Derby Hysteria As Sydney FC Soar Into Finals

Sydney FC have booked their place in this season’s Isuzu UTE A-League Finals after a dramatic last gasp 2-1 defeat of arch-rivals in front of a raucous Allianz Stadium crowd.

Zac Sapsford had looked to have snatched a point for the Wanderers equalizing Fabio Gomes opener in the 5th minute of stoppage time, only for Jaiden Kucharski to hit the Sky Blues winner with the last kick of the game.

Sydney FC 2 (Gomes 72’, Kucharski 90+7) def. Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Zapsford 90+5)

Luke Brattan dives in The Cove to celebrate the late winner.

Moments that Mattered:

25’ ANTONSSON HITS THE POST – Zac Sapsford lays the ball off to Oscar Priestman, who cuts it to Marcus Antonsson, but his shot curls into the post.

43’ BEADLING OWN GOAL DISALLOWED – Brattan lofts it to Rhyan Grant, where he crosses aiming for Fabio Gomes, and it finds the feet of a sliding Thomas Beadling into the net. But the referee immediately calls Grant offside.

47’ ANTONSSON HITS THE POST – Antonsson receives the ball and streams into the box, where his attempt ricochets off the post.  

72’ GOMES GOAL – Joe Lolley dribbles past the Wanderers’ defence and darts the ball into the hands of Lawrence Thomas. It spills out into the feet of Fabio Gomes, who tucks the ball into the back of the net.

90’+5′ SAPSFORD GOAL– Ex-Sky Blues Academy player Aiden Simmons lobs the ball into the Sky Blue box and finds the head of another ex-Sydney FC graduate in Zac Sapsford, who converts into the bottom right corner to equalise for Western Sydney.

90’+7′ KUCHARSKI GOAL – Anthony Caceres crosses the ball to Jaiden Kucharski, who thumps it into the ground watches it bounce over the red and black defence and sneak into the bottom left corner, sending the Sydney FC crowd into a frenzy.

Full time celebrations continue.

What They Said: Ufuk Talay: “Overall, we were the better team. They had a few moments in transition, but other than that, I thought we were in total control.

“Fabio could have had a hattrick tonight with the moments we created.

“Disappointed to concede a goal the way we did, as there were three players at the back post.

“But the boys didn’t stop, and it’s great that JK scored a great goal; it’s been a long time coming for him.

“The boys are ecstatic and will be buzzing in the changing rooms right now. We just want to keep going until the final whistle, and it definitely worked out well, especially in the derby.

“We still want to win our next two games and finish as high as we possibly can. Obviously, results need to go our way for that to happen, but we need to put ourselves in that position.”

Match Report: Sydney FC confirmed their way into the finals after defeating Western Sydney Wanderers in a dramatic 2-1 victory with the last kick off the game.

Goals to Fabio Gomes and a last-ditch strike by Jaiden Kucharski saw the Sky Blues edge their rivals, who scored an equaliser moments before through a Zac Sapsford header.

It was an ear-splintering opening ten minutes inside Allianz Stadium as Sydney FC sprung into action, ascending into the Wanderers’ half and not giving the Western Sydney team a sniff at goal. 

Fabio celebrates his opener

The Sky Blues continued to build into the game, with Joe Lolley, Max Burgess and Fabio Gomes coming close to drawing first blood.

After a Brandon Borrello injury, which stalled the game for a few minutes, the Wanderers began pressing the Sky Blues, and they thought they found the opening when Marcus Antonsson found himself one-on-one with Andrew Redmayne inside the box.

However, his shot found the post.

That scare prompted Ufuk Talay’s men to reignite their trademark high-risk, high-reward style of play, opening the game up and seeing opportunities come and go for both sides.

With just over ten minutes until the break, the Sky Blues regained control, finding their way into Western Sydney’s final third, but they still couldn’t produce the magic touch. 

And Ufuk Talay’s men thought they had broken the stalemate when Rhyan Grant’s cross found the feet of Thomas Beadling.

Wanderers players flat after conceding the opener to Fabio

The ball went into the back of the net but was called offside by referee Alireza Faghani.

After a vivacious first half, the Wanderers constructed the first scare two minutes in, when Marcus Antonsson ran into space and his shot rolled into the post.

The Sky Blues shook off the opening panic, though, slowing the game down and controlling possession.

Opportunities continued to fall for Sydney FC as they relentlessly stretched their rival’s defence.

And, with 20 minutes to go, the tension inside the 26,155-person stadium went up a notch. 

Redmayne screams in delight at beating Western Sydney

Fabio Gomes sent the Sky Blues fans into a spiral after Joe Lolley danced around a few defenders before releasing the ball.

It bounced off Thomas’ hands and straight into the feet of Fabio Gomes, who touched it into the empty net.

Western Sydney looked to respond immediately, streaming into the Sky Blues’ final third, allowing the tension to continue to brew.  

Sydney FC kept composed, denying the Wanderers their equaliser, which caused tensions to boil over between the players.

The whole team celebrate together.

But just as the Sky Blues looked done and dusted, Aidan Simmons lofted the ball and found the head of Zac Sapsford, who directed it into the bottom right corner, stunning the crowd.

However, in the last play of the match, Anthony Caceres lofted the and found Jaiden Kucharski on the edge of the six-yard box.

The substitute touched the ball into the ground, and it sneaked into the bottom left corner.

The moment of disbelief sent the Cove into a hysteria, and seconds later, Faghani blew the final whistle.

Jaiden Kucharski in disbelief after scoring

Sydney FC will next travel West, where they will face off against Macarthur FC, where an opportunity to secure a home final will be up for grabs.

Sydney FC: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 9. Fabio GOMES (19. Mitch GLASSON 90+), 10. Joe LOLLEY, 12. Corey HOLLMAN, 15. Gabriel LACERDA, 16. Joel KING, 17. Anthony CACERES, 22. Max BURGESS (25. Jaiden KUCHARSKI 79’), 23. Rhyan GRANT, 26. Luke BRATTAN ©, 27. Hayden MATTHEWS.

Unused Subs: 20. Adam PAVLESIC (GK), 3. Aaron GURD, 6. Jack RODWELL, 28. Nathan AMANATIDIS, 33. Marin FRANCE.

Yellow Cards: Talay (67’), King (88’), Grant (90+)

Red Cards: None

Western Sydney Wanderers: 20. Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 6. MARCELO ©, 7. Dylan PIERIAS, 9. Marcus ANTONSSON (39. Marcus YOUNIS 68’), 10. Milos NINKOVIC (5. Sonny KITTEL 68’), 16. Thomas BEADLING (2. Gabriel CLEUR 57’), 19. Jack CLISBY, 25. Josh BRILLANTE, 26. Brandon BORRELLO (35. Zac SAPSFORD 21’), 31. Aidan SIMMONS, 36. Oscar PRIESTMAN.

Unused Subs: 1. Daniel MARGUSH (GK), 13. Tate RUSSELL, 44. Nathan BARRIE.

Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

Referee: Alireza Faghani

Venue: Allianz Stadium

Attendance: 26155