SYDNEY (AP) — Sydney FC ended one of the most trying weeks in its history with a 2-1 win over Perth in the A-League on Saturday, regaining a place in the top six with only its second win in the last nine games.
Sydney was forced during the week to quell a fan revolt after protests marred last weekend's 3-0 home loss to Adelaide.
Fans unfurled banners during the Adelaide match calling for the sacking of head coach Frank Farina, board chairman Scott Barlow and chief executive Tony Pignata. When stadium security reacted by tearing down the banners and evicting spectators, including the wife of the head of Sydney's main supporters group, fans left en masse and protested outside the ground.
Reports of disaffection among players led to further criticism from fans and increased pressure on Farina.
Australian media reported that Farina banned senior players Matt Thompson and Nicky Carle from training, forcing them to train alone, for what he called dissent and their "negative influence" on the team. That move followed the players' reported refusal to follow Farina's instructions during the Adelaide match.
Captain and former Italy star Alessandro Del Piero was reported to have taken a leading role on Thursday in a closed-door meeting of players which sought to re-establish team unity.
Club officials met with representatives of the main supporters' group, The Cove, in the hope of achieving a reconciliation and winning back fan support. Statements from supporters after the 3 ½-hour meeting between seven fan representatives and four board members, however, suggested that tensions still remain.