Tropical thunder at FoF: Sydney FC 0-0 Glasgow Rangers

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In conditions perhaps more suited to the Scottish opposition, Sydney FC took the field tonight against Glasgow Rangers on match day two of the Sydney Festival of Football. The wet surface meant Viteslav Lavicka had no need for the sprinklers to be turned on ten minutes prior to the game, as has become tradition for home matches whilst the manager has been at the helm of Sydney FC. The rain-drenched night ended nil all.

The game saw the first appearance of Nicky Carle in Sky Blue colours at the SFS. Having fully recovered from a hamstring strain picked up playing a pre-season friendly against the Macarthur Rams, Carle received 45 minutes on the field after starting the match. Stuart Musialik also made a return while Terry Antonis didnt, after both suffered hip injuries. It was Musialik’s first competitive match since the 09/10 Grand Final, coming on in the second half he got stuck in early giving away a free kick before even touching the ball!

Rangers came into the match second on the mini-competition table, after a win against Blackburn Rovers 2-1 on Sunday. Manager of the Ibrox side, Walter Smith, is reportedly interested in signing striker Katlego Mphela and defender Bongani Khumala – two stand out performers for South Africa at the World Cup. Tonight his side, missing key players due to injury, showed that all spots are up for grabs, with no player standing out in the red, white and blue.

Iyane Ibrahim Thaim was given another chance to impress after scoring a late goal against AEK Athens on Sunday but failed to provide any significant reason for Sydney FC to sign him (albeit on a difficult night). Tonight he came on at half time replacing Mark Bridge up front. It is unlikely after tonight’s showing he will fill Sydney’s striker gap, with his lack of pace blatantly visible. Despite a great curling shot to the top left of goal to only be denied by an outstretched arm of the Rangers keeper, Thaim should not be signed.

A positive move by Lavicka was giving a start to keeper Liam Reddy – who is pushing for a starting spot for the A-league season. From his performance tonight Reddy looks to be the firm favorite to win the spot over Ivan Necevski. A diving save to his right in the middle of the second half helped his cause.

The first 45 minutes of the match it was Sydney with all the possession. Rangers were seemingly happy to sit back and allow the Australian team this luxury in the hope of a quick counter-attack. Some good football was played by the sky blues despite the dreadful conditions.

There were decent numbers in support of the two sides, with both supporter groups huddling together to stay warm and dry. Whilst the Rangers fans were larger in number, The Cove were the far louder of the two answering their club’s call for a bigger showing.

In the other game tonight AEK Athens took it to a determined Blackburn Rovers, with two goals in the first half enough to overpower the English side. The final score was 2-1, as Phil Jones headed home a consolation goal on 82 minutes. The result keeps AEK on top of the mini-table with one game left to play on Saturday.

Match Details:
Sydney FC: 0
Glasgow Rangers: 0
Sydney FC Line-up: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3. Stephan KELLER (13. Antony GOLEC 53’), 5. Hayden FOXE, 10. Nicky Carle (28 Hiro MORIYASU 45’), 12. Shannon COLE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 19. Mark BRIDGE (9. Ibrahima THIAM 45’), 21. Scott JAMIESON (7. Brendan GAN 79’), 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN, 23. Rhyan GRANT (8. Stuart MUSIALIK 62’).
Substitutes Not Used: 11. Kofi DANNING, 17. Matt Jurman, 18. David GULLO, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 24. Terry ANTONIS, 30. Dylan MITCHELL (gk).
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Goals: Nil
Glasgow Rangers Line-up: 25. Neil ALEXANDER (gk), 2. Steven WHITTAKER, 3. David WEIR, 4. Kirk BROADFOOT, 5. Andy WEBSTER, 6. Lee MCCULLOCH (14. Jordon MCMILLAN 84’), 7. Maurice EDU, 8. Steven DAVIS, 9. Kenny MILLER (12. John FLECK 61’), 10. Steven NAISMITH, 11. Kyle LAFFERTY (19. Andrew LITTLE 80’)
Substitutes Not Used: 15. Ross PERRY, 17. Gregg WYLDE, 18. Jaimie Ness, 1. Alan MCGREGOR (gk).
Yellow Cards: Kenny MILLER 48’
Red Cards: Nil
Goals: Nil
Referee: Matthew Breeze at the Sydney Football Stadium

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Matt Greenlaw
Editor of The Football Sack for three years, Matthew now spends his time sipping merlot whilst watching the reruns of Thursday FC.

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