Arnold talks up Sydney’s chances

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April 27, 2015 11:59:00 UK

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold hailed his team’s form as they secured a home semi-final with a 2-1 win away to Wellington Phoenix.

The Sky Blues have gone through the whole of the regular season without losing an away game, having picked up 10 victories and drawn the other matches on the road.

Last season, Sydney only secured their finals spot on the last day of the regular season and were dumped out by Melbourne Victory in the elimination finals.

I honestly believe that we are the form team in the competition.

Graham Arnold

This time around, Arnold says his team have exceeded even his expectations as they sealed second spot and a place in the qualifying round for next year’s Asian Champions League. Sydney FC are 3.00 to win the Grand Final.

Needing to avoid defeat at Westpac Stadium to pip the Phoenix for second place, they scored first-half goals through Bernie Ibini and Shane Smeltz to pick up their eighth consecutive away win.

Arnold said: “I honestly believe that we are the form team in the competition. Since Christmas, that’s 32 points from a possible 39 and we’re getting better and better.”

The Sky Blues coach added: “I didn’t think at the start of the year we’d get top two. We’ve stretched our goals; I gave them high standards to reach and they’ve reached (all) except one.

“One of the goals was 10 clean sheets and we got nine. Everything else, they’ve reached. Now we go into a new competition for two games.”

Given their remarkable form away from home, it’s somewhat ironic that Sydney’s success means they will be at home in the semi-finals – they have lost five times in front of their own fans.

The Sky Blues were able to cope without top scorer Marc Janko, who was ruled out of the clash after suffering a quad injury in training.

The defeat left Wellington, who finished fourth on goal difference behind Adelaide United, to face Melbourne City in next weekend’s elimination final. Wellington are 2.00 to win the match while Melbourne City are 3.50.

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