Melbourne City FC secured its eighth win of the Foxtel National Youth League season as they left it late to bury Sydney FC 2-1.
A 93rd minute penalty for a body check on Stefan Zinni saw Hernan Espindola step up to the spot and slot away the winning goal as the match looked destined for a one-all draw with Charlie Lokoli Ngoy cancelling out Wade Dekker’s opener earlier in the match.
The last fixture between the sides saw the Sydneysiders score two goals in injury time with the match fresh in the minds of Joe Palatsides’ chargers.
The home side showed why they sit second on the FNYL ladder, dominating passages of play in the early stages of the match.
It was Sydney however who had the best chance of the half from open play as Jordan Tsenekis found himself with time in the penalty area only to sky his shot over the bar.
It was a Phil Petreski free kick that had the crowd at Morshead Park looking towards the top corner in awe as his well-weighted free kick bounced off the upright and away from goal on the stroke of half time.
The match received the injection of life it deserved in the 60th minute as Zinni’s cutback trickled past the Sydney defence and into the path of Dekker. The striker did what he could to miss the opportunity, stumbling over the ball, but Dekker found himself with enough time to mop up his mistake, bundling over the line.
The opener woke up the Sydneysiders as they worked their way back into the match. After a string of half chances, Sydney were rewarded in the 74th minute as Lokoli Ngoy finished off a set piece to bring his side back to parity.
The last 10 minutes saw the home side push for the winner and it seemed like they were going to be rewarded for their persistence in the 86th minute as Espindola looked have been fouled in the penalty area, however the referee waved away any appeals for a penalty to the disbelief of many at the ground.
In the last play of the match, Zinni found himself on the edge of the area, dropping his shoulder and drawing the foul from the Sydney defender, winning his side a penalty. It was Espindola who decided to put the match on his shoulders as he coolly slotted home to move his side to the top of the FNYL ladder.