Thanks to two unexpected goals from Nieuwenhof and Brattan, Sydney FC is set for 2021. In the closing stages, Wellington played along and pushed for an equalizer, but could only reward themselves with a Muratovic first-half goal.
Thank you for joining us this afternoon, and soon we’ll be doing it again.
The first three points are taken by the chief and winner of the league in 2021.
90+4 minutes: Wellington is on the net with the ball! But is it going to count? Oh, no.
After clearing a header, Davila shoots from the edge of the box, but it hits Hemed on the way to goal and the Israeli is clearly offside. The striker deflected the ball and an error was made by Redmayne.
Lucky Blue Sky Escape.
90+3 min: Yeah, was that an opportunity!? On the right, Sotirio generates some space and his cross is checked before the goal.
The ball bounces to Davila, who has a good view of the objective, but the shot is blocked by Brattan.
90+2 minutes: Phoenix plays the ball well to the left, where Ridenton is released, and Hemed heads his cross across the target. Zullo was hugely driven into the air by the Israeli, and the defender did not have to do anything else to pay a penalty.
90th minute: Sydney with around a minute of possession takes the bite out of the game, and it should have led to a chance, but Ninkovic misjudged. Wellington replied quickly and had a half-chance through Hemed, who was fired from the box’s edge, but Redmayne was on his guard and made a superb save.
89 minutes: Rufer from a distance – Redmayne straight.
88 minutes: Wellington appears to have plenty of possession, but only in harmless areas, and it lacks the skill to play its way through the ranks of the defenders of the Sky Blues.
86 mins: Wellington attempts to cross from outside the box, but both times it fails. The last attempt ends when, under pressure from Baumjohann, Ridenton brings the ball out of bounds. The phoenix is running out of time.
84 minutes: Momentum is all on the side of Wellington, but in the closing phases they have not produced any scoring chances of note.
82 minutes: Further alterations. For Sydney FC, Wood is making his A-League debut, replacing Buhagiar. Zullo is coming for King, who’s been having a good game.
And in Phoenix, the hard-working Devlin is replaced by Ridenton.
81 minutes: Wellington continues pushing and Redmayne has to use all of his ability to punch a deep cross away from Payne.
The enigma is solved.
You always figured that Muratovic would score his first goal in the #ALeague, and we wouldn’t have any footage of it!!! : @Foxtel, @kayosports, @abcsport, @skysportnz: My live soccer app https://t.co/tlabbdo8jX#WELvSYD #Nix pic.twitter.com/5phOZobmoS
2nd January, 2021
79 minutes: The Nix are starting to develop into the game.
Davila is becoming more influential and his deflected shot goes wide before Rufer hammers one over the bar.
Sydney need to pick themselves up or they’ll end up in quicksand.
77th minute: Wellington continue to encourage as Sydney play too much in their own half and repeatedly fail to clear their own lines. The Sky Blues seem content to defend deep in their own half for the rest of the game, which doesn’t seem like the smartest approach.
75 Minutes: Wellington doesn’t seem like a team with a clear plan at the moment.
As a result, a lot of players are trying things on their own, lacking cohesion, including Sotirio running into dead ends.
But one of those moments almost leads to a goal for Devlin, who takes a shot from the edge of the box after some brave work from Ball in midfield, but the effort goes well over the bar.
73 minutes: The Sky Blues do better, Baumjohann initiating a crucial attack with crisp one-touch passes.
In the end, the German shoots just over Marinovic’s goal after a clever pass from Buhagiar.
Young star Nieuwenhof is replaced by Zuvela after a strong performance.
71 minutes: A wasteful few minutes from both sides. Wellington lack fluidity in midfield and Sydney fail to capitalize in the final third.
Baumjohann misses a heavy ball and Ivanovic should have done better after his shot was blocked by Buhagiar after good advance work.
69th minute: excellent cross from Ball from the right to be cleared by Grant with a superb header as Fenton runs in behind him at the far post.
68 minutes: Sydney breaks promisingly down the right wing and Ivanovic hits an early cross, but his low ball goes just past the onrushing Buhagiar and the move is stopped.