Sydney enjoying best run in four years after entertaining draw with impressive Brisbane

Check out the highlights as Sydney FC hosted Brisbane Roar in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

Sydney FC extended their unbeaten streak to eight games in the Isuzu UTE A-League after earning a 1-1 draw against Brisbane Roar, despite playing more than 65 minutes with 10 men.

Sky Blues sensation Jake Girdwood-Reich was sent off in the 25th minute following a VAR review, but Sydney still managed to open the scoring thanks to Robert Mak in the 64th minute.

Brisbane did equalise via Henry Hore three minutes later at Allianz Stadium, where in-form Sydney are now in the midst of their best undefeated streak since a 13-game stretch from November 2019 to February 2020 (W12 D1).

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Sydney are fifth and five points inside the top six, while the Roar are eighth and two points outside the finals positions.

There was a lot of discussion around Girdwood-Reich’s first-half dismissal, with debate as to whether it warranted a red card.

Sydney head coach Ufuk Talay told reporters: “The letter of the law says it’s a red card so it’s a red card at the end of the day because they never look at the intent or was the intent to win the ball?

“He is half a second late but the letter of the law says the tackle is above the ankle, it’s a red card. It is what it is.”

Asked if he was concerned that those kind of tackles don’t get picked up in games and it happens in a finals game and “derails a season”, Talay responded: “You said it yourself, it doesn’t get picked up so where is the consistency then?

“There needs to be consistency across the board and in all the games played. It can’t be a one-off thing at the end of the day.

“Jake is late, he gets him above his ankle. So by the letter of the law says it’s a red card but they don’t look at the intent of the challenge, whether he was trying to win the ball…”

Much had been made about Sydney’s resurgence under Talay and their relentless high-pressing strategy.

Since the beginning of Round 13, the Sky Blues had scored more goals (17) and outpaced their Expected Goals (xG) by more (+3.68) than any other team in the competition, while no team had forced more high turnovers than Sydney (76) during the same timeframe.

But Brisbane, who were the only team to have won possession in the final third more times than Sydney (43) since the beginning of Round 13 prior to Sunday, played through their opponents’ press.

The Roar fired the first warning shot in the seventh minute when a blistering counter-attack ended with Nikola Mileusnic putting the ball in the back of the net, however, the flag was up for offside.

There was another opportunity for Brisbane and it was a golden chance seven minutes later – Marco Rojas found himself in a one-v-one against Andrew Redmayne but he was unable to find a way past the Sydney goalkeeper.

Sydney were dealt a blow in the 25th minute after Girdwood-Reich was sent off for a challenge on Mileusnic. Initially shown a yellow after making contact with the Roar forward’s ankle, it was upgraded to red upon a VAR review.

Mileusnic hit the post just past the half-hour mark, though it would not have counted due to offside.

There were two threatening moments for the Sky Blues prior to half-time. First Joe Lolley was denied by Macklin Freke before following up with a pass across the six-yard box that only needed a touch from a teammate.

Then, Fabio Gomes rattle the crossbar seconds later.

Despite being down a man, Sydney nearly broke the deadlock two minutes into the second half – Anthony Cacares saw his strike shave the outside of the post.

Sydney did defy the odds in the 64th minute thanks to Jordan Courtney-Perkins’ pressure and Rhyan Grant’s awareness to pick out Mak, who composed himself to score past Freke.

The lead was short-lived, however. Henry Hore ghosted into the area and was able to side-hoot into the back of the net to restore parity within four minutes.