Sydney FC have tasted success in the Sydney Derby for the first time in just under 12 months after a 3-2 win over rivals Western Sydney Wanderers at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday night.
It was a dream start for the Sky Blues. Adam Le Fondre opened the scoring for the home side with a powerful left-footed finish after he was given way too much space inside the area by Wanderers centre-back Phillip Cancar in just the second minute of play.
The visitors responded through Israeli forward Tomer Hemed’s volley in the 17th minute after some shambolic Sydney defending.
From there, gilt-edged chances were few and far between for both sides until Trent Buhagiar put his side back in front with an emphatic finish from six yards out 20 minutes into the second stanza.
Buhagiar then gave Sydney a two-goal cushion just five minutes later with another strong finish after some good work from SFCU’s favourite whipping boy, Paulo Retre.
Tate Russell, who’d only just entered the fray off the bench, got one back for Western Sydney but it would prove to be only consolation for the visitors.
It is Sydney’s first win in the Derby in 2021-22 and first since May last year. Could it be enough to kickstart a late charge to the top six?
In the second minute of play, Le Fondre found the ball at his feet inside the Wanderers’ penatly area, however with his back to goal. The Englishman quickly peeled off his marker, made a yard of space for himself and dispatched his powerful strike past the hapless Daniel Margush.
Tomor Hemed levelled the Sydney Derby for his side with a well-struck volley in the 17th minute after a Wanderers corner was not dealt with at all by Sydney.
Sydney then went 2-1 up through Buhagiar. After some good work down the right side, a cross into the area took a touch off Le Fondre and nicely into the path of Buhagiar just six yards out from goal. He then made no mistake, with his shot flying past Margush before the gloveman could even react.
The much-maligned Buhagiar was then the beneficiary of a delightful through-ball from Paulo Retre of all people, before getting rid of his defender and unleashing another powerful finish for Sydney’s third.
Tate Russell, just onto the pitch as a late substitute, got his team back into the contest in the 75th minute with a header.
The ball appeared to strike Sydney centre-back James Donachie’s arm in the 86th minute. Wild protestations from Mark Rudan and his players went unanswered, however, with VAR apparently not even taking a look at the incident.
The drama continued in the 88th minute when milestone man Rhyan Grant marked his record-breaking 268th appearance in the sky blue jersey with a red card for his second bookable offence.
Sydney FC travel to the city of coffee and laneways for a clash with ladder leaders Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Wednesday. Kick-off is set for 7:45pm.