English Champions Chelsea FC treated their fans to an absolute
spectacle tonight, defeating Sydney FC 1-0 in post-season friendly at ANZ Stadium.
The highly anticipated friendly saw the blues play a first
team lineup, consisting of stars John Terry, Eden Hazard, Diego Costa to name a
It was a sight to behold, as 83,000 fans covered the stands
in a sea of blue singing their anthem ‘Blue is the colour’.
Chelsea wasted no time, controlling the momentum and flow of
the game in the first 15 minutes.
Diego Costa tested Sydney goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic early,
firing a shot into the post. PFA player of the year Eden Hazard also looked a
class above the rest, leaving players out to dry with his silky skills, whilst creating a number of
opportunities pushing forward.
Youngsters Robert Stambolziev and Terry Antonis were
standouts for Sydney FC, proving to be a danger going forward. Antonis is
relishing his great fun of form since spending much of the A-League season on
Despite Sydney’s resilience, Chelsea managed to find the
back of the net in the half hour mark; Frenchman Loic Remy firing a wonder
strike with his left foot, with a pigeon in the top left corner.
Sydney was unlucky not to reply with an equalizer minutes
later. Chris Naumoff failed to convert a one on one with the keeper before an
acrobatic save by Ivanovic cleared Alex Brosque’s follow up off the line.
As the game dragged on, Sydney looked more likely to break
back with an equalizer. Mastermind manager Jose Mourinho opted to bring off his
stars early in replacement for youth. Brazilian- Spaniard Diego Costa went off
with an injury scare to his Achilles.
Sydney almost added to the drama late on, as new signing
Andrew Hoole sent a header into the path of Petr Cech and onto the rebound for
Sebastian Ryall. Much to Sydney’s dismay, the goal was disallowed by Korean
referee Hyungjin Ko due to a handball. Chelsea has their veteran goalkeeper to
thank for the win, literally saving the game in the final minutes with his
Despite failing to score, Sydney must be commended for their
efforts regardless of whether the game was an exhibition or not.
If anyone had doubts about Chelsea’s will to win, don’t look
past Mourinho. His attitude on this game is a clear indication, that he wouldn’t
accept any nonsense from his players.
Youngster Ruben Loftus Cheek was made an example of tonight,
which verifies Mourinho’s total control of his team.
it’s one step back in terms of my relationship with him. If he doesn’t know
what it is to play for me and Chelsea, it’s one step back.
"But I don’t
accept that when he’s playing in midfield with Mikel and Matic, when we don’t
have the ball he doesn’t press, doesn’t have intensity and he’s waiting for
everybody else to recover the ball.
"I don’t accept
that in the superstars so how can I accept that in a kid? He has to learn what
it takes to play for us.”
There is no doubt Sydney’s youngsters have relished from
this experience and will use it as a motivator for the next season after a disappointing
grand final against Melbourne Victory. Graham Arnold has remained relentless in
claiming his side is the top dog of the A-League.
“Again Sydney FC has
shown they are the biggest club in the country and Sydney FC has shown again
that they lead the way in the A-League.”
“It was a great
experience. Our young boys were exceptional and they have set their own
standards for next year, they have shown they can do that in front of 85,000
Football was the winner tonight. The five-star treatment by the EPL Champions heading into and during the match set an example for Sydney FC, whilst also showcasing the potential of football to thousands of football fans. A win, win for all involved.
Words by Ari Charilaou at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.