Sydney FC hit a dramatic injury time winner to beat Thailand under 21’s 2-1 and earn 3rd place in the Thanhnien Newspaper Cup in Vietnam.
Josh MacDonald’s late goal came after the Sky Blues had led for most of the match thanks to Matthew Stewart’s first half strike.
However Thailand equalised in the final minute of normal time before MacDonald popped up with the winner.
Head Coach Brian Dene welcomed back Roberto Speranza from suspension and he slotted into left full back with Luke Clifford nursing an injury.
It was Sydney who did a lot of the early running with Josh MacDonald looking dangerous up front alongside Alec Urosevski.
Neither team could muster a clear cut chance until Sydney took the lead on 35 minutes. The lively MacDonald clipped a diagonal ball into the box from the left wing, and 15 year old Matthew Stewart helped the ball over the goalkeeper with an accomplished volley to put the Sky Blues in front.
Sydney were almost two up before half time when 14-year old substitute Anthony Kalik broke free of the Thai defence and slotted home, only for the referee to call play back for offside.
With the crowd starting to build towards the 15,000 mark, Thailand pushed forward in search of an second half equaliser but were finding trouble getting beyond a firm Sydney FC defence.
Their opponents need to push forward almost paid dividends for Sydney when Zac Nicolis raced onto a Kalik through ball. Thailand’s keeper rushed from his box to tackle the youngster but could only find striker Alec Urosevski. With the goalkeeper stranded Urosevski’s shot was heading for goal, only for a covering Thai defender to get in its way.
As the minutes died away, Thailand got the break they needed. Some good build up play inside the box gave Surawit a shooting chance on the right side of the area, and he made no mistake drilling the ball into Norval’s top right hand corner. Thailand were level at 1-1 with a minute remaining.
The game was heading for penalty kicks but Sydney still had one trick up their sleeve. As injury time ticked by they won a throw-in in their opposition’s half. Triantis took it and fed Urosevski. His pass found MacDonald inside the area, and with two players surrounding him the striker managed to turn and prod the ball home, sealing the Sky Blues win.
The third place is just reward for the team who fielded a group of players with an average age of 17 in an international under 21 tournament.
Led by captain Ryan Norval the squad collected their medals after the Final of the competition, played later that evening in which Malaysia beat hosts Vietnam 1-0.
Sydney FC 2 (Stewart 35’, MacDonald 90+1’) d. Thailand Under 21’s 1 (Surawit 89’)
Referee: Vo Quang Vinh (VIE)
Sydney FC: 1. Ryan Norval ©, 2. Keifer Dotti 3. Aaron Calver, 4. Roberto Speranza, 5. Matthew Stewart, 7. Joshua MacDonald, 8. Peter Triantis, 10. Tom Slater (18. Zackary Nicolis), 11. Christopher Naumoff (6. Anthony Kalik) (21. Boden Allport), 16 Alec Urosevski, 19. Theo Kofinas.
Subs not used: 17. Rino Zenari, 20. Anthony Bouzanis (gk).
2012/13 Sydney FC Memberships are now on sale with Public Transport to and from the game from all over Sydney covered in the Membership price.
Purchase your 2012/13 Sydney FC Membership or call (02) 8314 5100.