Sydney FC are up to fourth in the Hyundai A-League having secured bragging rights in the third Sydney Derby of the season with a determined 3-1 victory against the Western Sydney Wanderers
Sydney FC are up to fourth in the Hyundai A-League having secured bragging rights in the third Sydney Derby of the season with a determined 3-1 victory against the Western Sydney Wanderers.
In front of Sydney-s biggest sporting crowd of the weekend of 40,285, goals to Matt Jurman, Richard Garcia and Ali Abbas cancelled out Shinji Ono-s opener to send the Sky Blues faithful into raptures and deliver a vital three points.
The scoreline could have differed as the Wanderers will rue missed opportunities, namely a missed Mark Bridge penalty, saved by Vedran Janjetovic in what proved to be the turning point in an enthralling and heated encounter.
Head Coach Frank Farina made one change to the squad that started against the Mariners, recalling a fit again Richard Garcia to partner Ranko Despotovic upfront in place of Corey Gameiro.
Seb Ryall returned to the bench after his injury layoff while youngster Aaron Calver continued his role on the right side of defence to make his third senior appearance of the season.
A series of fouls dominated the opening exchanges as both sides looked to stamp their authority on the match with Terry Antonis proving lively in midfield.
It was the young Socceroo who created the first opportunity of the game in the eighth minute, sliding an inch perfect pass through to Despotovic who blasted his shot at Covic from an acute angle which deflected out for a corner that the Wanderers cleared.
Both sides were content to hold possession however just past the half hour Youssouf Hersi tested Vedran Janjetovic with a dipping shot from long range that the Sky Blues keeper punched clear for a corner.
A minute later the Sky Blues put Covic into action as Garcia chested a crossfield pass from Antonis into space before unleashing a low left foot drive from the edge of the box that the Wanderers keeper held.
With one minute of injury time added on the Sky Blues peppered Covic-s penalty area with crosses however Despotovic was unable to get on the end of a teasing ball from Garcia as both sides went in level at the break.
The Wanderers kicked the second half off and within four minutes they took the lead. Mark Bridge floated a deep cross into the box which Santalab knocked down into the path of Ono, who swivelled on the spot and volleyed the ball high into the back of the net.
A minute later the Wanderers were awarded a penalty after Richard Garcia was adjudged to have brought down Hersi however Vedran Janjetovic stood tall on the line to deny Mark Bridge. The keeper dived to his left to deflect the former Sydney FC man-s penalty away to safety.
On the 58th minute the Sky Blues equalised as Matt Jurman scored his first Hyundai A-League goal for the Sky Blues with a thumping header from 12 yards out.
The Sky Blues were awarded a foul on the left channel which Nikola Petkovic whipped into the box with pace. Covic misjudged the flight of the ball, leaping and failing with an attempted punch, allowing Matt Jurman to emphatically head the ball into an empty net to a rapturous home applause.
Janjetovic made another fantastic save in the 63rd minute, leaping through the air to punch a curling Yousef Hersi effort away as the game began to open up.
Richard Garcia put the Sky Blues in front with 15 minutes left to play as Ante Covic and Michael Beauchamp conspired to provide Garcia with the simplest of finishes from outside the box.
With space and time Covic played an innocuous looking ball to Beauchamp, however the former Sky Blue got his direction all wrong on the return pass, playing the ball into space allowing Garcia to run onto it and slot home in front of The Cove with the Wanderers keeper nowhere to be seen.
With five minutes to go hearts were in Sydney FC mouths as Mooy whipped a curling free kick into the six yard box that found the head of Santalab however he could not direct the header on target as it sailed over the bar.
In the first of six minutes of injury time the Sky Blues were awarded a penalty after Jermone Polenz handled the ball in the box. Iraqi international Ali Abbas coolly stroked the ball home sending the Sky Blues 3-1 up..
Sydney FC played out the remaining minutes of injury time with little fuss as Kris Griffiths Jones blew his whistle for full time sending the Sky Blues home with a vital three points and bragging rights with five games left to play.
The Sky Blues next match will be back at Allianz Stadium on Friday the 14th of March (kick off 7:45pm) against table toppers Brisbane with Sydney FC looking to solidify their position in the top six as the finals series fast approaches.
Sydney FC 3 (Jurman 59-, Garcia75- , Abbas pen. 90+3-) def Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Ono 50-).
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
SYDNEY FC: 20. Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 4. Ranko DESPOTOVIC (70- Alec UROSEVSKI), 5. Matthew JURMAN, 6. Nikola PETKOVIC, 10. Alessandro DEL PIERO(c) (62- Corey GAMEIRO), 11. Richard GARCIA, 13. Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 22. Ali ABBAS, 24. Hagi GLIGOR, 34. Aaron CALVER.
Unused Substitutes: 1. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2. Seb RYALL, 28. Matt THOMPSON.
Yellow cards: 27- M.Jurman, 86- A.Abbas, 88- A.Calver
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS: 1. Ante COVIC (gk), 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Michael BEAUCHAMP (c), 6. Jerome POLENZ, 8. Mateo POLJAK (70- Aaron MOOY), 11. Brendan SANTALAB, 17. Yousef HERSI, 18. Iacopo LA ROCCA, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 21. Shinji ONO (70- Golgol MEBRAHTU(77- Labinot HALITI)).
Unused Substitutes: 2. Shannon COLE, 20. Jerrad TYSON (gk).
Yellow Cards: 22- B.Santalab, 78- A.Mooy, 87- L.Haliti, 90+1- N.Topor-Stanley, 90+2- J.Polenz