Sydney FC coach Steve Corica insists a near one-hour delay at halftime did not have a negative impact on players in their 3-0 A-League victory over 10-man Macarthur.
Thunderstorms and lightning less than five kilometres away from Campbelltown Stadium caused halftime to be stretched to almost an hour with officials concerned for players’ safety.
While it was an unusual situation to deal with in the sheds, Corica said the players were professional in their approach to restarting in the second half.
“We spoke to the players straight away when we got in there, and obviously they were sitting around for quite a while,” he said.
“It helps when you go back out there, you refocus, and that 10-minute warm-up helps to get going again.
“They’re very good professionals our boys, they handled it well.”
A-League officials were wary of delaying a restart for too long given fans at the ground were also out in the weather and uncertain about whether the game would continue.
Should it have stretched past an hour, the game could have been called off with the score goalless.
“We didn’t think about the game getting called off and what the rules and regs are about that,” said Bulls coach Ante Milicic, whose captain Mark Milligan had been sent off after 20 minutes for a clumsy challenge on Trent Buhagiar.
“We were just in our mind that we were going to play for another 45 minutes with a player down, so we set up like that.
“Our game plan and our strategy didn’t change.
“It was more the delays that kept on coming, how quickly the fitness coach was going to get them ready.
“We started the second half quite brightly, we did okay but in the end you’re chasing against a quality opponent so it made it very difficult for us.”
The Sky Blues still had to work hard to crack the 10-man Bulls but a goal from Milos Ninkovic and a brace for teenager Patrick Wood late in the second half sealed the win.