Vedran Janjetovic threw away the derby with a moment of madness that saw him sent off for a handball outside the box, with the Wanderers incapable of defending their early 1-0 lead, the Wanderers eventually succumbing to a 3-1 defeat at Homebush tonight.
The match began much later than expected as a thunderstorm lashed the Sydney region and forced the match commissioner to postpone kick-off by more than half an hour. Once it was underway the Wanderers controlled the early going, and their 20 minutes of pressure paid off through Alexander Baumjohann and Oriol Riera. Baumjohann delivered a wonderful curling free kick into the penalty area, Bruce Kamau's diving header caused Andrew Redmayne to hesitate momentarily, and the ball found the feet of Riera and subsequently the back of the net.
Riera's goal was the highlight of the game for the home side. Mere minutes later, a garbage long ball over the top caused confusion with Vedran Janjetovic deciding he needed to rush out of the area, he knocked over Ziegler his central defender, and then dived at the shot despite being well out of the area. The red card was inevitable at that point, and shortly after Baumjohann followed Vedran down the tunnel as the Wanderers attacking spark was sacrificed to bring on substitute keeper Danijel Nizic.
Sydney FC attacked at their leisure from that point on, knowing the Wanderers had no real potency in attack, and they equalised in first half stoppage time. Josh Brillante was let run into the penalty area by Jaushua Sotirio, his shot struck the woodwork after Nizic failed to palm it away, and typically for these derby games, the rebound was perfectly placed for Alex Brosque to hammer the ball home.
From that moment on a Sydney FC win was inevitable, and they took the advantage from a dreadfully defended corner in the 57th minute. The ball flashed through a sea of bodies until it reached De Jong at the back post who scored with his left boot.
Sydney FC sealed the game in the 80th minute, a lofted corner to the back post was buried with the head by Jacob Tratt. Western Sydney had less than 0 in attack and wouldn't have scored in 500 minutes let alone the dozen remaining.
Western Sydney just find new ways to give up points and wins in the A-League. Whatever Babbel is doing on the training pitch isn't being applied on the big stage, and he hasn't displayed any of the tactical nous one would expected from a manager who engineered Hertha's rise to the Budesliga in 2010/11.
The vagaries of the A-League finals system means that the Wanderers will likely limp along with some small hope of turning around their form at the back end of the season, but the league premiership is gone already, and the season looks set to be another long slog to try and wrestle 5th or 6th spot away from the likes of Wellington, Melbourne City and Newcastle.
The Wanderers play Adelaide United, in Adelaide, on Wednesday the 26th of December, at 7:50pm Sydney time.