Sydney FC has held off a fast-finishing Adelaide United outfit to secure a 2-1 victory at Coopers Stadium.
Although the Reds went into Friday’s game on a five-match unbeaten run, it was the Sky Blues who opened the scoring inside 10 minutes.
Elvis Kamsoba gave Sydney the early 1-0 lead after he received the ball on the edge of the 16-yard box, dribbled around a host of defenders and powered his close-range shot past Joe Gauci.
Before the Sky Blues could strengthen their hold on the game, outgoing Captain Stefan Mauk levelled the scoreline 1-1 at the 32nd-minute mark, following up on Hiroshi Ibusuki’s deflected header and smashing his shot into an open net.
With the game tied at the hour mark, Steve Corica decided to bring on superstars, Rhyan Grant, Bobo and Adam Le Fondre to break the 1-1 deadlock.
Le Fondre made a swift impact for his side, getting on the end of a low cross and putting the ball into the bottom corner of the Adelaide goals. Unfortunately for the English striker, his goal got disallowed after the linesman deemed him offside.
Moments later, Bobo made sure Sydney’s next opportunity would count when he met Max Burgess’ driven cross at full speed to give his side a 2-1 advantage.
In the final moments of the game, Adelaide had an opportunity to level the scoreline again but Tom Heward-Belle dived the correct way to stop Ibusuki’s late penalty.
The 2-1 win helped Sydney rise to first on the A-League Men Table while Adelaide remains in fourth place.
A-LEAGUE COMEBACK KINGS FALL NARROWLY SHORT
For the fourth time in four games, United responded with an equaliser after conceding the opening goal of the match. Contrary to Adelaide’s last three games, the Reds left the match without a point despite coming back in the first half.
Adelaide are one of the fastest finishing sides in the league but, Sydney managed to overcome United’s late surge and secure a vital victory on the road.
HEWARD-BELLE THE HERO
Tom Heward-Belle pulled off eight excellent saves for Sydney. The promising young keeper denied Craig Goodwin from inside the 18-yard box and stopped Lachlan Brook’s curling shot at full stretch to keep his side level going into half-time.
Heward-Belle’s strong performance was topped off when he saved Hiroshi Ibusuki’s late penalty to keep the Sky Blues in the lead.
If the backup can continue his outstanding play, he may be in line for more starting opportunities soon.
SKY BLUE PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF
Despite Adelaide taking back momentum once they scored in the later stages of the first half, Sydney found a way to shift the tide and regain the lead away from home.
The win is the Sky Blues second come from behind victory in two games after they defeated the Central Coast Mariners 3-2.
Sydney’s persistence is a timely reminder that the Sky Blues are still a formidable side despite their slow start to the season.
A-League Men Round 13, Coopers Stadium
Adelaide United: 1 (Mauk 32′)
Sydney FC: 2 (Kamsoba 10′, Bobo 72′)