Sydney FC 4-0 Brisbane Roar
By Ben Carey (10/12/22)
Above: Sarah Hunter weaves her way past Hollie Palmer and Zara Kruger. Photo: Sydney FC.
Sydney FC secured an emphatic 4-0 win over Brisbane Roar at Allianz Stadium on Saturday evening.
The encounter got off to a tentative start with both sides content with hanging back and passing the ball around, testing each other out. The one exception to that came in the eighth minute when American international Madison Haley hit the woodwork after a great high-floating corner kick from Mackenzie Hawkesby.
Brisbane Roar got their own chance for a goal about 20 minutes later with some fantastic build-up play, which saw Larissa Crummer pass out to Ayesha Norrie, who chipped the ball past a few home defenders to find Shea Connors in an acre of space. However, Connors was unable to put the ball in the back of the net.
Despite having had seven corners in just over half an hour, Sydney’s first goal came from open play, after a fantastic quick and low pass from Princess Ibini on the right side of the box to Haley who avoided the post this time and slotted it in the bottom left corner of the goals past Hensley Hancuff.
Just before halftime, Connors found herself in the box again, but her effort was smothered comfortably by Jada Whyman. On the counterattack, Sydney was able to break through the Roar’s defensive line, with Sarah Hunter hitting a great pass to Haley who left Rankin for dead, dribbled into the box, and toe-poked the ball over Hancuff to score her second goal of the match.
In the second half, Brisbane were able to stop the bleeding, at least for a while. The most exciting moment of the match came in the 67th minute when Cortnee Vine hit an amazing ball to Hawkesby, who tried to tuck it in the bottom corner past the keeper. Hancuff had other ideas though, making a diving save and then getting back up quickly to make herself big for the follow-up from Hawkesby, who hit the post instead, before the ball was cleared to safety.
The rest of the match was filled with drama and theatrics. In the 84th minute, Rankin made an excellent sliding tackle in the penalty box on Remy Siemsen to prevent the visitors going down 3-0. The Sydney attacker fell dramatically over Rankin’s outstretched legs, presumably looking for a penalty. But referee Anna-Marie Keighley wasn’t having any of it.
A few minutes later, Brisbane enjoyed a rare spell of possession in the final third after an incredible pass from Margot Robinne over her shoulder and through to Crummer who crossed it into Hollie Palmer in the penalty area. Palmer hit a well-struck attempt on goal, but it hit both corners of the woodwork and bounced out to safety.
Sydney FC did not let up after the match entered stoppage time, in fact, they came at Brisbane Roar’s tired defence even harder. In the first minute of stoppage time, Siemsen, who was running in on goal, cut it back to Sarah Hunter, who was on the edge of the 18-yard box and was then able to put the ball over the keeper’s head.
Two minutes later, Vine played a wonderful chip through several Roar defenders to Charlize Rule who took a shot that looked likely to be saved or cleared, however Siemsen was waiting on the goal line to tap it in for her second goal of the season, and Sydney’s fourth and final of the match.
Sydney FC proved far too strong for Brisbane Roar. The Madison Haley wrecking ball demolished the Queenslanders’ backline in the first half and brilliance from Hunter, Vine, and Siemsen put the match to bed late in stoppage time. Sydney FC’s defence was solid, and their midfield was like a well-oiled machine, working tirelessly to create goal-scoring opportunities, which Sydney FC was clinical at finishing.
Both teams had roughly the same possession, but Sydney FC did a lot more with the ball when they had it, especially in the final third. The absence of Katrina Gorry, veteran Matilda and experienced Brisbane Roar midfielder, was very evident. This meant that the Roar midfield was largely occupied by young and inexperienced players who often looked confused and overwhelmed.
Speaking to the media afterwards, Sydney FC head coach Ante Juric said: “I wasn’t happy with the girls at halftime, I told them that, we just didn’t play well in my opinion.
“Yeah Madi (Haley) is good, she’s got X-factor… she changed the game for us when it was quite tight.”Sydney FC head coach Ante Juric on Madison Haley.
“Everyone is fighting against us like it’s their last game,” Juric went on, “and we need to take that fighting from the other team and deal with it and thus far we have done so.”
Although his team suffered a heavy defeat, there are still positives that Garrath McPherson can take away from the encounter. Jessie Rasschaert did a great job keeping Vine quiet for most of the game, matching her in pace, predicting her movements, and shutting down her attacks. Rankin did a great job in defence, making several crucial tackles and clearances. Finally, Connors was full of energy and intent the whole match, and had Brisbane been playing a higher press, her plays may have been more successful.
Things should be a lot more competitive for Brisbane Roar next weekend when they host Western Sydney Wanderers. Sydney FC will have a bye next weekend.
Teams: SYDNEY FC (4-1-4-1): Whyman, Rule, Mclean, De La Harpe, Fenton, Hollman, Vine, Hunter, Hawkesby, Ibini, Haley. Substitutes: Offer, Green, Stanic-Floody, Lemon, Siemsen.
Scorers: Haley 33’, 43’, Hunter 90+1’, Siemsen 90+3’.
BRISBANE ROAR (4-5-1): Hancuff, Rankin, Rasschaert, Linda, Levin, Connors, Kruger, Norrie, Palmer, Freier, Crummer. Substitutes: Shuttleworth, Haffenden, McQueen, Davern, Robinne.
Referee: Anna-Marie Keighley.