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Sydney FC salvage a 1-1 draw with Victory
By James MacSmith
23:02 AEST Sat Mar 16 2013

Sydney FC salvaged a vital point to keep their A-League finals prospects alive in a 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory on Saturday at Allianz Stadium.

An 85th-minute equaliser from Sky Blues substitute Yairo Yau cancelled out a Mark Milligan strike in the third minute.

Yau headed into an open goal at the far post after Rhyan Grant had skilfully headed the ball on from the near post from an Alessandro Del Piero corner.

The goal from the Panama international brought the 22,233 crowd to its feet after the Sky Blues had missed a number of chances to level the scores in the second half.

Uncharacteristically, Del Piero was the chief offender when he pushed a penalty kick into the path of a diving Nathan Coe on the hour after a Victory defender handballed in the box.

In a high tempo free-flowing game, Marco Rojas was wasteful at the other end for the visitors but a draw was probably a fair result.

The point moved Sydney to equal fifth with Newcastle but the Sky Blues can still fall out of the top six if Perth and Central Coast each win on Sunday.

Sydney goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic was benched for arriving to the ground late after getting stuck in the pre-game traffic and he hardly had time to take his seat before the Victory scored through Milligan in the third minute.

A lovely cross from Connor Pain found two Victory forwards free and, at the far post, Milligan duly threaded the ball past Ivan Necevski for the early lead.

Sydney had their chances to hit back but couldn't convert. In the 17th minute, Terry Antonis meekly headed to Nathan Coe before a poor first touch from Joel Griffiths denied him a golden chance when Del Piero put him one-on-one with the Victory keeper.

Del Piero surprisingly then put two free kicks wide of the net.

Coe was yellow-carded when he collected the ball from outside the area in the 15th minute but Del Piero pushed the attempt wide.

The Italian World Cup winner then pushed another effort over the bar from a little further back in the 22nd minute.

But Yau's late equaliser ensured the Sky Blues are still well and truly in the finals hunt.

Given the opportunities his side had, Sydney FC coach Frank Farina was unhappy with the result.

"We are a little bit disappointed to be honest," he said.

"We gave away an early goal which put us behind the eightball but after that we were still well and truly in the game and for a large part we were dominant."

Victory coach Ange Postecoglou bemoaned his side's inability to put the game beyond doubt.

"We needed the second goal to get clear and that was probably the only thing lacking in our game," he said.

"We kept them sort of in the game."