Life after Patrick Kisnorbo has started on a sour note for Melbourne City, who have tasted defeat for the first time this season with a 2-1 loss to Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
With interim coach and former Sydney assistant Rado Vidosic in charge following Kisnorbo’s appointment at French club Troyes, the A-League leaders gave up a 1-0 lead to be beaten by the impressive Sky Blues.
Sydney’s win snapped a two-game A-League losing run but was a continuation of the form they showed in beating Scottish champions Celtic 2-1 during the competition’s break for the World Cup.
Socceroo Marco Tilio came within centimetres of snaring a point for City in stoppage time with a blistering shot that struck the crossbar.
Tilio had started the match on the bench, while City’s other two members of Australia’s World Cup squad – Mathew Leckie and Jamie Maclaren – both played from the opening whistle.
And it was Maclaren who gave City the lead from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute after a handball offence from Sky Blues skipper and former City midfielder Luke Brattan.
Penalty-saving specialist and another member of the Socceroos’ World Cup squad, Andrew Redmayne, had the job of trying to deny Maclaren.
And the Sydney gloveman almost achieved it, getting two hands on the penalty strike.
However, he was unable to keep out the spot kick, with Maclaren now having scored in seven successive A-League matches.
But Sydney’s response was immediate, with English winger Joe Lolley equalising a minute later,
Max Burgess created the initial opportunity with a superb cross that found midfielder Paulo Retre, whose header from point-blank range was well saved by City goalkeeper Tom Glover
The rebound the save fell for Retre, who was again denied by Glover.
But the ball was still to be properly cleared and it eventually fell for Lolley, who guided the ball home past the unlucky Glover.
Sydney went ahead in the 61st minute through returning striker Adam Le Fondre.
Having just come on three minutes earlier in his return from injury, English striker Le Fondre wasn’t to be denied after his initial header from a Lolley shot was saved with the feet of Glover.
Le Fondre pounced on the rebound to head the Sydneysiders into the lead and ultimately secure the Sky Blues – who were without ill import Robert Mak – their first A-League win at the revamped Allianz Stadium
“It was important to win at home for the first time in the league this season,” Le Fondre told Paramount +.
“We just needed a good performance and the win obviously. I don’t think it really matters where we play.”
City captain Scott Jamieson felt it was an “even contest”.
“Maybe they could have edged it but all in all, maybe we could have got something out of it,” Jamieson said.
“Two mistakes with concentration let us down but ultimately I thought it was an even game.
“We’ll look at this game and review it, but then we’ll got back to the training track and work hard.”