Sky Blue defenders take centre stage

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After five matches of trial and error, Sydney FC finally found the key to keeping their opponent scoreless, much to the dismay of Western United.

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Sydney was confident and aggressive early in the first half, winning a series of contests that allowed Adam le Fondre to find the back of the net twice to make it 2-0.

Once the two-goal lead was secured, the gameplay shifted into a tactical and guarded style of play.

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With Sydney defenders Rhyan Grant and Ryan McGowan taking the lead away from dynamic duo le Fondre and Kosta Barbarouses.

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Sydney had been uncharacteristically generous defensively, after failing to keep a clean sheet in any of their five games and it was obvious defence was a priority in the second half.

Sydney’s coach Steve Corcia said it was not his team’s best game but was pleased with their control in defence to keep United scoreless.

“We wanted to focus on defence today and wanted to stop them from scoring, I think we did that effectively,” he said.

“Western United is very good at creating chances so we wanted to identify early who we wanted to stop when they had the ball.”

Both Grant and McGowan effectively cut the ball from any of United’s plays up the pitch.

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Sydney’s goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne was on his best foot coming out of the box to stop United’s striking powerhouse from making any key moments in front of goal count.

Corica said he was concerned with the amount of chances United were able to create in the second half but was satisfied with his team’s defensive line.

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“Alessandro Diamanti is a danger with the ball and facing forward, he has a very good left peg,” he said.

“Berisha is always dangerous in front of goal and we needed to focus on stopping them from having chances.”

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“Redmayne was able to come out of the box and stop the ball quite effectively and McGowan and Grant were able to prevent it from getting to close as well.”

It was obvious travel was also a contributing factor in Sydney’s shift as the side had two big games on the road.

First, to Perth last week to face Perth Glory, before travelling down to Geelong to face United which took its toll on the Sky Blues.

“I think the travel had taken its toll on the boys, they were looking a little flat but you can’t fault them too much with a good end result,” Corcia said

Feature Image Credit: Sydney FC

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Suzanna Telai
Suzanna Telai
Football enthusiast and student journalist, covering Western United for the 2019/20 A-League season

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