Reds down Sydney in extra time thriller

Adelaide United has defeated Sydney FC 2-1 in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 16 at Coopers Stadium.

Goals courtesy of Pablo Sanchez and Dylan McGowan were enough to cancel out Rhyan Grants 15th minute strike for the visitors, but the match itself was forced into extra time after neither side was able to find a winner in regulation time.

The match started with Sydney FC controlling the play creating a few half-chances in the final third, but couldn’t capitalise on their early possession.

In the 14th minute, Marcelo Carrusca took a quick free kick and played marksman, Bruce Djite, through on goal, which then rebounded into the path of Pablo Sanchez who miss-controlled, falling wide of goal. 

Despite the Reds growing into the game and swinging possession in their favour, Sydney made the initial breakthrough after a quarter of an hour, as Grant stunned the home crowd with a 30-yard effort.

Adelaide immediately started to control the match with chances from Carrusca and Pablo Sanchez who both forced Sky Blues goalkeeper, Vedran Janjetovic, into a couple of saves.

The Reds’ momentum continued, allowing Sergio Cirio to dance past two defenders, cut in, and find fellow countryman, Pablo Sanchez, who had the easiest of tasks in tapping the ball into the net.

Pablo Sanchez celebrates scoring Adelaide's first-half equaliser.

After the restart, both sides shared even amounts of possession with only limited opportunities in front of goal.  

In the 56th minute, Craig Goodwin had a chance to give the Reds the lead, but his free kick from 20 yards just skimmed the top of the cross bar.

With the ball largely stuck in the middle of the park, it took until the 80th minute for United substitute and debutant, Mate Dugandzic, to register a shot towards goal, but his volley went wide of the mark.

Sydney almost capitalised in the 90th minute, when a deep free kick was hit to the back post, but the arriving Mikael Tavares struck his volley well over the bar.

As the game crept closer towards extra time, a sense of nervousness filled the stands of Coopers Stadium and when the referee blew for the end of regulation time, this feeling of angst grew stronger.

Chances to Tarek Elrich in the 95th minute and then later to Carrusca kept Janjetovic on his toes, but the ‘keeper stood firm.

However, in the 114th minute United found the winner, as an audacious and ingenious rabona flick by Carrusca found McGowan for the easiest of finishes into an unguarded net.

Adelaide United Head Coach, Guillermo Amor, praised his side’s efforts and the way his players finished the match in particular.

“We controlled the match well towards the end of the first half and had a few chances to score, but we worked well to get the win,” said Amor.

“But overall I commend the team’s effort and the way they worked right until the very end of this very long match.

“The team is doing very well and all of the work in our pre-season and training is allowing the team to achieve.”