Heward-Belle saves 88-minute penalty to deny equaliser

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Sydney FC’s goalkeeper Tom Heward-Belle was the hero at Coopers Stadium after he saved his way to three points for his side by denying an 88th minute penalty to level the scores.

It was a grim start for the home side Adelaide United on Friday as Elvis Kamsoba wasted no time and found the back of the net within ten minutes thanks to a delightful, near post finish that Joe Gauci could not keep out.

Things then went from bad to worse for the Reds as the returning Isaias pulled up with a sore knee, whilst Socceroo Craig Goodwin fell down with a sore ankle and was later subbed off, almost foreshadowing the missed penalty to equalise in the dying stages.

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But the Red’s fortune did change late in the first half. 

After numerous attempts, finally an accurate cross found Adelaide’s big target in Hiroshi Ibusuki.  

Ibusuki was unable to score due to a tremendous save, but captain Stefan Mauk was able to finish it off and level the game 1-1. 

From that moment onwards, it was one way traffic for the home team as Lachlan Brook, Goodwin and Javi Lopez all had major chances, but Sydney’s man in net Tom Heward-Belle refused to be beaten, pulling off numerous miraculous saves. 

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Meanwhile the second half kicked off with Adelaide still half asleep, as lazy passes in their own half continued to give Sydney scoring chances, which thankfully, they failed to convert. 

On the other hand, it was youngster Lachlan Brook who was causing headaches for Sydney’s defence as he dazzled in his first start, drawing free kicks and darting past defenders. 

Eventually, the second half deadlock was broken as the veteran Bobo scored yet another A-League Men’s goal to put his side up 2-1. 

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Adelaide threw all they could at Sydney’s defence by bringing on as many fresh attacking legs as possible and it finally caused a breakthrough.

Speedster Mohamed Toure danced around the penalty box before being brought down with just three minutes left on the clock.

Yet Adelaide’s goal scoring machine in recent weeks, Ibusuki, was denied by a miraculous save from Heward-Belle yet again, in a man of the match performance to keep it 2-1 at the final whistle.

The win made it two wins on the trot for the Sky Blues as they look to be back to their best form.

Sydney FC: 2 (Kamsoba 10’, Bobo 73′) 

Adelaide United: 1 (Mauk 32’) 

Stadium: Coopers Stadium 

Referee: Adam Kersey 

Assistant Referees: Matthew Cream, Henry Day 

Fourth Official: Daniel Cook 

Sydney FC: Tom HEWARD-BELLE (GK), James DONACHIE, Alexander WILKINSON (C), Connor O’TOOLE (Rhyan GRANT 59’), Mustafa AMINI (Max BURGESS 52’), Paulo RETRE, Milos NINKOVIC (Adam LE FONDRE 59’), Trent BUHAGIAR (BOBO 59’), Anthony CACERES, Callum TALLBOT (Harry VAN DER SAAG 70’), Elvis KAMSOBA 

Unused subs: Benjamin WARLAND, Deyvison DA SILVA, Andrew REDMAYNE (GK)

Adelaide United: Joe GAUCI (GK), Ryan KITTO, Stefan MAUK (C) (Joshua CAVALLO 68’), Isaias, Craig GOODWIN (Bernardo OLIVEIRA 45’), Hiroshi IBUSKI, Javier LOPEZ, Michael JAKOBSEN, Lachlan BARR, Juande LOPEZ, Lachlan BROOK (Mohamed TOURE 80’) 

Unused subs: Louis D’ARRIGO, George BLACKWOOD, Alexandar POPOVIC, Steven HALL (GK) 

Featured image credit: Jaime Castaneda

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Cameron Ottenhoff
Cameron Ottenhoff
Sport, media and communications student at Flinders University in Adelaide. I was forced to hang the boots up at a young age after discovering I'm no good at sport, so now I just talk about it instead.

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