A second half Luke Ivanovic strike has helped Sydney FC to a shock 1-0 upset of finals bound Blacktown CIty FC at Lambert Park on Saturday.
The win was the Young Sky Blues first in weeks and all but secures their place in the NPL NSW competition for next season.
Ivanovic’s runaway goal in the 70th minute, only seconds after taking to the field, was a rare highlight in a hard fought and at times dour game which featured few true chances.
A late red card for Sydney’s Liam McGing wasn’t enough to stop the home side from collecting all three points.
It was a frustrating defeat for Blacktown who were desperate to build momentum going into the finals series.
The visitors had the best of the early possesion but was unable to manufacture any real oppourtunites on goal until 20 minutes into the contest.
A looping ball into the box was met by a leaping Joey Gibbs who headed from the back post straight into the arms of Duro Dragicevic.
Gibbs had another effort saved only moments later from inside the penalty area but it was once again stopped by the Sydney shot stopper.
The match failed to reach any heights in the first half with action bogged down in the centre of the park.
In the closing stages of the opening 45 minutes, Sydney defender Patrick Flottmann ensured his side went to the break on level pegging when he blocked a dangerous ball in from Roberto Speranza with both sides going into the shed locked at 0-0.
Blacktown came into the second half determined to put their mark on the match and were unlucky not to take the lead in the 55th minute.
Mason Versi made a marauding run into the penalty area before firing into the centre of the box, but his effort was blocked by Dragicevic and smothered before midfielder Devante Clut could get a foot to it.
Dragicevic once again came to the rescue for the home side when he made an athletic diving save to deny a well placed free kick from Gibbs.
While Blacktown was dominating possesion, Sydney FC were the ones who took the lead.
Ivanovic, who had only been brought on 10 seconds prior, took his first touch just inside the opposition half and blitzed the Blacktown defence with his pace before coolly tapping past the keeper.
Blacktown looked to an attacking substitution of their own to get them out of trouble iwith Danny Choi the focus of the visitors attack.
The focus on attack nearly cost City again with keeper Tristan Prendegast required to make a brilliant diving save.
Choi had a chance in the 76th minue from inside the box but his shot was blocked.
The former Adelaide United man then set up Speranza moments later but the defender fired over the bar when he really shouldve scored.
Clut spurned another chance with 82 minutes on the clock when he fired over with Blacktown’s desperation proving to get the better of them.
The match was to take a final twist in the dying moments with McGing sent from the field from a callous challenge on Choi.
The man advantage didn’t make a difference with the home side clinging on for a huge upset.
Sydney FC: 1 (Ivanovic 70′)
Blacktown City FC: 0
Saturday, August 4 2018
Lambert Park Leichhardt
Referee: S Laurie
Assistant Referee: R Osbourne, P Teleki
Fourth official: M Bailey
Sydney FC: 30. Duro Dragicevic, 3. Patrick Flottmann, 4. Liam McGing, 7. Jeremy Skotadis, 8. Sam McIllhatton, 10. Cameron Devlin, 12. Jackson Bandiera, 13. Jordon Swibel (Daniel Maskin), 15. Jeremy Cox (11. Luke Ivanovic), 16. William Mutch, 19. Giusseppe Tilio
Substitutes not used: Brendan Curtis, Joel King,
Yellow Cards: Devlin, Flottmann
Red Cards: McGing
Blacktown City FC: 1.Tristan Prendergast, 3. Giorgio Sperranza, 4. Robert Speranza, 5. Grant Lynch. 6. Matt Lewis, 9. Joey Gibbs, 10. Connor Evnas, 8. Daniel Aruajo (11. Danny Choi) , 18. Mason Versi, 23. Daniel Bragg (7. Devante Clut), 22. Yianni Spyrakis,
Substitutes not used: Stefan Savicic, Mark Rodic,
Yellow Cards: Evans, Spyrakis