Phoenix and Sydney share spoils in ALM

Ed Jackson |

Sydney FC coach Steve Corica believes his team have thrown away two points after an entertaining 1-1 A-League Men draw with Wellington Phoenix at Leichhardt Oval.

The Sky Blues had 10 shots on target to three against the Phoenix but had to settle for a point on Saturday after Bobo’s second-half strike cancelled out David Ball’s first-half opener for Wellington.

Phoenix goalkeeper Oli Sail continued his fine return from a hip injury with several crucial saves including a diving effort in stoppage time to deny Bobo a late winner for the Sky Blues.

The results means both teams extend their unbeaten runs, with Sydney holding on to fourth place on goal difference from the Phoenix who have played a game less than Corica’s men.

“We’re disappointed we didn’t get the three points,” Corica said.

“I think we deserved them. We created obviously a lot of chances.

“The keeper made about seven saves so I’m pretty sure he would’ve got man of the match.

“Obviously creating chances is very positive as well and the way we went about it was fantastic but we have to take a couple more chances, we have to have a little bit more composure in front of goals.”

Sydney are now unbeaten in five matches while the Phoenix have won four and drawn two of their past six games.

Corica made three changes to Sydney’s starting XI with Anthony Caceres (illness) and Mustafa Amini (ankle) back in the team while Socceroos goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne was back between the sticks after being overlooked for the past two matches in favour of Tom Heward-Belle.

Amini was the brightest attacking option for Sydney in the opening half and should have put his team ahead in the 22nd minute when he was put through, only for Sail to make the first of several eye-catching saves.

Former Wellington player Max Burgess hit the post just moments later with a shot from the edge of the penalty area and it took a goalline clearance by Sam Sutton in the 38th minute to deny Serbian playmaker Milos Ninkovic an opener.

After all those chances, Sydney found themselves behind at the break when a long ball bypassed the midfield and was controlled by Ball in the box.

The Phoenix forward stole a yard off James Donachie before spinning and firing past Redmayne to notch his first goal of the season.

Sydney continued to toil in the second half but it took the introduction of Bobo to bring them level.

The 37-year-old took just seven minutes on the field to notch his eighth goal in eight games against the Phoenix.

Caceres’s backheel inside the box found Rhyan Grant in his record-breaking 223rd ALM appearance for Sydney and the Socceroos’ cross was fired into the far corner by Bobo.

Sydney pushed on in search of a winner but the Phoenix held on to leave coach Ufuk Talay satisfied at the end of a busy spell of games for his team.

“We started off well, we scored a very good goal and then obviously being this is our fifth game in 14 days I think the boys put in a very good shift,” Talay said.

“1-1, I think, is a fair result at the end of the day.”

Sydney travel to Melbourne to face Western United on Wednesday while Wellington take on Western Sydney Wanderers next weekend.