Despite Beckham's goal, Galaxy fall to Sydney FC

Nov 27, 2007 - 12:00 PM SYDNEY, Australia (Ticker) -- England superstar David Beckham overcame a major injury scare to score from a trademark free kick as the Los Angeles Galaxy suffered a 5-3 setback to Hyundai A-League side Sydney FC at Telstra Stadium on Tuesday night.

The former England captain's left ankle collapsed under his body in the 28th minute and suffered a follow-up hit as Sydney midfielder Brendon Santalab slid into him after losing his footing in the slippery conditions.

Beckham received attention for around a minute before hobbling back into play and recovered to strike a goal from roughly 82 feet out on a free kick just before halftime.

Sydney led 3-0 on the strength of two goals by Alex Brosque and another by Ruben Zadkovich at the time of Beckham's tally.

Beckham, who played the full 90 minutes, and Edson Buddle scored for the Galaxy before Robbie Middleby added a fourth for Sydney FC and Iain Fyfe rounded off the hosts' scoring with three minutes left in the game.

Landon Donovan scored a consolation goal for the Galaxy in the closing moments.

The Americans finished the game with 10 men after Kevin Harmse was sent off for deliberately stepping on Sydney rookie Adam Biddle's arm in the 77th minute.

Beckham's goal brought the biggest cheer of the night from the sell-out crowd of 80,295 - the majority of whom had paid to watch the world's best known soccer star in action for the first time in Australia.

But, it was Sydney who always looked the better side against a rusty Galaxy team playing out of season.

Sydney striker Brosque opened the scoring after 20 minutes, slipping the ball past Los Angeles' goalkeeper Joe Cannon after a lovely ball from Juninho.

Brosque scored his second tally six minutes later when Ufuk Talay found him in space. Brosque's first shot rebounded off the right post but the striker followed the shot and scored on an easy tap in.

The hosts extended their lead to 3-0 three minutes later when Cannon inexplicably punched a shot from Sydney midfielder Ruben Zadkovich into his own net from what should have been a routine save.

It was up to Beckham to save the visitors from total embarrassment and he delivered in the 44th minute.

Positioned to the right of the goal and about 82 feet out, the 32-year-old midfielder gave Sydney goalie Clint Bolton no chance, bending his shot around the wall and into the top left corner.

After scoring, he stood motionless with his arms raised in what will be the enduring moment of an entertaining match.

Beckham was in the thick of the action early in the second half, battling with Middleby after being body checked by the feisty Sydney midfielder.

Los Angeles narrowed the deficit with a goal in the 49th minute after the hosts gave away possession at the back and Buddle fired home in off the right post.

But the joy was to be short lived, with Sydney restoring its two-goal advantage just five minutes later.

Talay's defense-splitting ball picked out Brosque who passed for Middleby to stroke the ball into an empty net for a 4-2 lead.

Beckham received a yellow card in the 64th minute after he brought Middleby down in an obvious square-up - the pair getting to their feet embracing and smiling.

Fyfe scored a simple goal in the 87th minute after replacement goalkeeper Steve Cronin fumbled at his feet, presenting an open goal.

The Galaxy saved some face in the final minute when former captain Landon Donovan beat the offside trap and rounded the keeper to score.

Beckham lasted the entire match despite reports he was only required to play a minimum 55 minutes.






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