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Mak attack helps Sydney to ALM draw against Western Utd

Sydney FC have survived a scare at the hands of Western United, rallying late to secure a thrilling 3-3 draw against the reigning A-League Men champions.

Slovakian forward Robert Mak was the hero for Steve Corica’s side, grabbing an 89th-minute equaliser to ensure Sydney remain in the finals places in sixth spot.

Sydney, who missed the finals last year, are still on shaky ground with just five points between them and the bottom-placed Brisbane Roar.

Mak grabbed a double at Allianz Stadium on Saturday, with Spanish left-back Diego Caballo also scoring for the Sky Blues.

But the biggest concern for Corica will be how easily Western United cut them apart.

The defensive frailties exposed in the record 4-0 derby thrashing against the Wanderers a fortnight ago, were again on show as John Aloisi’s side made light work of Sydney’s brittle back four.

Andrew Redmayne has kept just one clean sheet in his last six games, with goals from Lachlan Wales and Connor Pain twice putting United ahead in the first half.

“If you look at the stats, we dominated,” Corica said.

“The boys showed really good fighting spirit to come back into the game and we should have won it.

“We were sloppy with the goals we conceded and that was the disappointing part of the game.”

The Sky Blues were caught out at the back for both first-half goals, with the visitors’ wide men punishing them on the counter.

At 1-0 down after Wales’ 14th-minute strike, a slick pass from Max Burgess found Mak in the box with the experienced Sydney FC forward’s finish trickling in off the glove of goalkeeper Jamie Young to level.

After Pain restored United’s lead, Dylan Pierias hit the woodwork with the visitors happily sitting deep, defending their advantage and attacking with intent when they forced a turnover.

One such move led to a 57th-minute free kick which Ben Garuccio whipped in towards the head of Nikolai Topor-Stanley.

The veteran defender cushioned the ball across goal and, much to Sydney’s frustration, it skipped off Luke Brattan’s body and into the back of the net to make it 3-1 to United.

Brattan helped cut the deficit shortly afterwards when his pinpoint cross found Caballo, who finished past Young.

The veteran United keeper tried to keep Sydney at bay but eventually Mak found a way through, surging forward and finishing late to snatch a vital point for the Sky Blues.

“We created some really big chances and it’s disappointing we went 3-1 up and conceded straight afterwards,” Aloisi said.

“That gave them a lift. If we could’ve held out we probably win the game.

“It feels like a loss but it keeps us alive, we are only still two points from Sydney with a lot of games left.

“We’re there and we’re playing a lot better than the start of the year.”

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