Sydney FC fighting to the end of ‘weird’ season


Matt Simon has described Sydney FC’s faltering season as “weird” but is adamant the club haven’t given up hope of sneaking into the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.

It appears only a miracle will see the Sky Blues make the top six, currently six points behind Melbourne Victory with two games to play.

First, Graham Arnold’s side is relying on Melbourne Victory to lose both of their remaining matches, away to Wellington this weekend before a home game with Brisbane Roar.

Hyundai A-League fixture run-in and predictions

At the same time Sydney must win their last two at home to Adelaide and Perth, while overturning a six-goal deficit in goal difference.

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“We’re still in with a chance and as long as it’s still possible we’ll fight until the end,” the Sky Blues striker told reporters on Thursday.

“We had a lot of draws early in the season and it’s a pretty short season, 27 games, so if you drop those games early on and then the Champions League starts, it sometimes come back to bite you,” he added.

Victory 'keeper Danny Vukovic gets a clearance in under pressure from Matt Simon.

“It’s still possible to make it, we’re just concentrating on Adelaide first and see how we go after that.”

With Victory’s game against Phoenix finishing before Sydney do battle with the Reds, they will already know if there season is still alive before kick-off on Saturday night.

Key points

*Simon says he’s over the rib injury which plagued him over the last month and it’s no longer giving him any issues.

*The Sky Blues have never progressed through the group stage in the ACL and Simon admits it would be a huge achievement to make that happen.

*Sydney has played the Reds twice this season, with one loss and one draw, although both those matches were at Coopers Stadium

Regardless, Simon says it’s crucial the side snaps their 10-game win-less run and gives the club’s fans something to get excited about.

Asked where things have gone wrong for the Sky Blues this season, Simon was at a loss: “If I could answer that question we’d be at the top of the table.

Sydney FC take on Urawa Red Diamonds in their opening AFC Champions League clash of 2016.

“It’s a bit of a weird feeling because we feel like as a group we’ve played some good stuff over the season.

“We’ve had 10 draws this year which is ultimately what costs you towards the end of the year. 

“The feeling’s good, we feel like we’ve played well in games and we’ve been unlucky in some.

“We just want to keep fighting until the end and see where it puts us.”

While their Hyundai A-League form is scratchy, the Sky Blues are on track to progress through their tough AFC Champions League group.

They are currently on top of the standings at the halfway point of the group stage, with two home games to come in the next couple of weeks.

Sydney FC players celebrate Chris Naumoff's goal against the Pohang Steelers in the ACL.

“I think you see a trend with Australian teams, whether it’s the same year they are in the Champions League or the year after, that they have a bit of a dip,” said Simon, when asked what impact the ACL had on Sydney’s A-League form.

“It’s a good competition to play in; it shows you’ve been successful in your domestic league.

“You’re on the world stage playing in the Champions League. The boys enjoy playing in it and hopefully we can keep our strong form going in it as well.”