30/05/2024

Jed Drew in action against the Wellington Phoenix. Photo Credit: Richie Wagner/Macarthur FC (supplied by Macarthur FC)

With a home elimination final on the line for both sides, Sydney FC made a trip to Campbelltown on Saturday night to take on Macarthur.

The game started strong, with a back and forth contest in the first half and both sides having strong chances but neither able to find the back of the net.

Despite being level on points, Sydney FC had one more win compared to Macarthur coming into the match, with the home side needing to win for a chance at a home elimination final.

That task became much tougher in the 37th minute when Ivan Vujica had his yellow card changed to a red card after a VAR review, leaving Macarthur with 10 players.

Sydney FC coach Ufuk Talay post-game said he thought Vujica’s challenge was not a red card.

Macarthur FC coach Mile Sterjovski thought the same thing.

“The first one was right in front of me and my first thoughts were that it wasn’t a red. I was surprised it had to even go to VAR,” Sterjovski said.

“Even Joe Lolley was walking up to the ref as he was walking over to the VAR and saying don’t send him off, it’s not a red and he totally ignored him.

“I thought the referring was very poor tonight. It needs to be better.”

In first half stoppage time, Jed Drew would receive a pass from Valere Germain, and put it in the back of the net to open the scoring for the hosts after capitalising on the rebound from his own shot.

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Macarthur would continue to perform strongly to open the second half, creating several chances but were unable to extend the lead, which would prove costly in the 67th minute.

Tommy Smith would be awarded a yellow card, which was upgraded to a red after a VAR check, leaving Macarthur down to nine players for the remainder of the game.

As it related to the two red cards, Football Australia Head of Referees Nathan Magill said “In relation to the two direct Red Cards in the Macarthur FC and Sydney FC A-League Men match this evening, as is process, all matches and the performances of officials from the Round will be reviewed by the Football Australia Referees Department on Monday.”

After struggling to find the back of the net, Sydney FC thought they had the equaliser in the 75th minute, but Joe Lolley would be flagged offside by VAR, leaving the score at 1-0.

Macarthur continued to absorb pressure from Sydney FC, not allowing the visitors an easy route to try and find the back of the net as they looked to be in prime position for a home final.

With eight minutes of second half stoppage time, Macarthur would have a breakaway chance to try and add to their lead, but would be shut down by Sydney’s defence, before holding on for a very gutsy 1-0 win.

Sterjovski said he was pleased with the way his side fought back with nine men and held on, while Talay said he thought it was not a good performance from his side.

“Collectively, I don’t think it was a good performance, we have to be honest. We lost, I think, 54 per cent of the ground duels this evening.

“Macarthur were probably a little bit more hungry [and] had more desire than what we had tonight.

“I thought even with the ball we rushed things at times. I thought we weren’t composed and I thought the execution at times and the decision making wasn’t good enough.”

The win puts Macarthur into fourth place on 41 points, one behind Victory in third place, in front of an all-time record home crowd for the hosts of 7723.

Sydney FC fall to fifth and are still on 38 points, but could leapfrog Macarthur into fourth with a win over Perth Glory next week if Macarthur fail to claim points against Wellington in New Zealand on Saturday.

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