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Nov 23, 2023   |  5:52PM AET

Wanderers still hurt & driven by finals loss

Wanderers still hurt & driven by finals loss

They might be two great mates off the park but on Saturday night Sydney FC Head Coach Ufuk Talay and Western Sydney Wanderers Head Coach Marko Rudan will be tearing strips off each other on the sideline, in Australian sports’ fiercest rivalry.

The Isuzu UTE A-League showpiece at Allianz Stadium will mark the 36th time the Sydney Derby has taken place and is set to be a fantastic atmosphere in front of over 30,000 people.

Wanderers Head Coach Marko Rudan has admitted his side are still smarting from last season’s Finals Series loss to Sydney FC and will be looking to put it right, but for the Sky Blues’ new man in the hotseat, Ufuk Talay, Saturday’s match will represent something else.

“This is my first game at home in front of our Members and fans,” Talay said.

“I am very excited and it’s a fantastic opportunity to play against a quality side.

“We are coming off a great win against Adelaide United and it was a good two weeks to build on that and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Le Fondre celebrates at CommBank Stadium last year

Despite being friends, Wanderers Head Coach Rudan says there will be no love lost for 90 minutes once the whistle starts.

“I can’t wait. He wants to beat me, and I want to beat him,” he said.

“We were roommates for three years, I know Uffy quite well. He’s a really close friend of mine.

“We have always spoken about when we were teammates here at Sydney FC about coaching and how we are going to coach together, and it almost happened in 2017.

Ufuk Talay and Marko Rudan shared a laugh together at the press conference

“Here we are now, two of the biggest clubs in the league.

“He’s a quality coach and a top squad, one of the best in the league,” Rudan added.

The last derby meeting – the Finals clash in May this year – saw the Sky Blues run out 2-1 winners at CommBank Stadium.  Ball possession sat at a near 50/50 split. The Wanderers managed 31 clearances, but Sydney FC secured 18 interceptions and won 67 duels.

“Last year, we were good here [at Allianz] but not so much at home, and in probably the most important one, we lost, in the Finals. That still drives us on for these sorts of games, particularly this one coming up on Saturday night,” said Rudan.

“It should drive you – the pain of losing in a final.”

“We know it is going to be a really tough game,” he added.

Whilst the clubs share a mutual respect behind the scenes, it is all business on the field.

The Sky Blues will be coming off an impeccable high after they toppled former ladder leaders Adelaide United in a 5-1 showdown.

Robert Mak celebrates his goal in the last Sydney Derby

Sydney FC’s dynamic forward, Joe Lolley believes Talay has helped to make a difference.

“We’ve got new ideas and that extra bit of energy,” he said.

“We implemented that well against Adelaide. We’ve had more time to work on what we want with the ball now as well.

“We want to make it a very difficult game and the fans are going to come out in their numbers and create an incredible atmosphere on Saturday.

“All the boys are just excited to keep going and see how far we can push this season,” Lolley added.

Joe Lolley speaks at the press conference

In what will be one of the most passionate games of the season, Western Sydney Wanderers forward Marcus Antonsson shared his eagerness for the head-to-head clash.

“I am just really excited to be a part of it. I just want it to kick off right now,” he said.

“We want to improve every game and be better. This is a special game. It is going to be a massive one,” he added.

Lolley and Antonsson

Saturday evenings Sydney Derby clash will have fans on their edge of their seats. Will it be Ufuk Talay’s Sky Blue side that wins on home soil or will former teammate Marko Rudan and the Western Sydney Wanderers claim victory? You can find all match details below.  

Match Details

Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
Isuzu-UTE A-League Round Five
Saturday 25th November
Allianz Stadium, Sydney, NSW
Kick Off: 7:45pm AEDT
Gates Open: 6:15pm AEDT
Broadcast Live: Paramount+ & 10BOLD
Tickets: Click Here