An abysmal second half from the Wanderers gifted Sydney FC a 3-0 win and a place in the FFA Cup final tonight in Penrith.
The Wanderers should have opened the scoring just 7 minutes in, Riera cut through in on goal 1v1, but elected to try a cutback across the 6 yard box for Roly Bonevacia. Perhaps the left winger didn't expect the striker to shoot so he was caught a little on his heels, and it allowed a defender to come back and block the ball. Shortly after there was a shout for a Sydney FC penalty with Keanu Baccus sticking a bit of his leg out, it would have soft and the referee decided to let play continue.
Andrew Redmayne kept the scores level with a strong save in the 20th. The Wanderers piled on the pressure, a corner fell to the feet of Captain Brendan Hamill and he blasted a shot at the near post that Redmayne palmed away. 10 minutes later Riera just couldn't touch a cross by Roly Bonevacia, and just before the break Sotirio had a shot spilled by Redmayne but no-no from the home side could follow up. The two teams went into the half level, with the Wanderers slightly on top in terms of chances but lacking a cutting edge in front of goal.
The second half was a disaster for the Wanderers as they fell behind immediately and totally lost control of the game. Raul Llorente misjudged a defensive header, giving it to Sydney FC in a dangerous position, De Jong found Trent Buhagiar and he blew past Elrich with pace and tapped it around the onrushing Nizic.
The game should have been level in the 63rd minute. Josh Risdon was clear through on goal, with no-one but the keeper to beat and sent his shot straight at Andrew Redmayne. It was a dismal finish from a national team player, a shot that was harder to miss than score. It was the last major action for the Wanderers and not long after they were two down.
As is an A-League referee's want, they favoured Sydney FC all night and a dodgy foul outside the area was the catalyst for Sydney FC's second goal. De Jong stepped up and curled his strike to the opposite corner from Nizic and the keeper's despairingly slow dive was too late to even get a touch. A 74th minute penalty was the sealer, Tarek Elrich, who was deployed in central defence due to a raft of injuries to the club's nominal central defenders tapped Le Fondre on the knee and the striker went down like a sack of potatoes. Having won the penalty he stepped up and fired a rocket into the top of the goal for 3-0.
The match petered to it's inevitable conclusion as the Wanderers could barely manage a shot on target let alone a goal, and in fact Sydney FC had the best chances to extend their lead. For all the pre-match talk from Hamill questioning if Sydney FC had improved, it was the visiting side who took their chances and kept a clean sheet. The Babbel era has kicked off with a succession of injuries and a lack of composure up front, and there is not a lot of time left before two tough away trips to Perth & Sydney to start the A-League season.
Adelaide United were drawn as the hosts, and will want to take revenge for their FFA Cup final defeat in Sydney last year.