Western United and Sydney share spoils after late drama

A goal against his former club Western United by Max Burgess has secured Sydney FC a 1-1 draw with the ALM league leaders at Netsrata Jubilee Stadium.

At a rain-soaked Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday, Burgess’s second goal of the season cancelled out Steven Lustica’s opener as Sydney and Western settled on a 1-1 draw.

The visitors thought they’d snatched a late winner when a penalty was given in stoppage time against Socceroos fullback Rhyan Grant for handball but the decision was overturned after a video review by referee Shaun Evans.

The result means Western hold on to top spot but only by one point from defending champions Melbourne City after both teams have played 11 games each.

Steve Corica’s Sydney stay third, two points clear of fourth-place Adelaide United.

In a match marred by periods of torrential rain, Sydney created the better changes in the first half with Milos Ninkovic coming closest when his 30th minute effort was palmed on to the post by Western goalkeeper Jamie Young.

That save became doubly vital when Lustica opened the scoring in the 56th minute to put the visitors ahead.

Running on to a loose ball at the edge of the box, Lustica’s sidefooted effort benefited from Lachie Wales standing in the line of sight of Thomas Heward-Belle in the Sydney goal to find the net.

A VAR check showed Wales was onside and Western were chasing a seventh 1-0 win of the season.

That wasn’t to be when Burgess finished off good work by Bobo and Ninkovic to level the scores in the 64th minute.

Heward-Belle, playing ahead of Socceroo Andrew Redmayne for the second straight week, did well to push Josh Risdon’s 74th-minute header from an Alessandro Diamanti corner over the bar.

Ninkovic had the last clear-cut chance of the match but his curling effort was palmed wide acrobatically by Young.

Just when the action seemed over, Evans awarded a penalty when Dylan Wenzel-Halls’ header was deflected by Grant’s left arm but after viewing the action on the pitchside monitor he overturned his decision.

Sydney FC, who played without Harry Van der Saag and Anthony Caceres after both were ruled out with illness before the match, face Wellington next Saturday while Western host Western Sydney next Sunday.


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