APIA Leichhardt Tigers have cruised to victory against Sydney FC with a flurry ten minutes from half time helping them to a 3-0 triumph at Lambert Park on Sunday.
Sydney FC conceded a penalty in the first stanza of play before two late APIA goals going into the halftime interval gave the Tigers an unassailable lead going into the break.
Jordan Murray struck from the spot after 30 minutes before netting a second only minutes later. Tasuku Sekiya wrapped up the result with a goal on the cusp of half time.
Despite the result it was a solid performance from Sydney FC who paid the price for a lapse of concentration late in the first half.
Sydney FC started the match with good energy and In the 13th minute Hassan Jalloh had the ball in the middle but hesitated at the crucial moment and Ivan Necevski managed to save the ball from under his legs.
A free kick by Jerry Skotadis in the 28th minute from just outside box ended just wide of the intended target as Sydney FC came close to opening the scoring.
In the 31st minute Liam McGing had a bit of an air-swing but inadvertently managed to bring Adrian Ucchino down in the box. It was a penalty that Jordan Murray duly converted by sending the ‘keeper Duro Dragicevic the wrong way.
APIA doubled their lead in the 44th minute when a delightful volley from Tasuku Sekiya from the left found Murray in the middle and the deadly striker made the task look ever so simple by putting the ball in the back of the net.
Right on the stroke of half-time APIA were at it again. A rather fortuitous ball from the right over a plethora of bodies fell nicely to Sekiya who hit the back of the net from close range. After a fairly even first half it was a shame that Sydney FC had to enter the break with a three-goal deficit.
In the second half in the 47th minute Murray played the ball beautifully to Sekiya who majestically tried to chip the ball into the back of the net, but Liam McGing on the goal line somehow managed to clear the ball with a header. It really should have been APIA’s fourth there and then.
In the 68th minute, Jeremy Cox on the turn from just outside the box fired just wide thanks to a slight deviation from an APIA defender. There wasn’t much more on offer for the spectators as both teams played rather cautious football to the end. It could be best described as a finish for the football purists.
After the game APIA Leichhardt’s coach Billy McColl praised his side but very graciously also paid tribute to Sydney FC.
“We played well, we created chances and we are putting away our fair share of them,” he said.
“The contest was finished in the first half at 3-0 but Sydney FC are well coached and well drilled. They may be a youth side, but they will cause difficulties for other teams like they did for us.
“We however are on a mission and even though we’ll take one game at a time, we’ll dare to achieve.”
Over in the Sydney FC dressing room Robbie Stanton was taking the defeat in his stride.
“We just switched off for two minutes at the end of the first half and we paid the price with two goals,” he said.
“Up until then we were right in the game and maybe even a bit on top.
“In the second half we created chances but I thought that we probably needed to pull the trigger a bit better. They defended fiercely but we still played through them into good spaces.
“To be honest I couldn’t be happier. I was very proud of our team and our performance was actually very good. However, the game is about moments and to be fair to them they [APIA] took their chances and scored goals.”
APIA LEICHHARDT TIGERS: 3 (Murray 31’ pen and 44’, Sekiya 45’)
SYDNEY FC 0
Sunday, April 15th 2018
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referees: Joon Park, Jamie McFarlane
Fourth Official: Nick Farmer
APIA LEICHHARDT TIGERS: 1. Ivan Necevski, 2. Nathan Millgate, 4. Joshua Symons (3. Paul Galimi 66’), 8. Corey Biczo (9. George Howard 63’), 11. Jordan Murray, 13. Tasuku Sekiya, 14. Howard Fondyke, 15. Themba Muata-Marlow, 16. Sean Symons, 17. Brandon Lundy, 18. Adrian Ucchino
Substitutes not used: 10. Franco Parisi, 12. Marc Warren, 22. Blake Tuxford
Yellow Cards: Muata-Marlow 27, Galimi 75’
Red Cards: Nil
SYDNEY FC: 1. Duro Dragicevic, 2. Brendan Curtis (14. Joel King 76’), 3. Patrick Flottman, 4. Liam McGing, 6. Andreas Agamemnonos, 7. Jerry Skotadis, 8. Sam Mcillhatton, 9. Hassan Jalloh (27. Hamish Lamberton 84’), 11. Luke Ivanovic (10. Patrick Scibilio 88’), 15. Jeremy Cox, 16. William Mutch
Substitutes not used: 1. Mitchell Evans, 12. Harry Van Der Saag.
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Card: Nil
3 – Jordan Murray (ALT)
2 – Tasuku Sekiya (ALT)
1 – Sam Mcillhatton (SFC)
-By National Premier Leagues NSW reporter Joe Russo.