A man of the match, two-goal performance by Fabio Ferreira has been overcome by late goals to Sydney FC strikers Shane Smeltz and Marc Janko to give the sky blues a come-from-behind 4-2 victory over a gallant Central Coast Mariners outfit at Allianz Stadium.
The Mariners held a 2-1 lead early in the second half but Ferreira’s brace along with several promising Central Coast chances were not enough to overcome a Janko double combined with goals to Smeltz and Rhyan Grant.
Head Coach Phil Moss was pleased with what he noted as his side’s best performance of the season and could not believe the yellow and navy walked away with nothing to show for their effort.
“That was one of our best performances of the season and we are all sitting here wondering how we’ve lose that game, I have no doubt in my mind that the better team lost on the day. That’s the style of football that I want this team to play and we threatened just about every time we went forward,” Moss said.
The first opportunity came in the 10th minute of play, when Sydney FC’s Alex Gersbach marauded down the left attacking touchline to cross toward former Mariner Bernie Ibini. Josh Rose, however, got a head to the ball just ahead of Ibini that resulted in a throw in.
Moments later it was Central Coast on the attack, when a long-range through ball from Nick Montgomery put Isaka Cernak one-on-one with Sydney’s shot stopper Vedran Janjetovic. Cernak sprung the offside trap, and left Aaron Calver in his wake as he broke through on goal, but his attempt to round the keeper was parried by Janjetovic.
“We scored two great goals and we should have had another three or four comfortably so the main lesson we take from tonight is that we need to take our chances,” Moss said.
The Mariners would live to rue the missed opportunity after just 14 minutes, when Sydney FC won a corner after some enterprising play down the left touchline. Milos Dimitrijevic floated an inviting ball into the box, Janko charged towards the six-yard box and dispatched his header over the head of Liam Reddy to put his side 1-0 up.
Central Coast wasted no time in an attempt to restore parity, with Storm Roux making space for a cross from the right side two minutes later, who picked out Cernak on the back post, his effort was blocked by Janjetovic.
In the 29th minute Montgomery again played the ball into space, this time ahead of Ferreira. The Sporting Lisbon junior ran towards the by-line and crossed low for Nick Fitzgerald, but he could only direct the ball wide of the posts after lunging onto Ferreira’s ball.
After numerous promising attacks from the yellow and navy the away side finally found the back of the net after Caceres picked out Ferreira with an incredible through ball who was all too free 35 yards out from goal. The 25-year old skipped passed Jacques Faty and expertly lobbed the onrushing Janjetovic to send his side into the sheds on level terms.
Caceres and his through balls were superb tonight after Moss called on him during the week to repeat a quality performance against Guangzhou R&F.
“Caceres was absolutely outstanding and so was Fabio Ferreira but we didn’t have a bad player, Liam Rose equipped himself very well for his starting debut, Cernak showed plenty of promise and our senior players did a fantastic job in leading our boys,” Moss said.
Ferreira doubled his tally in the 58th minute when Cernak slipped past several Sydney defenders before picking out Ferreira on the edge of the box. Taking one touch to steady himself, Ferreira finished clinically across Janjetovic into the bottom corner to give the Mariners a 2-1 advantage.
It took Sydney just 10 minutes to hit back when Alex Brosque passed back to Grant who put his boot through the ball from 30 yards out. Grant’s swerving effort gave Reddy no chance that again deadlocked the scores – this time at 2-2.
In the final 10 minutes, Bernie Ibini picked out Janko with a precise cross, the Austrian chested the ball down into the path of Smeltz. The Kiwi international dummied one way and then the other before beating Reddy at his near post with a smart finish that had his side 3-2 up in the 82nd minute.
Central Coast pushed hard for an equaliser, and almost walked away with a point when Travis Major’s cross found its way past several pairs of legs to Roux in the first minute of stoppage time. The right back would have tapped in with ease, if not for a despairing Gersbach who came up with a goal-saving tackle. Janko provided the icing on the cake for Sydney FC who finished a stoppage time tap in to deliver his side a 4-2 win.
“I've said all along I want our football to excite our fans and I think Ferreira as an example was outstanding and he’s still not fit, when we get him 100% match fit imagine what a player he can be.
He’s so dynamic, he’s so threatening, he can score, he can set goals up and he’s the type of player I want in our front third,” Moss said.
The Mariners attention now turns to the F3 derby next weekend and will look to build on some extremely promising play – especially through man of the match Ferreira who caused havoc with Caceres, Montgomery and Cernak through out the 90 minutes.
Sydney FC: 4 (Janko 14’, 90+2’, Grant 68’, Smeltz 82’)
Central Coast Mariners: 2 (Ferreira 45+1’, 58’)
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Attendance: 14 239
Referee: Matthew Conger
Central Coast Mariners: 2. Storm ROUX, 3. Josh ROSE, 4. Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5. Zac ANDERSON 8. Nick MONTGOMERY (c) (20. Anthony KALIK 83’), 10.Anthony CACERES, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 12. Liam REDDY (gk), 16. Liam ROSE (7. John HUTCHINSON 67’), 23. Isaka CERNAK, 26. Fabio FERREIRA (14.Travis MAJOR 77’)
Substitutes not used: 1.Matthew NASH (gk), 18. Glen TRIFIRO
Yellow cards: 5. Zac ANDERSON 37’, 8. Nick MONTGOMERY 40’, 16. Liam ROSE 64’, 4. Jacob POSCOLIERO 65’
Sydney FC: 6. Nikola PETKOVIC, 8. Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 11. Bernie Ibini, 14. Alex BROSQUE (c) (9. Shane SMELTZ 70’), 16. Alexander GERSBACH, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 20. Vedran JANJETOVIC, 21. Marc JANKO, 25. Aaron CALVER (23. Rhyan GRANT 55’), 26. Jacques FATY, 27. Mickael TAVARES (13. Christopher NAUMOFF 59’)
Substitutes not used: 1. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 5. Matthew JURMAN,
Yellow cards: 21. Marc JANKO 63’