18/04/2024

Joe Lolley, who notched up two assists in Sydney's 3-0 win over Western United. Photo Credit: Joshua Davis/The Inner Sanctum

With temperatures in Sydney’s inner-west reaching 33 degrees at kick-off, you would be forgiven for thinking Sydney FC and Western United would play a low-intensity game from the get-go.

That was not the case as Western United put early pressure on the home side, and almost found the opener, while Sydney FC hit back with pressure of their own after surviving the early scare.

Sydney FC would capitalise on the pressure, scoring through Anthony Caceres in the 12th minute, to give the home side a 1-0 lead.

A 25th minute drinks break would give both sides a chance to recuperate, and the Sky Blues would take full advantage, doubling their lead a few minutes later.

Anthony Caceres celebrating his goal at Leichhardt Oval in the Australia Cup quarter-final against Western United. Photo Credit: Joshua Davis/The Inner Sanctum

Joe Lolley would receive the ball in the box, and his shot would end up at the feet of Patrick Wood, who made no mistake in slotting it past former Sydney FC goalkeeper Thomas Hewerd-Belle from six yards out.

As the heat raged on, the pace in play slowed to open the second half, and Western United were unable to capitalise on the created opportunities.

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Jack Rodwell would score his first goal for Sydney FC after being denied moments earlier by the corner post, to make it 3-0 and seal a semi-final appearance for the home side.

Speaking to The Inner Sanctum after the game, Lolley was not upset in the slightest about having his shot end up at the feet of Wood.

“To be honest, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

“To be fair to Pat, it was nowhere near going in, so he did well to react to it.

“Those are the sorts of goals strikers thrive on, so great for him and Cass (Anthony Caceres) to get on the scoresheet as well.

“It’s just great to be in the next round and onto the semi-final as well.”

While the heat played a part in the game, Lolley downplayed its significance, describing the lead-in weather over the preceding days in Sydney as “lucky”.

“[We’ve] had the hot conditions at training, so it just allowed us a few days to get used to it.

“It is difficult. It makes the game a little bit more challenging.

“But we’re footballers. We’ve been training hard and we’ve been ready for these sort of games.

“I think it showed, everyone worked their socks off, and it showed how fit we are today.”

Sydney FC now turn their attention to a trip to Melbourne, as they will face Melbourne City in the Australia Cup semi-final with details of the match still to be confirmed.

The other Australia Cup semi-final will see NPL Victorian side Melbourne Knights host Brisbane Roar, also with details still to be confirmed.

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