Kosta Barbarouses and Tom Heward-Belle helped consolidate Sydney FC’s second spot on the A-League ladder as the defending champions beat Brisbane Roar 2-0 in Redcliffe.
Barbarouses’ 16th minute strike proved decisive, but it was a standout performance from young goalkeeper Heward-Belle that ensured the Sky Blues took home all three points.
After their five-match winning streak, Sydney have earned themselves a week off, while Brisbane will have to wait on the results of other matches to find out their finals opposition.
The Roar’s packed schedule seemed to catch up with them as they struggled to match Sydney’s early pace.
The Sky Blues, despite being without Socceroos trio Andrew Redmayne, Rhyan Grant and Ryan McGowan, again looked like a team that’s hit their straps at just the right time of the season.
This time it was Kosta Barbarouses who got on the scoresheet with an excellent goal to put Sydney ahead in the 16th minute.
The Kiwi international was played in on the right side, before continuing into the box and unleashing a low drive past Jamie Young. His goal came just a few minutes after Luke Brattan’s curling corner was headed into the crossbar by Bobo.
Sydney FC head into the finals in stellar form. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
While the game was end-to-end, it was Sydney’s fearsome attack that looked the more ominous, but Brisbane did manage to work themselves back into the game before the half time break.
Tom Heward-Belle was forced into a number of top saves, notably a diving effort to palm away a strong shot from Dylan Wenzel-Halls.
The home side continued to improve as the second half progressed with Wenzel-Halls a constant nuisance for Sydney’s defenders, but he just couldn’t get past the impressive Heward-Belle.
Riku Danzaki missed an opportunity to score the leveller when he broke the line, only to fire his shot into the side netting.
Heward-Belle was again called into action, this time pulling off an incredible point-blank save from Joey Champness with 15 minutes to play.
With the Roar in search of an equaliser, it was the Sky Blues who went on to seal the result when Harry Van Der Saag scored deep into injury time.
Back-to-back champions Sydney will host the highest ranked team from the elimination final on June 19.
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