Sydney FC one step closer with narrow 1-0 win

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Sydney FC took one step towards AFC Champions League Round of 16 qualification with a 1-0 win over Pohang Steelers at Allianz Stadium on Tuesday night.

Only separated by one goal in their previous encounter three weeks ago and Sydney FC again took three points with a single goal, this time from Milos Ninkovic in the reverse fixture.

It was a lacklustre first half with few chances to speak of. The Sky Blue started the game with plenty of possession with a second string Steelers side happy to sit back and absorb Sydney’s pressure.

The Australian side however found it difficult to mount any real attack. Andre Hoole created the best chance after some neat skill put him in position for a low cross but his dangerous ball across the face of goal was cleared by the Pohang defence.

Pohang worked their way into the game as Sydney dropped off and had a great chance to take an unlikely lead but Vedran Janjetovic stood his ground to deny the Korean outfit.

As Sydney FC began to get frustrated the game became scrappy. Andrew Hoole was booked for moving forward in the wall which will see the midfielder miss the next game against Urawa Reds.

Sydney FC had one last chance before the end of the first half and arguably David Carney should have done better after Milos Ninkovic delivered a lovely ball through, however the striker was unable control his attempted lob.

The second half started brightly with both sides seeing the need for goals and that’s exactly what the home fans got 11 minutes into the second half.

Milos Ninkovic teamed up nicely with Andrew Hoole before working his way into the box. It looked like the European import had lost control of the ball, smothered by Pohang defenders surrounded him. The defence however failed to clear the danger and the Ninkovic opportunistically poked home from close range.

The goal lifted Pohang into action and the away team began applying pressure, Sydney FC saved by some brave defending from Sebastian Ryall to deny a Pohang equaliser.

Sydney FC defender Matt Jurman came close with a thunderous drive from outside the box but was denied brilliantly by keeper Kim Jinyoung.

Substitute George Blackwood had a glorious chance late on to double Sydney’s lead but an excellent save from Jinyoung denied him. A follow up save then stopped Rhyan Grant chasing up the rebound.

The game finished 1-0 to Sydney who moved onto nine points needing a draw from their next game and a favourable result to guarantee them of qualification into the Round of 16 in the AFC Champions League for the first time in their history.

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