Sydney FC finished the A-League season in second place after they won a virtual playoff for the position with Wellington Phoenix on Sunday afternoon. Two first half goals were enough for Sydney FC as they managed the 2-1 win at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington were seeking their highest ever A-League finish but with a bye in the first week of the finals on the line, Sydney FC were not about to lay down. The match was an open affair in the early stages as both sides were determined to get an early goal that could prove vital.
The hosts quickly took charge of the match and in the 10th minute Michael McGlinchey was brought down in the box by his former team mate Bernie Ibini. That allowed Roly Bonevacia to step up to the spot and hit the penalty but he sent it wide, letting Sydney FC off the hook.
Sydney FC made Wellington pay for that missed chance as they hit the lead just three minutes after the missed penalty. Bernie Ibini made up for his error to give away the penalty as he made a mazy run that left Louis Fenton scrambling, allowing Bernie to hit a powerful shot from close range to open the scoring.
It was all Sydney after the goal as they were completely dominant, controlling the pace and the possession. Despite that Wellington were able to have chances occasionally but they were truly just half chances as Sydney maintained their control.
On the half hour Sydney gained another chance as Albert Riera Vidal brought down Chris Naumoff in the box for a penalty. Former Phoenix man Shane Smeltz stepped up to take it and snuck it under the arm of Lewis Italiano to give Sydney a 2-0 lead.
Sydney FC were forced in to a change in the 38th minute as Chris Naumoff went off with an injury bringing Robert Stambolziev on to the pitch. That change allowed Wellington Phoenix to have more of the match with Smeltz and Burns looking dangerous but Wellington could not capitalize as the half ended 2-0 to Sydney.
Wellington Phoenix came out from the break on top as they went for it and hit the goal back in to the match. Nathan Burns was able to find space and get a cross in for Michael Boxall who was able to run on to it and send it home to get Wellington back in to the match.
Wellington Phoenix were now on top of the match and in the 56th minute they had another solid opportunity. Nathan Burns looked to chip Vedran Janjetovic, catching him off his line, but the keeper got back and managed to just touch it over the bar to keep it 2-1.
All the chances in the second half were coming from Wellington as they were able to dominate the match, in a reversal of the first half. But in the 62nd minute Sydney had a golden opportunity as Alex Brosque was given a perfect ball but Lewis Italiano made a stunning save to keep Wellington in the match.
It was all Wellington in the second half as they were continually attacking but the Sydney FC defense were determined to keep out Wellington and seal second. In an effort to try and get the goal they needed, Wellington Phoenix brought on Kenny Cunningham and he was looking active in the early going.
The attack from Wellington Phoenix was looking even more dangerous in the final ten minutes but Sydney FC were determined and they kept hold for the win. Sydney FC getting the win sees them in second place and they will get a bye in the first week of the finals and could well play Wellington Phoenix in the second week of the finals.