The first Sydney Derby at the Western Sydney Stadium has been won 1-0 by the home side as the Captain Mitch Duke fired in a magnificent flying header early in the first half then saw his side held on stoically through the remainder of the game to take the three points.
As the Sydney Derby took on a 1v2 flavour for the first time the result was doubly important as it meant the Wanderers will now finish the round either 2 or 3 points clear of 2nd place. With an atmosphere to rival anywhere in Europe, Sydney FC had the better of the opening stages, Rhyan Grant fired in a cross to Adam Le Fondre that he glanced down to force a good save low by Daniel Lopar.
In the 18th minute Sydney FC handed a right flank overload to the Wanderers and they were punished for it. Paulo Retre tried a ridiculous backheel attempting to get around Daniel Georgevski but the in-form fullback cut it off and after a Yeboah touch, he took the ball back and sent in a perfect cross into the box, Mitch Duke making a wonderful run toward the penalty spot, launching himself at the ball, making perfect contact to send the ball past Andrew Redmayne before he could get his hands up to block.
The Sydney FC players reacted with their usual lack of grace, as Ryan McGowan and Grant got in a shoving match with Wanderers midfielder Nick Sullivan. Players from both sides streamed toward the confrontation, referee Alireza Faghani along with Duke helped to seperate the sides before Ryan McGowan and Sullivan were booked for the push & shove.
On the half hour Daniel Lopar made another great save, this time at his near post when Milos Ninkovic tried a surprise toepoke shot. Shortly after Kosta Barbarouses butchered what looked to be a sure goal, as Ninkovic put him through on goal, only for the New Zealand international to fire wide.
Early in the second half Sydney FC thought they had the equaliser. From a corner in the 51st minute, Barbarouses with his back to goal managed to knock the ball down into the bottom corner post, the rebound saw the ball skitter across the goal-line without it being clear that the whole of the ball had crossed as per the laws of the game, and Lopar gratefully clutched it in his arms. The VAR declined to overturn the decision, with the linesman having the best angle within the entire ground.
Sydney FC continued their petulant behaviour in the 54th minute, after a routine coming together between Pirmin Schwegler & Grant, the Sydney FC player decided to shove Schwegler to the turf in front of the Sydney FC technical area, their coach Steve Corica instigating another melee by deciding to get in the face of Schwegler. It did little to trouble the Wanderer as he smiled and walked away, Faghani who officiated the game at a level of high quality rarely seen in this country, again dished out a set of cards, one to each team.
As time began to run out, Sydney FC started throwing everyone forward and in the 74th minute they once again thought they were going to score an equaliser. Ninkovic played Barbarouses in on goal again, a 1 on 1 with Daniel Lopar loomed and the Swiss stopper shut down the shooting angles then blocked the shot with his left foot. It was to be the last major action for the visitors, and with a gigantic roar of the 28,000 strong home crowd, the Wanderers took out the derby 1-0, going clear at the top of the table and picking up three wins from their first three games, for the first time in the club's history.
The Wanderers face the Brisbane Roar in Round 4, on Saturday the 2nd of November, at the Western Sydney Stadium kick-off at 5:00pm.