Sydney FC, Perth draw 2-2 in A-League
PERTH, Australia (AP) -Defender Sebastian Ryall's goal with eight minutes remaining gave Sydney FC a 2-2 draw with Perth Glory in the A-League on Saturday.
New Zealand international Shane Smeltz's second goal of the match a minute earlier had given the Glory a short-lived lead.
Sydney had much of the possession in the final 30 minutes after Jason Culina scored to level the match for Sydney in the 63rd minute after Smeltz had given the home side the lead in the 39th.
Former Juventus and Italy star Alessandro Del Piero returned to the starting lineup for Sydney after some hamstring soreness.
The result left Sydney in last place in the 10-team league with four wins and two draws in 15 matches, a point behind the Melbourne Heart.
"It was a little bit disappointing for us, we would have liked to have gotten the three points after leading late,'' said Smeltz.
Culina said the result was "OK - we're not going to get carried away. Today we've shown some spirit, and hopefully the results will start coming.''
Adelaide United and Newcastle played to a scoreless draw as the visiting Reds missed a chance to overtake the Central Coast Mariners for first place.
Former England international Emile Heskey was substituted at halftime by Newcastle due to a left quadriceps strain and will undergo precautionary scans.
"Early in the first half my thigh felt tight, and while it didn't get worse I could still feel it there,'' Heskey said. "I thought it was best to pull out ... hopefully it will be OK.''
Newcastle's other veteran English striker, Michael Bridges, was brought off the bench in the 63rd minute and showed some deft touches, but couldn't get through the Adelaide defense.
In the other match Saturday, the Melbourne Victory moved into third place with a 2-0 win over the Wellington Phoenix. Argentine midfielder Marcos Flores scored on 43 minutes from a cross by Marco Rojas, who tapped in a rebound in the 53rd minute to give the Victory their ninth point of a possible 12 in the post-holiday season schedule.
"You're traveling, you're playing games one after the other in trying conditions,'' Victory coach Ange Postecoglou said. "The fact we've come through this four-game period with three wins, it's a massive testament to the work the players have done.''
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert, whose 152nd match in charge surpassed the A-League record, felt his side had been excellent for most of the first half but missed the experience of suspended defender Manny Muscat and injured striker Paul Ifill.
"The depth from our perspective is limited from an experience point of view,'' Herbert said.
On Sunday, the Mariners travel to Western Sydney for a match against the first-year Wanderers and which a win would put Central Coast four points clear of second-place Adelaide. The Heart host defending champions Brisbane to conclude the 15th round.
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