‘Not up to scratch’: frustrated players slam Allianz pitch
SYDNEY FC has welcomed the move to returf the whole of the Allianz Stadium pitch, after a chorus of complaints over the grass quality from the A-League premier.
Star marquee Adrian Mierzejewski led the Sky Blues' exasperation over the state of the Allianz surface in the wake of Sydney's exit from the Asian Champions League on Tuesday night.
A goalless draw against China's Shanghai Shenhua, coupled with Suwon Bluewings victory over Kashima Antlers, left the Sky Blues marooned in third place in their group in a competition they had talked of winning.
Graham Arnold's side turns its attention to the A-League semi-final on Saturday week. By then the returfing will be complete, although an NRL game will be played on the new pitch three days before Sydney hosts its semi-final.
Mierzejewski said his side needed a better quality surface, even though it was the wasting of chances that caused the Sky Blues to lose to Shanghai despite recording 22 shots in the game.
"Everyone can see what kind of pitch it is," he said.
"It's not an excuse because last week was exactly the same and we won against Melbourne Victory, but with our offensive style we need to play on a good pitch.
"It's April, every day it's 30 degrees, so I think it's not difficult to make a good pitch. We have very important games, a semi and the grand final, so I expect we will play on a good pitch and that can only help us."
Captain Alex Brosque backed Mierzejewski.
"He's right, it's not up to scratch," Brosque said.
"Every time when we get to this time of year, it seems to happen.
"It's frustrating, especially for a player like him who's that good, he doesn't have to look down (at the ball).
"On a pitch like that this you have to take a lot more care, a lot more touches, and it slows the game down."
The SCG Trust told the Daily Telegraph the scheduled replacement of the entire field of play would start at 11pm on Friday after the end of the Waratahs-Lions Super Rugby match.
More than 7000sq m of ready-to-play turf will be installed at a cost of roughly $750,000, with 20 staff members to work around the clock to make certain the job is completed in time.
The Trust says it is taking this step to ensure a consistent field of play for the major matches remaining this season, including A-League finals, the NRL's Anzac Day Cup, and the Wallabies v Ireland June Test match.