Tipping The Sky Blue Bucket

One of Dad’s favourite instructional parables was about the cow that filled the bucket to the brim, only to knock it over with its hind hoof at the end of the milking. That’s how it felt for Sydney’s fans, lifted to great heights last Wednesday night only to be dropped with a thud just three days later.

The visitors went into Saturday night’s match, for the second time in a week, with a positive, attacking mindset. The team’s formation reflected it with a tweaked 3-5-2, betraying an attacking intent in a game they needed to win to ensure a spot in the Top 6 by the end of the round.

Missing five starters – three defenders and two attackers - the Sky Blues took the game to Melbourne City from the outset, attacking in waves and playing some spectacular football. What cost Sydney FC on the night was its defensive inexperience courtesy of a reshuffled backline and, as ever this season, a lack of cutting edge up front.

Wide man Andrew Hoole had Ben Garuccio in knots while on the other flank, Ali Abbas got into some great positions. The Iraqi’s crossing was a feature, though he should have done better with at least one of his shots on goal in the first half.

Sydney mounting raid after raid, but City coach John van’t Schip, aware of the visitors’ suspension-induced defensive frailties, had his side play long balls on transition to Bruno Fornaroli in the hope of isolating him against an inexperienced Sydney defender on the counter.

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Preview: Against All Odds Twice In A Row?

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Written By Michael Safro (@safrossydney)

Sydney FC will need to get off their cloud.

Games are coming thick and fast and Sky Blues will have had no time to celebrate Wednesday’s momentous win against Asian champions Guangzhou Evergrande. In the lead up to their all-important clash with Melbourne City this Saturday night, it has been little more than recovery sessions as they look to shake the fatigue that comes from playing their fifth match in two weeks.

Whinging already?

Not in the least – this is where Sydney FC needs to be every season and managing fatigue comes with the territory when a club takes part in ACL competition alongside its domestic campaign. But no one said it was easy.

Complicating matters is the number of Sydney players unavailable through injury and suspension on Saturday night. I had my say on Jacques Faty last week but David Carney, superb in the last few games back in Sky Blue colours, should have known better than to talk himself into a yellow last weekend, which ruled him out for this weekend through card accumulation. Faty and Carney are joined on the sidelines by other card offenders Rhyan Grant and Seb Ryall, leaving the Sydney backline in a parlous state come the weekend.

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Review: A Win To be Savoured Against The Reigning Asian Champions - ACL 2016 Match Day 2

Sky Blue fans will speak of this night for years to come.

Sydney FC’s 2-1 defeat of Asian champions Guangzhou Evergrande will rank in the club’s  Allianz Stadium pantheon alongside Steve Corica’s Grand final winner in 2006, John Aloisi’s 2010 wonderstrike and Sydney’s emotion-charged, ten-man defeat of Melbourne Victory in late 2013.

With multi-million dollar imports Jackson Martinez and Paulinho on the team sheet and coached by World Cup winner Luiz Felipe Scolari, Guangzhou were raging favourites going into the contest.

The hosts, meanwhile, were to be little more than fodder for the Asian millionnaires, a minor speed hump on the Silk Road to success. Frankly, with the money Guangzhou had spent, success is something to which they had a right to feel entitled. 

On a night of emotion and high drama, the Sky Blues once again demonstrated that they play their best football when the odds are stacked against them. Sydney rolled the dice to take the game to their more fancied opponents from the opening whistle, proving that fortune really does favour the brave.

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