Roar beat Sydney in major A-League upset

By , 25/04/2020 19:39

Brisbane have beaten ladder-leading Sydney FC 2-1 in a stunning A-League upset at Allianz Stadium.A-League-leading Sydney FC’s form slump continues, conceding sloppy set-piece goals in a 2-0 home loss to Brisbane.

It was Sydney’s first A-League home loss in 29 games stretching back almost two years.

The Sky Blues have not won any of their past four games, and have suffered back-to-back A-League losses for the first time since April 2016.

Matt McKay’s ninth-minute near-post header from a corner was followed 10 minutes later by Jacob Pepper’s tap in after a free-kick – his first goal in six years.

Sydney’s 59th-minute goal also came from a set-piece, Milos Ninkovic powering in a far-post header from a Jordy Buijs free-kick.

“It fell into place because we worked hard on what our tactics were during the week,” Roar coach John Aloisi said.

“I thought defensively we were very good, and at setpieces we knew that we could hurt them as we’ve seen in the past few games in the Champions League.”

Sydney came close to salvaging a point in a frantic finish, but Brisbane held firm on Saturday night at Allianz Stadium.

Substitute Matt Simon struck a post in the 89th minute and put a stoppage-time effort into the side netting. Right at the death, Brandon O’Neill had a free-kick tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Jamie Young.

“We haven’t conceded in general play in the last three or four games and we work on them (defending setpieces) at training, it’s concentration and focus,” Sydney coach Graham Arnold said.

“We had enough general chances in general play to win the game.

“The boys are working extremely hard and I can’t fault their attitude and commitment, it’s just the big moments.”

With Newcastle winning in Wellington a couple of hours earlier, Sydney’s seemingly once-unbreakable grip on the Premiers Plate has been loosened a little and their lead cut to five points with four rounds remaining.

Brisbane’s fifth win in their past six away games moves the Roar above Perth into seventh, just two points behind sixth-placed Western Sydney.

Sydney looked to have pulled a goal back in the 33rd minute when defender Alex Wilkinson headed home an Adrian Mierzejewski free-kick but a VAR review resulted in an offside call.

‘We’ve had the rub of the green sometime with the VAR and tonight we didn’t get it,” Arnold said.

Set-pieces apart, both sides were unable to create good chances in open play in the first half.

They were more successful after the break, with Sydney pouring on the pressure.

Ninkovic went close on the hour, putting a close-range shot wide and Bobo struck a 20-metre shot straight at Young in the 83rd minute.

Brisbane spent most of the second half defending, but Massimo Maccarone should have done better in the 76th minute, mis-hitting an on-target effort from close range.

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