Sydney Come From Behind To Beat Roar
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SYDNEY FC staged a dramatic second-half comeback to defeat the dangerous Queensland Roar 2-1 in the opening round of the 2008 A-League Pre-Season Cup at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Saturday night.
After a scoreless first half the match came to life as the sides traded goals shortly after the re-start.
The match turned in Sydney's favour in the 57th minute when Roar midfielder Hyuk-Su Seo was red-carded for his challenge on striker Alex Brosque.
Defender Mitchell Prentice's ensuing free-kick found the top-right corner of the net to hand the hosts a 2-1 advantage and a perfect start to the Pre-Season Cup.
Roar were made to pay for a multitude of missed chances in the opening stanza but despite the loss showed plenty of promise in an entertaining clash with their bitter rivals.
Sergio Van Dijk's fizzing third-minute strike set the tone as Sydney FC custodian Clint Bolton was called into action early.
Making his 100th appearance for the Sydneysiders in official competition the veteran responded with a sharp save to deny the Roar a dream start.
A minute later Tim Smits found space inside the host's penalty box but could not capitalise on a pin-point cross pushing his volley well right of the target.
Teenager Chris Payne had the first half-chance for the hosts but his audacious over-head flick was fielded safely by Liam Reddy.
Roar continued to pepper the Sydney defence but despite their clear dominance could not find the back of the net.
Sydney's best chance arrived in the 24th minute when Prentice unleashed a powerful volley from the edge of the box only to be denied by a classic save from Reddy.
Van Dijk and Massimo Murdocca both came agonisingly close in the latter stages of the half but the sides remained locked at 0-0 at the interval.
The Roar broke the deadlock four minutes into the second-half when the dangerous Van Dijk received the ball on the edge of the box, pivoted towards the goal and delivered a clinical finish for the opening goal.
But the host's response was swift as Payne - playing his first official match for the inaugural A-League champions - converted from close range to draw level.
After losing a man and conceding a second goal in the space of five minutes the Roar continued to attack, but despite their best efforts failed to snatch a late equaliser as the host's defence held firm to secure a valuable three points.
Sydney FC coach John Kosmina said: "We didn’t plan to have seven blokes out for the first serious game of the season, but that’s what we’ve got. We knew two of them would be away, the two boys at the Olympics, so I was happy with it, you know we’ll play our way into some form.”
Roar coach Frank Farina said: "There’s a lot of positives for us, I thought we played reasonably well," Farina said.
"In all honesty we’ve lost the game, but it is not the end of the world.
"I genuinely thought we were the better side."