Sydney FC come from behind to secure second Australia Cup
Sydney FC came from behind to claim the Australia Cup 2023 with a 3-1 win against Brisbane Roar at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
Thomas Waddingham continued his excellent Cup form before a second-half brace to Fabio Gomes and one goal for Robert Mak handed Sydney the trophy.
It was a fast start to the match, with Sydney getting a good shot off seven minutes in. A quickly-taken corner found Anthony Caceres on the left edge of the box, who forced Macklin Freke to bat it away at his near post.
Eleven minutes later, the Roar snatched the advantage through teenage sensation Waddingham. Henry Hore’s low right-sided cross caused havoc in the Sydney box before the poacher poked home from close range.
The Roar looked to add a second midway through the half when Jay O’Shea dragged one across the face of the goal from the right of the area.
Sydney almost responded 31 minutes in when the lively Caceres wriggled his way into the box, one-on-one with Freke, but Brisbane defender Scott Neville smothered the danger with a vital block.
The leaders remained persistent, eager to add a second before halftime; Henry Hore rolling a strike from range wide of the left post with a regular minute to go.
The Sky Blues could have been level a minute into stoppage time when Joe Lolley’s cross from the right was steered wide at the near post by Patrick Wood.
Brisbane took their slender lead into halftime, targeting their first Australia Cup title.
Sydney continued their attacking trend after halftime, Joe Lolley being played in down the right eight minutes in and firing it across for Wood, but Neville pulled off another sensational intervention to deny him.
Wood was involved again a couple more times before the hour mark, his shots lacked the power to test Freke.
A turnover deep in the Sydney half in the 60th minute allowed O’Shea to drive onto the edge of the box and fire an effort, but Redmayne saved well.
The chances were coming thick and fast, with Hore blasting one over in the 64th minute.
The Sky Blues were handed a lifeline 65 minutes when they were awarded a penalty following Hore’s handball in the box.
Recent substitute Fabio Gomes showed great composure from the spot, passing into the right side of the net as Freke dived the other way.
Momentum stayed with Sydney, and they completed the turnaround seven minutes later. Lolley laying it across from the right for Mak at the far post, who made no mistake.
Mak sought another in the 78th minute, his shot from inside the left of the box flashing wide of the right post.
Sydney should have sealed the game with five minutes to play when Gomes slipped into the box but clipped it agonisingly wide.
Sydney finally put the game to bed in the 91st minute when Jaiden Kurcharski’s parried shot fell right to Gomes, who tapped in.
The Sky Blues also became the first team in the modern era (since 2014) to come from behind in an Australia Cup Final.
Sydney FC 3 (Fabio Gomes 68’ penalty 90+1’, Robert Mak 72’)
Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Thomas Waddingham 18’)
Date: Saturday 7 October 2023
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Gadigal, Sydney
Referee: Ben Abraham
Assistant Referees: Josh Mannella and Brad Wright
Fourth Official: Tim Danaskos
Sydney FC: 1. Andrew Redmayne, 23. Rhyan Grant, 8. Jake Girdwood-Reich, 15. Gabriel Lacerda, 4. Jordan Courtney-Perkins (27. Kealy Adamson 46’), 26. Luke Brattan, 12. Corey Hollman (22. Sam Burgess 46’), 17. Anthony Caceres, 10. Joe Lolley, 11. Robert Mak (25. Jaiden Kucharski 85’), 13. Patrick Wood (9. Fabio Gomes 65’)
Substitutes Not Used: 30. Adam Pavlesic, 3. Aaron Gurd, 28. Nicholas Amanatidis
Yellow Cards: Girdwood-Reich 39’
Red Cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar FC: 1. Macklin Freke, 19. Jake Hingert, 2. Scott Neville, 5. Tom Aldred, 35. Louis Zabala (27. Kai Trewin 80’), 26. Jay O’Shea, 6. Joe Caletti (14. Jonas Markovski 80’), 10. Nikola Mileunsic, (22. Alex Parsons 65’), 7. Florin Berenguer, 13. Henry Hore, 15. Thomas Waddingham (12. Taras Gomulka 60’)
Substitutes Not Used: 29. Matt Action, 30. Quinn Macnicol, 32. James Nikolovski
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil