Sydney FC edge out brave Wellington Phoenix

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Sydney FC held off a late Wellington Phoenix surge to achieve their first win of the A-League Men season at Netsrata Jubilee Stadium on Sunday.

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Goals from Elvis Kamsoba and Adam Le Fondre got the job done for the Sky Blues despite a late finish from Ben Waine, resulting in a 2-1 win.

Sydney’s seemingly re-energised attack sparked a handful of chances early on as some great footwork by Patrick Yazbek down the wing paved the way for a blocked Anthony Caceres attempt on goal inside five minutes.

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Moments later, an indirect corner gave Jaushua Sotirio a half chance at the other end, who could do little damage from a near-impossible angle.

Kamsoba’s left-footed attempt in the 10th minute did little to worry Wellington goalkeeper Oliver Sail, who easily dug out the shot bound for the bottom left corner.

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At the quarter-hour mark, Harry Van Der Saag impressively towered over his opponent in an aerial challenge, heading the ball onto Caceres who in turn, passed to Kamsoba in another likely attempt on goal.

However, the Burundian attacker’s elusive goal ultimately arrived at the 19th minute mark, after Joel King’s long-range cross found the head of Van Der Saag, before Kamsoba decisively buried the opportunity.

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Phoenix keeper Sail hobbled off less than half an hour into proceedings and was replaced by second-choice Alexander Paulsen, whose nervy start in goal gifted the Sky Blues a corner following an untimely diving effort.

However, the young keeper ultimately shook off his nerves, pulling off two acrobatic saves in quick succession, the first of which denied Kamsoba a second goal.

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The Phoenix defence looked powerless in stopping the Sky Blues’ attacking onslaught, as the speed of Kamsoba and passing precision of Caceres were at the forefront of Sydney’s first-half dominance.

At the beginning of the second half, Phoenix retained much of the possession inside Sydney’s half, determined to overcome the one-goal deficit.

However, their short run of attack came to no avail, as Adam Le Fondre silenced critics by finding the net, putting Sydney two goals to the good after Caceres’ sublime vision and subsequent side-footed pass sent Le Fondre on his merry way.

A star-powered triple substitution of Bobo, Milos Ninkovic and Rhyan Grant with a little under half-an-hour to go seemingly put the Phoenix’s hopes to rest, as Ufuk Talay brought on Nicholas Pennington and Oskar van Hattum in response.

Wellington’s first big chance of the game arrived late in the 78th minute, when Waine’s header sent Andrew Redmayne scrambling to make a near-post save.

The late surge for Wellington continued, resulting in an unexpected goal with 10 minutes to play, after a VAR check showed an onside Waine after being initially ruled as otherwise.

Redmayne was resolute in stopping any potential Phoenix equaliser, simultaneously denying Benjamin Old and letting Sydney fans breathe a sigh of relief.

The final whistle signified a hopeful beginning for the Sky Blues, leaving the Phoenix still chasing a second league win.

Sydney FC 2 (Kamsoba 19’, Le Fondre 57’) 

Wellington Phoenix 1 (Waine 83’) 

Stadium: Netsrata Jubilee Stadium

Referee: Ben Abraham

Assistant Referees: Matthew McOrist, Brad Wright

Fourth Official: Kurt Ams

Sydney FC: Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), James DONACHIE, Alexander WILKINSON, Paulo RETRE, Adam LE FONDRE (BOBO 65′), Joel KING, Anthony CACERES, Harry VAN DER SAAG (Rhyan GRANT 65′), Max BURGESS (Milos NINKOVIC 65′), Elvis KAMSOBA, Patrick YAZBEK

Wellington Phoenix: Oliver SAIL (GK) (Alexander PAULSEN 27’), Timothy PAYNE, David BALL (Oskar VAN HATTUM 76′), Reno PISCOPO, Jaushua SOTIRIO (Benjamin OLD 66′), Alex RUFER (Nicholas PENNINGTON 66′), Louis FENTON (Callan ELLIOT 45′), Benjamin WAINE, Sam SUTTON, Joshua LAWS, Clayton LEWIS

Feature image credit: Jaime Castaneda

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Jimmy Alexander
Jimmy Alexander
Covering Sydney FC for the 2021/22 A-League season. Studying a Bachelor of Sports Media (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University.

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