Sydney Festival of Football

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Sydney Festival of Football
Festival of football.jpg
Tournament details
Host countryAustralia
Dates25–31 July
Teams4 (from 2 confederations)
Venue(s)1 (in 1 host city)
Final positions
ChampionsGreece AEK Athens (1st title)
Tournament statistics
Matches played6
Goals scored17 (2.83 per match)
Attendance38,873 (6,479 per match)
Top scorer(s)Australia Alex Brosque
(3 goals)

The Sydney Festival of Football was an association football friendly tournament competition hosted by A-League club Sydney FC in 2010, held in Sydney and funded by the Events NSW department of the New South Wales Government.

It was intended to be an annual event, with Sydney FC contracted as the Australian side for 3 years, but poor attendance from Sydney FC fans caused the event to make a loss and plans for future tournaments were scrapped. The event has not been held since and no plans have been made to revive the competition.

The first and only tournament to take place so far occurred from 25–31 July 2010, contested by English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers, Rangers from the Scottish Premier League and AEK Athens from the Greek Super League, who eventually won the tournament.[1]


The idea of an international club tournament hosted by Sydney FC was first brought up soon after the 2009-10 A-League season in which Sydney FC took out the Premiership & Championship. Sydney had been keen to participate once more in the Pan-Pacific Championship however due to unknown reasons the 2010 edition was not played. At the time it was revealed that they would be playing Everton, however rumors floated around a pre-season tournament between Sydney FC, Blackburn Rovers, Rangers and Argentinian giants Boca Juniors.[2][3] However this fell through when it was announced that Boca Juniors would only be playing Melbourne Victory[4] and Wellington Phoenix[5] on their tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Soon afterwards it was rumored that Greek Super League club AEK Athens would be going to Australia to play a friendly in either Sydney or Melbourne, due to their large Greek communities. It was announced on 4 June 2010, that the tournament would be held between 25–31 July.[6][7] The announcement was made by New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally, Sydney FC CEO Edwin Lugt, as well as Sydney FC players Terry McFlynn and Liam Reddy with manager Vitezslav Lavicka.[1]


Year Venue Winner Runner-up 3rd place 4th place
2010 SFS, Sydney Greece AEK Athens England Blackburn Rovers Scotland Rangers FC Australia Sydney FC


The teams who accepted the invitations are:


All the games were played at the Sydney Football Stadium a 45,000 seat multi-use venue, home ground of hosts Sydney FC, as well as several National Rugby League teams. The ground has seen host to many internationals including Socceroos games, as well as being one of the stadiums used for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

Point system[edit]

To create exciting attacking football, there is a new way of gaining points for the tournament. The standard rules which applied for the tournament being (3 points = Win, 1 Point = Draw, 0 points = Loss), however 1 point would be awarded for each goal during the tournament. So even if a team loses, they would still gain points. For example:

  • Sydney FC (2) – AEK Athens (1)

Sydney FC would receive the standard 3 points for the win plus 2 points for scoring 2 goals, meaning Sydney FC would receive 5 points in total. AEK Would receive just the 1 point for the goal.


Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
Greece AEK Athens 3 3 0 0 8 4 +4 17
England Blackburn Rovers 3 1 0 2 4 5 −1 7
Scotland Rangers 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 6
Australia Sydney FC 3 0 1 2 4 7 −3 5
AEK Athens N/A 2–1 1–0 5–3
Blackburn Rovers 1–2 N/A 1–2 2–1
Rangers 0–1 2–1 N/A 0–0
Sydney FC 3–5 1–2 0–0 N/A

Last updated: 2010-07-31


Match Day One[edit]

Sydney FC V AEK Athens[edit]

