A gallant 10-man Sydney FC went down 2-1 to Adelaide courtesy of a 90th minute winner by Adelaide defender Kristian Rees in the Pre Season Cup semi final at WIN Stadium tonight.
Sydney FC defender Alvin Ceccoli was sent off after the half time whistle had been blown. The Socceroo will miss next Saturday night’s 3rd/4th place play off but will not be suspended for Wednesday night’s International against Kuwait.
Sydney FC dominated the game, even with 10 men, and fell to a headed goal by substitute Rees in injury time.
It was Adelaide’s first meaningful shot of the second half but sent them through to the Pre Season Cup Final.
Sydney FC named an unchanged line up from the team that defeated Perth Glory 3-0 last weekend with Butcher sticking with the 4-2-3-1 formation.
The match saw last year’s Minor Premiers take on the defending Hyundai A-League Champions in a rekindling of the fiercest rivalry and although there was little niggle there was plenty of good football and goalmouth action.
As early as the 4th minute Sydney FC striker Sasho Petrovski shot over the crossbar from an acute angle with Adelaide goalkeeper Robert Bajic stranded off his line.
Adelaide United opened the scoring in the 16th minute when Travis Dodd slid the ball under the body of Clint Bolton after Terry McFlynn lost possession on half way.
Both teams had chances to trouble scorer with Sydney FC’s David Carney and Adelaide’s Greg Owens both hitting the post.
In line with the attacking nature of the first half Petrovski had two more chances, one a clear cut one-on-one opportunity, and Steve Corica has another blocked in the shadows of half time before Carney equalized in the 43rd minute.
In a mirror image of Adelaide’s goal, United defender Richie Alagich lost the ball on halfway before Petrovski and Corica combined to give Carney the easiest of tap ins.
The game turned on its head after referee Mark Shield blew his whistle for half time when he gave Ceccoli a straight red card for foul and abusive language.
Sydney FC started the second half by keeping a back four with Mark Milligan moved into a defensive role from the centre of midfield, reverting to a positive 4-3-2 formation.
Despite playing a man down, Sydney FC dominated possession and territory in the second half and had the first good chance of the second term when substitute Jeremy Brockie was put through on goal by Carney in the 73rd minute but Bajic made a fine double save to deny the Kiwi International his first Sydney FC goal.
Sydney FC looked the team most likely to score but it was Rees that silenced the crowd with a header in the final minute.
Sydney FC now faces either Newcastle or Central Coast in the play off for 3rd and 4th at Campbelltown Sports Ground on Saturday night at 7.30pm.
Adelaide United 2 (Travis Dodd 16, Kristian Rees 90) d Sydney FC 1 (David Carney 43)
WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Referee: Mark Shield
1. Clint Bolton
2. Iain Fyfe
3. Alvin Ceccoli
4. Mark Rudan
10. Steve Corica
11. Sasho Petrovski
12. David Carney
14. Alex Brosque
15. Terry McFlynn
16. Mark Milligan
21. Nikolai Topor-Stanley
7. Robbie Middleby on for 12. David Carney (81st minute)
9. David Zdrilic on for 10. Steve Corica (92nd minute)
13. Jeremy Brockie on for 11. Sasho Petrovski (62nd minute)
20. Justin Pasfield (gk) did not play
Yellow cards: David Carney 57
Red cards: Alvin Ceccoli 45
20. Robert Bajic
2. Richie Alagich
4. Angelo Costanzo
5. Michael Valkanis
6. Ross Aloisi
8. Carl Veart
12. Greg Owens
13. Travis Dodd
14. Aaron Goulding
18. Robert Cornthwaite
21. Jason Spagnuolo
3. Kristian Rees on for 6. Ross Aloisi (76th minute)
9. Matthew Kenp on for 2. Richoie Alagich (46th minute)
17. Adam Van Dommele on for 21. Jason Spagnuolo (93rd minute)
1. Daniel Beltrame (gk) did not play