th minute when Filip Holosko was needlessly sent off by referee Ben Williams for a second bookable offence.
That dismissal allowed Perth to dominate the closing stages of the game, registering shots at goal and repeated corners in the final ten minutes. Still, even then, the Glory couldn’t find the back of the net.
Then, on the counter attack, Ali Abbas struck for Sydney to make it 3-0 and seal the three points for the home side. After being played into the box by substitute Milos Ninkovic, Abbas sidestepped Dino Djulbic before firing low and hard across Covic.
To rub salt into the wound, Sydney then added a fourth in stoppage time to wrap up their largest win of the season. Andrew Hoole escaped down the right wing, advanced into the box then squared the ball for Ninkovic to tap home past a helpless Ante Covic.
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