On an overcast day over 14,153 showed up to the Football Stadium to watch local team Sydney FC take on Greek Super League giants AEK Athens. The match started out an arm wrestle, with both sides taking their time to adjust to the tempo of the match. However the deadlock would be broken on 30 minutes when Brazilian striker Leonardo scored to give AEK the lead, however Sydney would strike back minutes later when Pantelis Kafes hand balled in the box, and Sydney striker Alex Brosque put the ball calmly down the middle to level the scores at 1–1. AEK would take the lead soon after in the 37th minute when Ismael Blanco scored a header from a corner to put the Greeks up 2–1. A mistake early on in the second half by AEK goalkeeper Giannis Arabatzis allowed Brosque to grab his second, and level Sydney back up at 2–2. However the game would be blown open with 3 goals by Nacho Scocco, Nikos Liberopoulos, and Pantelis Kafes, with goals in the 60th, 74th, and 77th minutes respectively. Sydney would strike late in the game via Senegalese triallist Ibrahima Iyane Thiam in the 88th when he headed from close range to finish the scoring at 5–3.[8]

Rangers V Blackburn Rovers[edit]

The second match of Match Day One would see Scottish Champions Rangers take on Blackburn Rovers who boasted 2 Socceroos players in Brett Emerton and Vince Grella. The match started off quietly however as Blackburn had landed in Australia only 24 hours previously showed plenty of tiredness and weakness, and conceded in the 11th minute through USA international Maurice Edu. Blackburn would go 2–0 down soon before half time when Kenny Miller took advantage of sloppy defence and fired in from close range in the 44th. Blackburn came out stronger in the second half however, they conceded a penalty in the 61st. A rush of blood from Kenny Miller however saw him fire the ball into the crossbar and out, but 3-minute's later Rangers themselves would concede a penalty down the other end of the park when David Dunn was brought down inside the box thanks to a late tackle. He made no mistake in converting his own penalty, giving Blackburn some hope halfway through the 2nd half 2–1 down. However, despite both sides pressing the issue the score remained the same, finishing 2–1 at full time.[9]

Match Day Two[edit]

AEK Athens V Blackburn Rovers[edit]

On a wet, damp cold Wednesday evening and a crown of 9,483, AEK faced off against Blackburn, AEK hoping to secure the points which would most likely see them take out the first ever Sydney Festival of Football. The match started out evenly, both sides struggling to adjust to the muddy and slipper conditions, however it would be AEK Athens who adjusted the quickest, killing off Blackburn with a stunning double blow in 5 minutes, as Australian midfielder Nathan Burns set up Argentinian striker Nacho Scocco brilliantly after flying past his man down the wing and sending in a cross, easily put away by Scocco to send AEK up 1–0. As the conditions got worse, the match was nearly interrupted when several flood lights in the Sydney Football Stadium went out, however the game continued, and minutes later Burns set up his second assist allowing Nikos Liberopoulos his second of the tournament. The game would be stuck in a stalemate until the last 10 minutes when Blackburn got their second wind, and ultimately their consolation goal through Phil Jones. The match finished 2–1, with AEK Athens all but sealing the championship, extending their lead to 13 points, 7 in front of Rangers.[10]

Sydney FC V Rangers[edit]

If the earlier match was played in miserable wet conditions, the Sydney FC – Rangers match was played in atrocious conditions. The heavy rain had held off until now, despite it raining all day, and the entire 90 minutes was played out in near monsoonal conditions. Both teams struggled on a pitch which had had 3 games played on it without repair, and the rain made it worse. Both sides had minimal chances, however Sydney FC had the first real chance when Mark Bridge managed to get past his man on the edge of the 18-yard box after 20 minutes, however his shot was fired straight at the keeper. The best chance of the second half also went to Sydney with Senegalese triallist Ibrahima Iyane Thiam, who had scored in the match against AEK Athens, when he lifted a curling ball which looked to be going in, only to be denied by the fingertips of the goalkeeper. There was a scare in the second half for Sydney FC when Swiss defender Stephan Keller limped off with what looked to be a hamstring injury, a major worry for manager Vitezslav Lavicka with 10 days until the kickoff of the A-League. Despite both teams trying to make the most of the awful pitch, neither team could find the net and it remained 0–0, with both sides getting a point.[11]

Match Day Three[edit]

AEK Athens V Rangers[edit]

Nathan Burns scored the only goal as AEK Athens won the first Sydney Festival of Football on the final day of the tournament.

Despite turning in a good performance in a very physical game, Rangers succumbed to a 72nd-minute goal from AEK's Australian substitute Burns.

