A goal feast ensued as AEK Athens routed Sydney FC 5-3 while Scottish champion Rangers FC defeated English Premier League side Blackburn Rovers 2-1 on day one of the Sydney Festival of Football.
Fans roared their approval as AEK and Sydney delivered attacking and positive football, the match played in terrific spirits.
Despite their jet-lag and having arrived less than 36 hours prior to kick-off, AEK were more than a class above their A-League opponents with Ignaccio Scocco, Nikos Liberopoulos and Pandelis Kafes shining for the Greek side.
AEK tops of the Festival table, with 8 points after one game. Rangers are second with 5 points, Sydney FC has 3 and Blackburn Rovers 1 point. Teams receive 3 points for winning a game plus an extra point for each goal they score.
Approximately 3000 AEK fans looked on with approval as Dusan Bajevic side showed a great deal of improvement in comparison to the 2009/10 AEK side which finished fourth on the Greek Super League table.
Bajevic showed that he was satisfied with the performance of his side.
“I thought we played well and scored some good goals against good opposition,” Bajevic said.
Sydney FC coach Vitezslav Lavicka said he side was punished for its errors and that AEK revealed its class in the attack.
“A big but bitter lesson, especially in defence. Our opponent played very well, especially in attack.
“We made several mistakes and a good quality team, as AEK are, punished each Sydney FC mistake.
“We scored three goals, that’s pretty positive, but we can’t be satisfied with the general performance today.”
Terry McFlynn, Sydney FC’s captain, told Neos Kosmos that playing AEK would help his side ahead of the A-League kick-off.
“The whole preseason has been important to us not just one specific game but in saying that any time we have the chance to take on someone AEK Athens in the lead up to our first game of the A-League season is going help us. They are strong right across the park and play attractive football which always tests you.”
McFlynn hinted that fans attending the festival will be seeing some world class footballers as the Sydney Festival of Football continued.
“I think it is really significant for the game here that all teams have their strongest squads.
playing. No matter which team is playing, some of the best players in the world will be playing. That doesn’t happy every day so hopefully there will be big crowds for (the) games.”
AEK plays Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday at the Sydney Football Stadium at 6pm. Tickets are available from Ticketek and the stadium and the match will be shown live on Fox Sports 3.