Western Sydney Wanderers vs Al-Hilal
Date and Local Kick-Off Time at Stadium: Saturday 25 October 2014 - 7:30PM
Sydney Kick-Off Time: 7:30PM EDT
Competition: Asian Champions League
Location: Parramatta, New South Wales
Stadium: Parramatta Stadium
Click here to view the record
Five goals and a red card produced numerous talking points as the Western Sydney Wanderers let a two goal lead slip against Sydney FC.
The seventh edition of the Sydney Derby was played in front of 41,213 supporters who witnessed the Western Sydney Wanderers finish the match with 9 men and 0 points after losing control of the match and being unable to overcome some dubious officiating.
Western Sydney were a goal up inside 20 minutes, Romeo Castelen left Gersback for dead and delivered a pinpoint accurate cross into the penalty area. Mark Bridge had peeled off his marker and stood on the penalty spot waiting for the cross. Bridge struck at goal with his right foot, the ball fired into the turf and gave Vedran Janjetovic no chance.
The travelling supporters were in dreamland just 5 minutes later. The Wanderers won a corner, took it quickly and the Sydney FC defence hadn't set in time, it flicked off the head of Bridge towards the back post where Ognenovski wildly swung his boot out, only to send the ball high into the night air. With a gaggle of players from both sides waiting for the ball to drop the Janjetovic the Sydney keeper made a right mess of his attempted punch, misjudging the flight of the ball, getting a weak hand that sent the ball falling backwards for one of the worst own goals in the history of the A-League.
In the dying seconds of the first half Sydney FC had a life line through Gamiero. A long ball out of defence found it's way over the head of Daniel Mullen at right fullback. The miss let Alex Brosque poke a backheel into the path of Gamiero, who placed his shot towards the far post, a slight deflection perhaps helping it find the back of the net where it otherwise would have just missed.
They had the equaliser 5 minutes into the second half, Ognenovski connecting with a tame shot after a scramble in the box. The ball deflected away as it passed through the sea of legs in the penalty area and it threw the ball in the opposite direction to Covic's dive. Protests from the Wanderers about Ibini being miles offside went unheeded, even with Ibini blocking Covic's view and holding onto the keeper there was no offside call.
The Wanderers objective from the match from winning to hoping for a draw after the loss of Saba. The Brazilian attacking midfielder received a straight red after his flying tackle on Terry Antonis was judged to have been dangerous. This despite Saba winning the ball and making the slightest of contact with Antonis. It left Western Sydney reeling, and from there Sydney FC were in control of the game. The seemingly inevitable winner for Sydney came in the 79th minute, Brosque had the ball fall to his left foot from Gamiero and it found the right hand corner of the net.
Western Sydney were reduced to 9 men following an injury late on, and with the two man disadvantage were lucky simply to get through the rest of the game without conceding another goal. The post-match press conference saw Wanderers manager Tony Popovic dismayed by the officiating for the second week after the Wanderers were denied a clear penalty against Melbourne Victory, the bad offside call on the equalising goal and Saba's dubious red card in this match didn't help their cause.
Despite the poor officiating, the Wanderers were on the back foot from the moment Gamiero scored Sydney FC's first, and the second half was yet another Derby implosion at the Sydney Football Stadium. The Wanderers have now lost the first two matches of the current A-League season and if you include the Grand Final from last season, have lost three in a row. Changes and massive improvement are required in the upcoming Asian Champions League final otherwise the 5-0 aggregate loss by Adelaide United could be in danger of being broken.
The Wanderers next match is against Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia in the Asian Champions League Final first leg at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday the 25th of October.
Sydney FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Date and Local Kick-Off Time at Stadium: Saturday 18 October 2014 - 7:30PM
Sydney Kick-Off Time: 7:30PM EDT
Competition: A-League Regular Season
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Stadium: Sydney Football Stadium
Click here to view the record
Media reports have surfaced that the Western Sydney Wanderers have won the battle with Perth Glory for the services of Nikita Rukavytsya.
Rukavytsya, who has a couple handfuls of Australian National Team caps, was targeted by Western Messrs the Wanderers & Glory and news has leaked from the Glory camp of the rejection of their large marquee level offer.
Should the reports prove correct, the carrot of playing Asian Champions League football for the current West Asian ACL finalists looks to have secured the signature of the 27 year old forward.
Rukavytsya exploded onto the football scene in Australia, with direct and pacy runs on goal with a finish to match, big things were expected of the Ukrainian born & Perth raised striker. After securing a move to Europe following a haul of 16 goals from 42 appearances for the Glory, his career has spluttered along, averaging just 20 games a season since.
The signing perfectly complements Tony Popovic's tactical outlook, and will place a lot of pressure on the likes of Mark Bridge & Kwabena Appiah.
In addition to the reports of several young Wanderers such as Marty Lo being signed to contracts, this is likely the final signing for the Wanderers this year, at least until the next transfer window.
A first half blitz from the Victory saw them never seriously threatened by a defensively frail Western Sydney.
The A-League Season 10 opener saw the Wanderers going into the match lacking Matthew Spiranovic & Nikolai Topor-Stanley forced Tony Popovic to reshuffle his defensive unit and it took mere minutes for the Victory to capitalise.
Melbourne Victory's new foreign defender Matthieu Delpierre was left free as a bird at a free kick, and he contorted his body into a sidefoot volley that left Ante Covic with no chance. Western Sydney were then denied a stonewall penalty after Brendon Santalab was rugby tackled in the box as he was about to latch onto a low cross.
Not long after it was the Victory who received their own penalty, Antony Golec being adjudged to have deliberately handled the ball. Gun striker Besart Berisha playing for his new A-League club buried the spot kick to make it 2-0.
The Wanderers were completely unable to cope with the silky skills of Kosta Barbarouses, who tiptoed through the defence then unleashed a fierce drive that Covic parried away. Golec spurned a chance to clear first time and Victory captain Leigh Broxham pounced, belting the leather off the ball and nearly bursting the net.
5 minutes before the break Mark Bridge pulled one back following a neat lobbed through ball that Bridge powered through Nathan Coe, but the fightback lasted barely three minutes before the Victory secured their first opening round win in 8 years, and saw the Wanderers concede four goals for the first time in the A-League.
Another defensive error saw Berisha gifted possession with open space in front and he played the perfect through ball to Archie Thompson who nailed his one on one with Covic and sprinted away to celebrate in front of the returning North Terrace.
The majority of the 30,000+ crowd went home happy while the several thousand travelling Wanderers went out chanting despite the defeat. It leaves a lot of work for Tony Popovic to do before the huge Sydney Derby next Saturday.
The Wanderers next match is against Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday the 18th of October at 7:30pm.