Sydney FC V Blackburn Rovers[edit]

A-League Champions Sydney played out an entertaining 2–1 loss to English Premier League side Blackburn Rovers in the final game of the Sydney Festival of Football in which the Sydney-based team took to the pitch wearing black arm-bands, remembering the grandfather of defender Byun Sung-Hwan and grandmother of striker Mark Bridge, who both died during the week beginning 26 July 2010.

Sydney local Brett Emerton opened the scoring for Rovers in the 37th minute after gathering a Steven Nzonzi flick-on from a Gael Givet long ball. The Qantas Socceroos international experience showed as he chested the ball down calmly to turn and finish past goalkeeper Reddy.

In the 67th minute Blackburn substitutes Junior Hoilett and Keith Andrews combined well to find Pedersen who finished from close range to make it 2–0 to Blackburn.

The Sky Blues were to grab a consolation goal though as another fine attacking move saw Gan play a delicate ball through to Brosque who took a touch and finessed his shot past Bunn into the bottom right hand corner of the goal in the 81st minute.[12]

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce commented after the match that he would like to come back and compete in the 2011 Sydney Festival of Football. However this tournament would not go ahead.


Sydney FC Australia3–5Greece AEK Athens
Brosque Goal 33' (pen.)48'
Iyane Thiam Goal 89'
Report Leonardo Goal 30'
Blanco Goal 37'
Liberopoulos Goal 60'
Scocco Goal 74'
Kafes Goal 77'
Attendance: 14,153
Referee: Ben Williams
Rangers Scotland2–1England Blackburn Rovers
Edu Goal 11'
Miller Goal 44'
Report Dunn Goal 64' (pen.)
Attendance: 14,153
Referee: Peter Green
AEK Athens Greece2–1England Blackburn Rovers
Scocco Goal 20'
Liberopoulos Goal 24'
Report Jones Goal 82'
Attendance: 9,483
Referee: Peter Green
Sydney FC Australia0–0Scotland Rangers
Attendance: 9,483
AEK Athens Greece1–0Scotland Rangers
Burns Goal 78' Report
Attendance: 15,237
Sydney FC Australia1–2England Blackburn Rovers
Brosque Goal 81' Report Emerton Goal 37'
Pedersen Goal 67'
Attendance: 15,237
Referee: Ben Williams


Name Club Goals
Australia Alex Brosque Sydney FC 3
Argentina Nacho Scocco AEK Athens 2
Greece Nikos Liberopoulos AEK Athens 2
Argentina Ismael Blanco AEK Athens 1
Brazil Leonardo AEK Athens 1
Australia Nathan Burns AEK Athens 1
Greece Pantelis Kafes AEK Athens 1
Australia Brett Emerton Blackburn Rovers 1
England David Dunn Blackburn Rovers 1
England Phil Jones Blackburn Rovers 1
Norway Morten Gamst Pedersen Blackburn Rovers 1
Scotland Kenny Miller Rangers 1
United States Maurice Edu Rangers 1
Senegal Ibrahima Iyane Thiam Sydney FC 1
Sydney Festival of Football
2010 Winners
AEK Athens
First Title


  1. ^ a b Sydney FC to face Blackburn, Rangers and AEK
  2. ^ Hassett, Sebastian (10 May 2010). "Boca, Rangers line up for Sydney FC". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  3. ^ Smithies, Tom (10 May 2010). "Sydney FC's international extravaganza". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  4. ^ "Victory to play Boca Juniors". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 25 May 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  5. ^ "Phoenix to play pre-season in Hamilton". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. 2 June 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  6. ^ "Sydney FC to face three European teams". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 4 June 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  7. ^ Sydney FC To Host AEK, Rangers And Blackburn Rovers In July
  8. ^ "AEK Hit Five Past Sydney". FourFourTwo Australia. 25 July 2010. Archived from the original on 27 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ "Rangers down Blackburn 2–1". Sydney Morning Herald. 25 July 2010. Archived from the original on 28 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ "AEK Too Good For Blackburn". FourFourTwo Australia. 28 June 2010. Archived from the original on 31 July 2010. Retrieved 28 July 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  11. ^ "Neck And Neck in Champions Clash". FourFourTwo Australia. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  12. ^ "Rovers down Sydney FC 2–1". Sydney FC, James Mahon & Thomas Evans. 31 July 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2010.

External links[edit]