Sydney FC thwart luckless Sharks


A strong attacking display has helped Sydney FC claim its second PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s win of the season after they edged Sutherland Sharks 3-2 at Lambert Park.

A free-flowing display of attacking football helped the young Sky Blues to victory, with goals to Charles Lokolingoy, Brendan Curtis and Juan Zapata helping the home side to three competition points.

Sutherland Sharks, who sported its new man in charge in Grant Lee, didn't have the same control of the match as their opponents but their ability to punish Sydney FC’s mistakes kept them in the match right until the final moments, thanks to goals from Tomohiro Kajiyama and Nathan Elasi.

The result is sure to please Sydney FC coach Robbie Stanton as his side begins to find their groove at senior level.

Sydney FC started the match with a quick tempo, pushing forward and moving the ball around the field with speed.

Sutherland were happy to sit back and absorb the pressure, but the lack of time in possession meant they were unable to mount any attacks of relevance.

The young Sky Blues were finally rewarded for their early dominance in the 15th minute.

An intelligent header back into the centre of the box was crisply finished by Curtis from only eight yards out to give the home side the lead.

A defensive error from Sydney FC goalkeeper Thomas Heward-Belle only moments later gave Sutherland a prime chance to equalise, and Elasi didn't miss his tap in from inside the penalty area.

Sydney FC kicked the intensity up a gear after the goal as they tightened the screws on a fortuitous Sharks outfit.

The home side regained the lead in the 33rd minute through striker Lokolingoy.

The pacy marksman found space on the eastern touch line and cut inside his marker, before unleashing a shot which deflected past the outstretched arms of Sharks shot stopper Niki Loe.

Sydney FC were unlucky not to have another goal before the half time break with Loe making a number of quality saves.

However, Sydney FC weren't going to be denied a third goal for long and found the back of the net in style in the 48th minute.

Zapata, receiving the ball in space, unleashed an audacious chip from just inside the penalty area which sailed over the head of Loe and into the back of the net.

For all of Sydney FC’s dominance, momentary lapses in defence ensured Sutherland stayed in with a shot.

The Sharks pounced on a scattered Sky Blues defence to score their second goal of the match courtesy of Kajiyama in the 52nd minute.

Fatigue began to get the better of Sydney FC in the dying stages of the match and Sutherland rallied.

The match was end to end in the final ten minutes as neither side could take control of proceedings.

Kevin Lopes had a chance from three yards out in the dying stages but he couldn't angle his header on goal to give the Sharks an unlikely draw.

Sydney FC coach Robbie Stanton was full of praise for his players after the match.

“It was an excellent performance, “ Stanton said.

“We showed the initiative early on and also defended well. Inexperience cost us as we switched off in a couple of moments which led to their goals, but we still did enough to get the win.

“I’m really proud of them. There has been a number of times when we have been a little naive and our opponents have got the better of us. Tonight I felt we stayed composed when it mattered the most.

“I think we will be better in the second half of the season. We are getting mentally and physically stronger and the boys are learning what it takes to win at this level.”

Sutherland Sharks coach Grant Lee, in his first game in charge of his new side, said it was a tough result to stomach but the positive signs displayed by his players in the second half is promising.

“It was just one of those games. We were a little bit tentative in the first half and let them run away with it a bit,” he said.

“In the second half we had a real good go at them and very well could've made it a different result had the bounce of the ball gone a different way.

“This is a really good group of kids and I’m really impressed with their potential and work ethic. If we can start adding a bit of consistency in the second half of the season we could make a good run of it.”

Match Stats

Sydney FC 3 (Curtis 15, Lokolingoy 33’ Zapata 47’)

Sutherland Sharks 2 (Elasi 21’, Kajiyama 51’)

Saturday, May 6 2017

Lambert Park, Leichhardt

Referee: Ben Abraham

Assistant Referees: Lance Greenshields & Nathan Wotton

Sydney FC: 20. Tom Heward-Belle, 2. Brendan Curtis, 3. Patrick Flottman, 4, George Timotheou, 6. Nikola Kuleski, 9. Bai Antoniou (11. Chris Arditti), 12. Charles Lokolingoy, 14. Cristian Gonzalez , 8. Juan Zapata (21. Andreas Agamemnonos), 16. William Mutch, 17. Chris Zuvela,

Substitutes not used: 1. Mitchell Evans, 39. Liam McGing,, 22. John Iredale

Yellow Cards: N/A

Red Cards: N/A

Sutherland Sharks: 21. Niki Loe, 3. Takuya Murayama, 4. Stephen Kayes, 5. Nick Littler, 6. Matthew Gordon, 9. Tomohiro Kajiyama,  10. Josh Da Silva, 11. Nathan Elasi (7. Jack Press), 12. Blair Brown (15. Kevin Lopes), 13. Jeremy Cox, 14. Patrick O’Shea

Substitutes not used: 1. Nathan Denham,, 8. Chris McStay, 15. Kevin Lopes, 18. Matias Da Silva Santos

Yellow Cards: Kayes 80’

Red Cards: N/A

Player Ratings:

3 - Chris Zapata (SFC)

2 - Charles Lokolingoy (SFC)

1 - Tomohiro Kajiyama (SS)