Whirlwind start fires Sydney FC to win over Australia’s U-23 Men

A devastating early onslaught has seen Sydney FC prevail 3-0 over the Australia U-23 Men’s side in Thursday night’s friendly clash at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

The Sky Blues scored all three goals inside the first 18 minutes as the A-League Champions demonstrated all their experience and continuity.

Midfielder Paulo Retre (fifth minute), Trent Buhagiar (14th) and Alexander Baumjohann (18th) all found the net for Steve Corica’s back-to-back title winners.

But the Aussie youngsters recovered from their early struggles to slowly work their way into the contest.

Graham Arnold’s youngsters created the better chances after the break and should have reduced the deficit if not for a couple of excellent saves from Sydney FC keeper Tom Heward-Belle.

Both Lachlan Wales, Angus Thurgate and Ramy Najjarine drew smart stops from the Sky Blues shot-stopper in an end-to-end second half.

Despite the result, Arnold will be heartened by the way his side responded from conceding three quickfire goals in what was the squad’s first outing in almost 10 months.

But they have just five days to wait for their next match as they take on A-League newcomers Macarthur FC on Tuesday afternoon.

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Key moments

Retre gives Sky Blues dream start

Sydney FC were quick out of the blocks and led inside five minutes through the versatile Retre.

Luke Brattan’s corner wasn’t cleared by the Olyroos, with Milos Ninkovic managing to squeeze a past to Retre who fired past Tom Glover from close range.

WATCH: Retre buries Ninkovic's lay-off

Buhagiar makes it two for Sydney

It was a familiar face to the Olyroos that doubles the Sky Blues’ advantage before the quarter hour mark.

And it was a goal beautifully executed with Sydney putting together a string of passes from one side of the pitch to the other.

The flowing move ended with Rhyan Grant’s pinpoint cross finding an unmarked Buhagiar – a member of the U-23 side in Thailand – to head into the corner of the net.

WATCH: Buhagiar finishes off flowing move

Baumjohann gets in on the act

The Sky Blues weren’t about to take their foot off the gas and had a third goal just three minutes later.

A sloppy turnover deep in their own half by the Olyroos was swooped on by Buhagiar who played the ball into the path of Baumjohann who made no mistake with a classy first-time finish.

WATCH: Baumjohann capitalises on defensive error

Aussie youngsters fighting back

It was Arnold’s U-23’s who enjoyed more opportunities to start the second half and it was only a couple of saves from Heward-Belle that kept the three-goal margin.

The Sky Blues custodian denied both substitute Angus Thurgate and Lachlan Wales in quick succession, while both Kye Rowles and Joel King had chances but failed to hit the target.

WATCH: Rowles heads just over the bar

Najjarine next to test keeper

The young Aussies continued to be on the front foot and forced Heward-Belle into another key save soon after.

Ramy Najjarine was given too much time to receive the ball and turn towards goal just outside Sydney FC's box.

Najjarine's low strike fizzed off the turf but Heward-Belle did excellently to get down low and parry the ball away to safety.

WATCH: Najjarine tries his luck from range

Next match

Australia U-23 Men’s National Football Team v Macarthur FC
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah, New South Wales
Date: Tuesday, 17 November 2020
Kick-off: 3:00pm AEDT
Broadcast: Live via Facebook (Socceroos, Macarthur FC, A-League), Kayo Sports, My Football Live App, My Football YouTube
*Please note this match will not be open to the public

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