Sydney FC have qualified for the A-League finals at the expense of Newcastle after a thrilling win over the Jets at Allianz Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Sydney FC turned in a sparkling first-half performance to win through to the Hyundai A-League finals with a drama-charged 3-2 win against Newcastle Jets also ending the play-off aspirations of the visitors.
The first half saw Sky Blues turn in one of their best home performances of the season in what was a winner-takes-all contest, with both teams locked on points heading into the encounter at Allianz Stadium.
Sydney were 3-1 to the good at the break only to allow the Jets back into the contest in the latter stages to set up a heart-stopping finale.
Sydney FC enjoyed a perfect start with the opening goal on 12 minutes. Brett Emerton delivered a pinpoint cross which Bruno Cazarine duly powered home his header from eight metres.
The Jets, having hitherto failed to make any significant progress, appeared to have earned a penalty as Michael Bridges was brought crashing to the earth by Terry McFlynn on the edge of the penalty area, only for the referee to award a free-kick.
Almost immediately, Sydney could have doubled their advantage as Emerton released Karol Kisel but after rounding the goalkeeper the Slovakian saw his square pass narrowly cut out by some desperate defending with Joel Chianese left unmarked in the centre.
Against the run of play Newcastle turned the momentum of the match on its head following a moment of inspiration from Ruben Zadkovich.
The former Sydneysider's powerful running took him past two opponents before a square ball allowed Michael Bridges an easy conversion at the far post to the joy of a healthy contingent of travelling fans.
The lead, however, lasted just three minutes as Pascal Bosschaart sprung the offside trap with a long ball that found Chianese, whose shot took a hefty deflection of the covering Sung Hwan-Byun to leave goalkeeper Ben Kennedy with no chance.
Within the space of four minutes Chianese completed a double, and if there was an element of luck in his first, the second was perfectly executed. Emerton made a foray towards the penalty area and held the ball up for the onrushing Chianese to collect and stab his shot home.
It could have got even worse for the Jets before the break as Nikolai Topor-Stanley diverted a Scott Jamieson cross onto the crossbar.
A desperate Newcastle started the second period with renewed vigour and after a succession of corners Ali Abbas spurned a good opening at the back post.
The Iraqi nearly redeemed himself a few moments later but his smart curling effort was too high.
Emerton was a constant threat down the right flank but the second half was largely a muted affair until the final minutes as Newcastle pulled a goal back to set the game on edge.
Topor-Stanley directed a header onto the crossbar with Jobe Wheelhouse following up to stab the ball home.
Suddenly the game was on a knife-edge but neither Jets substitute Jeremy Brockie, nor Mark Bridge for the Sky Blues, were able to convert good opportunities.
The win saw Sydney FC leapfrog Melbourne Heart into fifth and set up a finals showdown with Wellington Phoenix.Body