Sydney FC are up to 2nd place on the Hyundai A-League ladder after a historic win over the Newcastle Jets at Allianz Stadium.
The 2-0 victory made it a record breaking four wins in a row for the Sky Blues – the first time a team has achieved that in the club’s history.
Goals in either half from Joel Chianese and Ranko Despotovic handed Frank Farina’s men the win, with Chianese’s opener Sydney FC’s 300th Hyundai A-League goal.
Farina made two changes to the side that snatched the three points in the thriller against the Wellington Phoenix last weekend. Matthew Jurman came in to replace the suspended Pedj Bojic while Matt Thompson made his return in place of the injured Brett Emerton.
The Jets had marquee man Emile Heskey back as he returned to link up with in-form striker Adam Taggart, while Kew Jaliens returned to defence after missing the Jets previous fixture through suspension.
Neither side could retain possession early on as the game was battled out in midfield. Ruben Zadkovich had the game’s first sight at goal in the 9th minute when he curled a free kick over from 30 yards out.
Sydney FC’s brightest outlet in attack was Joel Chianese as he broke the Jets’ defensive line on numerous occasions down the right flank. Chianese was first put through off a Richard Garcia throw in, however his squared ball flashed across the face of the Jets’ goal without being touched.
Chianese called Birighitti into action for the first time in the 12th minute after Garcia again released him clear on goal, however he could only direct his shot straight at the Jets’ keeper from an acute angle.
Vedran Janjetovic made his first save of the night in the 19th minute after Taggart was played in. Some last ditch defending from Seb Ryall and some fine goalkeeping from Janjetovic kept the Jets’ at bay on more than one occasion while Sydney FC began to dictate possession midway through the half.
Matt Thompson had fans on the edge of their seats in the 26th minute as his cross-come-shot from the right channel took a deflection and dipped precariously over the crossbar with Birighitti stranded.
The Jets had one of the best opportunities of the half in the 35th minute after Petkovic and Heskey both met a Jets’ cross sending the ball loose in the box. Zadkovich picked it up and attempted to flick the ball beyond
Janjetovic but the Sky Blues keeper was up for the shot and managed to get his left hand to the ball before smothering the danger.
In the 38th minute Ali Abbas drove forward from left back and sent a lobbed ball into the box, however Chianese just failed to get a toe on it.
Alessandro Del Piero dampened proceedings by limping off in the 43rd minute to be replaced by Ranko Despotovic who took his place at the head of the Sky Blue’s attacking trio.
On the stroke of half time, Sydney FC took the lead. Ali Abbas drove into the Jets’ half before sending a delightfully weighted cross into the box. Joel Chianese expertly controlled the ball on the penalty spot and fired a low shot past Birighitti with his left foot to chalk up the Sky Blues 300th Hyundai A-League goal.
Sydney FC got the second half underway but it was the Jets’ Adam Taggart who went close in the 53rd minute flashing a header wide of Janjetovic’s post.
Chianese went in search of his second goal moments later as he collected a lofted through ball, cut inside and drove a shot over the bar from outside the area.
The Jets’ squandered the best opportunity of the match moments later when Burns fired over from inside the penalty area after Kantarovski’s cut back found him unmarked.
Some neat passing between Garcia and Chianese saw the latter lift a cross in from the right flank that was firmly met by Garcia who clattered the bar with a header. The ball lobbed in the air and Despotovic got his head to the rebound but Birighitti tipped over.
The Serbian made amends in the 60th minute doubling the Sky Blues advantage as Sydney FC began to grab a foothold on proceedings.
Despotovic collected the ball deep in the Jets’ half before driving forward, beating three Jets’ players in the process and unleashing a low curling effort that beat Birighitti at his near post.
Yairo Yau was introduced into proceedings in the 67th minute for Christopher Naumoff, injecting fresh pace on the left flank, and almost made it three after a neat one two with Garcia allowed the Panamanian behind the Jets’ line. He carried the ball forward and cut inside but saw his strike deflected wide for a corner.
The Jet’s tried to claw their way back in the dying minutes with both Adam Taggart and Michael Bridges having sights at goal but their efforts were wayward as the Sky Blues stoically defended out the remainder of half to make history and claim their fourth win in as many games.
Sydney FC 2 (Chianese 45+1’, Despotovic 60’)
Newcastle Jets 0
Ground: Allianz Stadium
Referee: Ben Williams
Sydney FC: 20. V.Janjetovic, 2. S.Ryall, 5. M.Jurman, 6. N.Petkovic, 10. A. Del Piero (43’ R.Despotovic), 11. R.Garcia, 16. J.Chianese, 19. N.Carle, 22. A.Abbas, 27. C.Naumoff (67’ Y.Yau), 28. M.Thompson (76’ T.McFlynn).
Unused Subs: 1. I.Necevski, 34. A.Calver.
Yellow Cards: 4’ N.Carle, 43’ A. Del Piero, 78’ M.Jurman
Newcastle Jets FC: 1. M.Birighitti, 2. S.Neville, 3. T.Regan, 4. K.Jaliens, 5. B.Kantarovski, 7. A.Hoole (73’ J.Virgili) , 8. R.Zadkovich, 9. E.Heskey (57’ J.Brillante), 10. N.Burns, 16. J.Pepper (79’ M.Bridges), 22. A.Taggart.
Unused Subs: 18. J.Brown, 20. B.Kennedy.