Ufuk Talay era off to a dream start as Sydney thrash Adelaide United in five-star showing

Watch all the goals from Sydney FC's emphatic 5-1 victory over Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.

A masterclass from Joe Lolley coupled with a Jaiden Kucharski double has fired Sydney FC to an emphatic 5-1 win on Saturday night – their first of the 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League season.

With the ink still drying on his contract, Ufuk Talay was tasked with taking his new Sydney side to a vibrant Coopers Stadium to face a red-hot Reds outfit.

What happened next though was quite incredible.

After just four minutes Jaiden Kurcharski found Joe Lolley on the right flank who was allowed to cut inside on his favoured left foot before sending a ferocious strike into the top corner beyond the despairing dive of Joe Gauci.

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Sydney defender Gabriel Lacerda then squandered a good chance to double their lead from a corner but it wouldn’t be long before the Sky Blues had their second.

Joel King’s deflected shot fell kindly at the feet of Joe Lolley who tapped home from six-yards after Adelaide had again failed to deal with another set-piece.

Clearly second best during the opening 20-minutes, Adelaide did rally through Bernardo but his low effort was well-saved by Andrew Redmayne.

However, the Talay effect was clearly on display at Hindmarsh and it was two players empowered by their new coach who did the damage.

Recalled to the starting side, Brazilian forward Fabio Gomes sent young winger Jaiden Kucharski through on goal and the 21-year-old cooly slotted the ball past Gauci to grab his first Isuzu UTE A-League goal.

His second, and Sydney’s fourth, would arrive on the stroke of half-time.

Some magical footwork in the middle of the park saw Lolley avoid the challenges of three Adelaide midfielders before threading his pass into the path of Kurcharski, who expertly dinked the ball over the on-rushing Gauci.

Reds coach Carl Veart made three changes at the break in a desperate effort to try and salvage something from the game but less than a minute into the second-half, Sydney were at it again.

Drifting in off the right flank once more, Lolley clipped a beautifully flighted ball over the back-peddling Adelaide defence and onto the head of Fabio Gomes, who nodded the ball past the Reds keeper to make it 5-0.

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The home side did regain some respectability with Zach Clough pulling one back from the spot after he was fouled inside the box but that was as good as it would get for the Reds.

The Talking Point

Ufuk Talay had just two training sessions with his new side before leading them into the clash with Adelaide United but he clearly worked a few early miracles.

For a side that was oh-and-three heading into the game and without a single goal to their name this season, Sydney looked revitalised from the off.

Their early pressing was too much for Adelaide to handle and there was clearly a new-found synergy between defence and attack which had been missing for some time.

The decision to hand Jaiden Kucharski a first start of the season proved to be a master-stroke as did the decision to recall Brazilian forward Fabio Gomes back into the side, with the two dovetailing nicely throughout the game before the youngster was eventually given a well-earned rest.

It may only be the earliest of days in the Talay era but few coaches will have reinvigorated a side quite like the 48-year old has done in such a short space of time.

The Star

Joe Lolley. A five-star showing from Sydney’s chief creator.

The Englishman cut a frustrated figure in the first three games of the season but everything he touched at Coopers Stadium turned to gold, or more appropriately, goal.

The former Nottingham Forest midfielder was a cut above anyone else on the pitch, combining majestic technique with an enthusiastic work-rate which often led to him being unplayable.

His early goals set the tone for Sydney FC and his two brilliant assists showcased what he is all about. A magnificent display.

What they said

Ufuk Talay could barely have dreamed of a better start to life in charge of Sydney FC.

Talay took charge of a team with zero goals or points after the first three rounds but that all changed in a big way after one game under their new Head Coach.

“If we’re a big club there’s a certain brand of football we need to play,” said Talay post-match. “Was it perfect all the way through? No, I think there’s a lot of room for improvement but for me the intent was there from the players.

“Overall I’m very happy, obviously pleased with the result it’s never easy coming to Adelaide and getting three points here. For me it’s great because there’s a lot to build on.”

Leading the charge with two goals and two assists for Sydney FC was Joe Lolley, who praised the impact his new Head Coach has had in such a short space of time.

“He’s come in and he wants us to be so aggressive,” said Lolley when discussing Talay. “I think the way you saw us pressing, I don’t think they could really get out of their half today.

He continued: “He’s come in and he’s come in with intent and what he wants. When you’ve lost three games, firstly you’re just itching to get back out on the pitch, put things right and put in a performance. I guess it was a great recipe for this game.

“I can tell from the first two days of training we’re going to be working hard over the next two weeks to make sure we’re ready for the Wanderers game.”

As for Adelaide United, Head Coach Carl Veart says he and his staff will have plenty to review after what was a desperately poor performance at home.

“I think everything pretty much went wrong for us,” said Veart. “We knew they would respond and come hard in the first fifteen minutes and we just didn’t deal with it.

“You don’t want to put on a performance like that in the first half at home. Second half was much better but the game was already over.”

What it means

The Sky Blues are now up and running for the 2023-34 Isuzu UTE A-League season after securing their first win of the campaign.

Three losses to open the campaign had them sitting last heading into this fixture but its a case of season starts now for Ufuk Talay who now has the international break to work with his side ahead of the Sydney Derby in Round Five.

As for Adelaide United, the Reds’ unbeaten start to the season has come to a shuddering halt following that heavy defeat.

Carl Veart’s side missed out on the chance to go top of the league and will now head to Ballarat to face Western United after the international break.