Sydney deny Victory three points

Melbourne Victory have shared the spoils with Sydney FC in a heartbreaking 1-1 draw at the SFS on Saturday night, with substitute striker Juho Makela denying the visitors with a stoppage time equaliser.

Melbourne Victory have shared the spoils with Sydney FC in a heartbreaking 1-1 draw at the SFS on Saturday night, with substitute striker Juho Makela denying the visitors with a stoppage time equaliser.

Victory, looking to rebound from back-to-back losses to Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide United, overcame a shaky start to take a 1-0 lead thanks to Danny Allsopp's 51st-minute goal but tired late amid a barrage of Sydney attacks.

The thrilling finish was reminiscent of scenes in the opening stages, as Victory were forced onto the back foot by a Sydney outfit high in confidence and eager to keep their season alive.

Victory goalkeeper Michael Petkovic was crucial in the first half, standing tall as the likes of Nicky Carle, Dimitri Petratos, Hirofumi Moriyasu and Bruno Cazarine picked holes in a depleted back four missing Kevin Muscat and Adrian Leijer due to suspension and injury respectively.

At the other end, Melbourne did most of their attacking from set pieces, though they lacked the finishing touch to put away Carlos Hernandez's free kicks.

But there were some promising signs up front, with Ricardinho looking lively early and Allsopp recording the best chance of the half in the 23rd minute.

A cleverly worked ball on the right wing released Ricardinho, who took the ball wide and fired a terrific low cross to an advancing Allsopp, who worked his way inside Stephan Keller's marking but missed from inside the six-yard box.

Debutant Petar Franjic popped up on the half hour with a couple of strong clearances, getting a head to Sung-Hwan Byun's curling corner kick and racing back into the area to cover Petratos, who was one out with Petkovic after a terrific through ball found the young striker lurking near the box.

Petratos sent a couple of low left-footed attempts narrowly wide of the right post, while Moriyasu found the same post following a loose clearance by Franjic.

Ernie Merrick rang the changes at half-time, introducing Mate Dugandzic for Ricardinho and Matthew Foschini for Leigh Broxham, and the former energised Victory with some terrific ball movement and run in their front half.

Victory were on top of a sluggish Sydney and struck in the 51st minute thanks to Hernandez, who threaded a centimetre-perfect 50-yard pass through two defenders to Allsopp, whose left-footed attempt took a deflection off Sydney keeper Liam Reddy and looped into the net.

Melbourne were ahead but tiring as the game wore on, with Foschini snuffing out one of Sydney's best chances in the 78th minute and Petratos botching a gift from Carle at the goalmouth 60 seconds later.

Petkovic produced a terrific diving save to his right to pluck a Carle header from mid-air, but Makela's lurking presence in the area proved devastating as Carle found the Finn at the edge of six-yard box in the first minute of extra time.

Sydney FC 1 (Juho Makela 91') Melbourne Victory 1 (Danny Allsopp 51') Crowd: 11,387 @ the SFS