2020-21 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Kosta Barbarouses (54')
  • Jamie Maclaren (90'+8' PEN)

VAR saves Melbourne City from defeat at Sydney FC

A stoppage-time penalty from Jamie Maclaren earned Melbourne City a 1-1 draw in a pulsating A-League clash with Sydney FC at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday.

Kosta Barbarouses put Sydney ahead in the 54th minute and the Sky Blues were the better side in the first half but City dominated the final third of the game.

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The result left City in second on the ladder while Sydney are fourth.

In the fifth minute of stoppage time, Sydney captain Alex Wilkinson fouled former teammate Marco Tillio. The referee waved play on but the offence was picked up by the VAR.

It was up to the eighth minute of added time when Maclaren sent Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne the wrong way with a powerful spot kick.

His 14th goal of the campaign lifted him above Shane Smeltz into outright second spot on the all-time A-League goal-scorers' list.

City almost snatched a win in the ninth minute of stoppage time, when Stefan Colakovski had a close-range shot blocked by Redmayne.

Both sides hit the woodwork in a fast-paced first half, but Sydney looked the more consistently dangerous side in the first 45 minutes. Rhyan Grant had a left-foot shot tipped onto the post by Tom Glover, who also tipped a Luke Bratten chip over the bar, while Bobo fired just wide.

City's main first-half threat was winger Craig Noone, who clipped the top of the bar with one effort and had another one knocked down by Redmayne.

Sydney started the second half in lively fashion, with Barbarouses firing a powerful shot wide.

Maclaren then had two opportunities to open the scoring in the 49th minute. He had one shot saved by Redmayne who also rejected a follow-up attempt. Redmayne then denied Maclaren with an even better reflex save later in the half.

Barbarouses put Sydney ahead in the 54th minute after goalkeeper Tom Glover fumbled a cross with VAR confirming the shot had crossed the line before an attempted clearance. It was a third goal in as many games for Barbarouses, who is Sydney's top scorer this season with six.