The Big Blue: The rivalry that pulls no punches

Elbows to the throat. Slaps to the face. Last minute winners. Big wins on enemy territory.

These are just some of the many storylines that the Big Blue has thrown up in the past, and this weekend it returns to Allianz Stadium this Saturday in the 62nd meeting between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory.

The Big Blue is so named for a reason, and the grudges between the two sides have only increased throughout the years. It was one of the very first Isuzu UTE A-League matches back in 2005 and from that moment, the rivalry was born. Yorke was on the scoresheet that evening at Allianz Stadium and with that contest finishing 1-1, it only intensified the rivalry.

Tensions in the opening season between the two

Barely a year later and tensions were high as Sydney FC player Mark Rudan was sent off 14 minutes into the contest before tensions boiled over and Fred elbowed Mark Milligan in the throat. No card was brandished to Fred in the times before VAR, but TV cameras caught it all and Milligan had troubles breathing from the incident.

After the red card and three goals in the opening 15 minutes, the extra man proved it’s worth with Victory eventually running out 3-2 winners at the Telstra Dome amongst high amounts of controversy.

Tensions rise
Rudan is shown a red card
Milligan is on the turf after getting elbowed

As the rivalry evolved, the matches between these two powerhouses in Australian football continued to evolve. With plenty of close fought victories to both and a number of 0-0 stalemates, during the 2009/10 season, they met a record six times!

Sydney FC held the ascendancy in the regular season, culminating with a Valentines Day victory at a packed Allianz Stadium in which goals to Karol Kisel and John Aloisi ensured the Premiers Plate was lifted by Sky Blues that season. Meeting in the Major Semi Final, across two legs, Victory won 4-3 on aggregate, being rewarded with a home final while Sydney FC had to overcome Wellington Phoenix to earn their spot in the big dance.

The 2010 A-League Grand Final had the perfect storyline for Melbourne Victory as they looked to steal the title from Sydney FC on their own patch. 120 minutes couldn’t seperate the two and off to penalties we went.

Kevin Muscat, Melbourne Victory skipper took the first spot kick for the hosts which cannoned off the up-right, silencing Etihad Stadium. A Clint Bolton save later in the shoot-out set up foreigner Byun Sung-Hwan for the winner as Sydney FC became the first side to lift the A-League Championship trophy away from home.

The 2017 A-League Grand Final was a marvel to all who witnessed it. Rhyan Grant’s second half goal almost taking the roof off the Moore Park theatre, equalising the contest before penalties decided it with Sydney FC coming from behind during the shoot-out to win in front of The Cove.

Scuffles during the 2017 A-League Grand Final

Around a year later and once again Allianz Stadium played host to some amazing drama in the Semi Final. The match was filled with so much drama that you would’ve been forgiven to thinking it was something out of a video game.

A place in the feature match was up for grabs and after a near perfect season, Sydney FC wanted hosting rights for the grand final. After a topsy turvy game, Terry Antonis hammered in a stoppage time equaliser for his former employers in one of the most bizzare scenes you will ever see in football.

With seconds left on the clock after Sydney FC peppered the Victory goal, Antonis attempted to clear the ball and instead, smashed it into the top corner in the most bewildering fashion. Off to extra time we went and Antonis again would be in the storylines, this time scoring in the right net, much to the delight of the travelling support who engulfed the Victory winger at the fence.

As celebrations spilled from the stands to the pitch, they also spilled from the bench. Two Melbourne Victory staff celebrated onto the pitch and upon consultation between the officials, one of them were seen to strike Sydney FC winger David Carney across the face. Referee Kurt Ams immediately brandished the red card and the Victory staff were left to sweat out the remainder of the game.

In terms of victories on enemy territory, you need not look any further than this season. Melbourne Victory opened the A-League season with a pulsating 3-2 victory in crazy conditions that saw both sides lead throughout the night.

Robert Mak scored the first goal at the new Allianz Stadium

Robert Mak scored the opening goal at the re-built Allianz Stadium before James Donachie scored against his former club late in the second half. It was a storyline of forgotten sons when Josh Brillante slid into the back post to score the winner for the visitors and leave his past employers crestfallen. In the reverse fixture, Sydney FC headed down to AAMI Park and amongst plenty of physicality and tension, Adam Le Fondre and Max Burgess were the difference makers as the Sky Blues ran out 2-1 winners cueing scenes of jubilation in the away end.

This weekend promises to be another famous edition of this historic rivalry in the 62nd meeting between the two blue clubs.

Match Details

Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Isuzu UTE A-League Round 19
Saturday 4th March 2023
Allianz Stadium, Sydney, NSW
Kick Off: 7:45pm AEDT
Broadcast Live: Paramount+ & 10Bold
Tickets: Click Here