Ninkovic fails on the big stage

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Sydney FC’s Milos Ninkovic has a reputation for wreaking havoc on opposition’s defences, however that wasn’t the case last night as he was kept quiet by Western Sydney Wanderers in the Sydney Derby.

Ninkovic was integral to Sydney’s title winning campaign last season with the Serbian playmaker’s performances earning praise from football supporters across Australia.

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The Serbian had the ability to unlock opposition defences and chipped in with plenty of goals and assists last season while also scoring the winning penalty to clinch the title for the Sky Blues in the 2017 A-League Grand Final.

The Sky Blues midfielder has started the season well but his performance in arguably the biggest match of the campaign has left Sydney supporters disappointed.

Against a physical Wanderers defence Ninkovic was bullied off the ball and wasn’t given the chance to play the way that Sky Blue supporters have become accustomed to.

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Marked out of the game by Wanderers’ centre backs, Robert Cornthwaite and Brendan Hamill, Ninkovic proved to be very little help for Sydney in the attacking third.

Sydney coach Graham Arnold acknowledged that the Serbian didn’t have his best game but highlighted that he still had an impact on the match.

“They [Wanderers] made it a little bit tougher for him to get on the ball, but when he did get on the ball he set up that chance for Matt Simon at the end as well as the chance for Zullo,” Arnold said.

“Even on a reasonably quiet night he can still set up five or six chances so I thought he worked very hard for the team.

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However, Ninkovic’s performance raises bigger questions for the Sky Blues as they progress through the campaign.

The A-League Champions relied heavily on the creativity of the Serbian playmaker week in, week out last campaign and Ninkovic rarely failed to deliver.

However, if Ninkovic fails to show up on the big occasions for Sydney as he did tonight, do they have what it takes to secure successive A-League titles?

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Samuel Greco Schwartz
Samuel Greco Schwartz
Studying Journalism at UTS. Obsessed with football and a die hard supporter of Sydney FC and Liverpool FC in the EPL

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