Macarthur go top of the table after road win over resilient 10-man Sky Blues

Catch the highlights as Sydney FC hosted Macarthur FC at Allianz Stadium in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

Macarthur FC moved to the top of the Isuzu UTE A-League table after defeating a determined 10-man Sydney FC 2-0 at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.

Jake Hollman’s first-half strike came in the aftermath of Andrew Redmayne’s 15th-minute red card, given after a VAR review on an incident in which the Sydney FC goalkeeper was caught well outside his penalty area when a Matthew Millar shot struck his arm.

Despite the early send-off, Sydney bossed possession and created plenty of chances – but couldn’t find a breakthrough, as Valère Germain wrapped up all three points for the Bulls with a late sealer.

The result sent Macarthur above Western Sydney Wanderers and Wellington Phoenix into top spot on the table after Wellington’s shock defeat to Newcastle Jets earlier on Saturday evening.

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Macarthur had the ball in the back of the net after just six minutes in what looked to be a dream start to the action for the visiting side – but Millar’s shot deflected off the chest of Ulises Dávila who was well offside when the ball was struck.

A Rhyan Grant strike from long range called Filip Kurto into a comfortable save two minutes later in an exciting start to a contest that burst into life soon after when Sky Blues keeper Redmayne was dismissed for a handball outside of his penalty area.

Redmayne had rushed out to collect a Clayton Lewis through ball but Millar got to it first, taking two touches before attempting a long-range shot on goal that struck Redmayne on the arm.

Referee Daniel Elder initially called play on, but in the resulting break of play, reviewed the incident on the pitchside monitor and decided to brandish a red card in Redmayne’s direction.

Backup goalkeeper Adam Pavlesic came off the bench in place of striker Patrick Wood as Sydney head coach Ufuk Talay shuffled the deck to mitigate the loss of his No.1 gloveman.

Pavlesic was quickly put to the test by a Lewis free-kick which he repelled, then collected possession from a subsequent Macarthur attempt, earning rapturous applause from the home fans.

But after going down to 10 men, Sydney came close to the opener when Joe Lolley played Fabio Gomes through on goal. The Brazilian struck toward the bottom-left corner, and only a fingertip save by Kurto denied the home side the breakthrough.

Macarthur took the lead two minutes later when a fast break led to an early Germain cross off the right side of the penalty area into the path of Hollman, who took a touch off his chest to control before whipping a curling effort around Sydney full-back Grant and into the back of the net.

Germain wasted a glorious chance to double the lead when his unmarked header was directed off target, as Sydney went into half-time trailing by one goal to nil.

The Frenchman continued to threaten early in the second half, cutting off the left wing onto his favoured right foot to fire on goal – but Pavlesic was well placed to collect with a safe pair of hands.

The Sky Blues came out swinging in the second half, and could have drawn level in the 58th minute when centre-back Gabriel Lacerda received a cut-back cross from Grant after a neat backheel by Fabio – but fluffed his lines with the first-time strike, fading his effort past the post.

Sydney were then denied by an offside flag shortly after the hour mark. Luke Brattan picked out a smart Robert Mak run with an inviting ball from deep in midfield, with Mak putting a genius flick over the head of Kurto on the spin. Mak had made his run just too early and the flag was raised to deny the hosts a leveller.

The hosts continued to threaten and despite their one-man disadvantage looked the better side at the midway point of the second half; Anthony Caceres drilled a low strike from range just centimetres away from the bottom-left corner in the latest half-chance for the Sky Blues.

But cracks began to appear in Sydney’s defence as they continued to push forward in numbers. A fast break from Macarthur resulted in a three-on-one rushing in toward goal, and if Germain’s pass out wide to Jed Drew was played with greater accuracy, it would have resulted in a near-certain goal.

Instead Drew was forced to wait on the flight of the ball, cutting onto his right foot and swinging a shot just wide of the top corner.

Still, the Sky Blues toiled in pursuit of an equaliser. Caceres popped up again to threaten Kurto in goal, squeezing a shot from a tight angle through bodies and just wide of the post.

All of Sydney’s attacking impetus would amount to nothing on a frustrating night for Talay’s side, with the result sealed by Germain’s 86th-minute strike from close range.

The star

Jake Hollman scored his third goal in as many league games on Saturday night to send Macarthur en route to victory over the Sky Blues – but his big moment paled in comparison to another very special occurrence at Allianz Stadium: playing against his 20-year-old brother, Corey.

The Hollman family came out in numbers to watch the two brothers go toe-to-toe in the Isuzu UTE A-League for the very first time.

Post-game, Hollman delivered an emotional tribute to his parents, and family, for supporting the growth of not only his career, but his brother Corey and younger sister Shay, who won the Liberty A-League Championship with Sydney FC last season.

“It was special,” he told Paramount+.

“It was special because we have had so many hours at the local oval together, training together – as well as my younger sister (Shay) who plays for Sydney as well.

“There (have) been numerous, numerous tears over those hours of playing together.

“To walk on the field together, shake hands before the game, you’re thinking sometimes: ‘That’s my brother. Is this a little kick around, or a professional match?’ It was lovely.

“I think it’s super special for them – especially my parents. The amount of sacrifice they put in for us to even have the chance to play professional football, no words can do it justice.

“Family, and grandparents are all here, and good friends so they’ll love it.”

The moment

Sydney FC goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne’s early send-off in the first half changed the complexion of the contest at Allianz Stadium, putting Macarthur in the box seat to earn all three points from the Saturday night encounter.

Redmayne’s red card came after an incident involving Matt Millar well outside his penalty area, in which he was adjudged – after a VAR review – to have committed a handball offence when Millar’s long-range shot deflected off his arm.

Pundits and both current and former players gave their opinion on the decision by referee Daniel Elder to dismiss Redmayne in the aftermath of the moment that swung momentum in Macarthur’s favour.

REACTION: Sydney FC keeper sent off after VAR review for handball in ‘no man’s land’

The talking point

Despite holding a one-man advantage for the majority of the game, Macarthur conceded plenty of opportunities to the Sky Blues who performed valiantly in defeat.

Sydney took 19 shots to Macarthur’s 12 and enjoyed almost 60% of possession on Saturday night. Ufuk Talay’s side will look back on the 2-0 defeat in frustration – but will also take pride and encouragement from the way they performed after going down to 10 men.