Sydney FC's stunning resurgence under coach Frank Farina continued unabated on Saturday as they accounted for Adelaide United 2-1 to move to fifth on the A-League ladder
|By JOHN GRECO
Sydney FC have continued their late-season charge towards the finals after disposing of Adelaide 2-1 at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
Goals to youngster Terry Antonis - his first in the A-League - and striker Blake Powell had the Sky Blues cruising before Adelaide debutant Tomi Juric ensured a grandstand finish.
But despite living dangerously at times late in the match, the home side hung on for a well-deserved victory in front of a crowd of more than 15,000.
Sydney FC have moved above both Melbourne Heart and Newcastle into fifth spot to improve their hopes of securing a finals berth with six matches of the regular season remaining.
The win was the Sky Blues' fifth in a row on their home turf which breaks the club record of four that was set all the way back in 2006.
And with Australia captain Lucas Neill signed on for the rest of the season, Frank Farina's side loom as a real dark horse come the finals.
Sydney FC looked the more likely of the two sides in an otherwise uninspiring first half of sloppy turnovers and few chances.
Powell had the best opportunity early on, getting in front of his marker at the near post but scuffing his effort wide of the post from Fabio's cross.
Recalled to the starting side for the suspended Brett Emerton, Antonis was getting plenty of the ball and almost thrilled the home crowd with a stinging shot on 24 minutes.
Reds goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic punched Alessandro Del Piero's corner straight to the midfielder on the edge of the box, with his first-time volley dipping just over the crossbar.
Adelaide rarely troubled the Sydney FC defence in the first 45 minutes, unable to register a single shot on target.
Del Piero was inches away from opening the scoring a minute after the break, with his free kick from 35 yards beating Galekovic but rebounding off the post and away to safety.
But the home side did not have to wait long to get their deserved breakthrough.
Substitute Paul Reid, on at the break for the injured Peter Triantis [knee], won the ball in the middle of the park before releasing to Antonis on the edge of the box.
The 19-year-old controlled the ball before stepping back inside onto his left foot and getting a shot away which deflected off Iain Fyfe and wrong-footed Galekovic before rolling into the corner of the net.
Sydney FC were not about to rest on their lead and continued to manufacture the best openings, doubling their lead on 66 minutes.
Del Piero's corner was helped towards goal by Adam Griffiths with Powell alert enough to divert the ball home from close range.
Adelaide looked gone but gave themselves some hope when Galekovic's long ball found its way through to Juric who raced clear before finishing confidently past Vedran Janjetovic.
But despite some nervy moments late in the contest, Sydney FC held on for a valuable win.