Wanderers hold on for priceless derby victory

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Western Sydney Wanderers’ skipper Mitchell Duke’s early header was enough for the hosts to beat Sydney FC in a fiery derby.

Despite a dominant performance from the Sky Blues, it was the hosts who took their chance and stubbornly held out Steve Corica’s men for the remainder of the contest.

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Sydney came within inches of opening the scoring 13 minutes in as Ninkovic rattled the crossbar with a cheeky dinked effort.

The opener then arrived after 19 minutes as Paulo Retre was robbed of the ball attempting a fancy flick in Sydney’s back third.

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Daniel Georgievski took full advantage as he powered forward and whipped a precise weak-footed cross into the path of his skipper Mitchell Duke, who thundered home a powerful header.

Sydney then began to stamp their authority with Kiwi international Kosta Barbarouses at the heart of some threatening attacking tirades. On the half an hour mark, the former Victory attacker linked up with Milos Ninkovic to nearly equalise.

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Ninkovic was denied by a couple of smart Daniel Lopar stops, before feeding through Barbarouses who unleashed a curling effort inches wide of the mark.

Sydney continued where they left off five minutes into the second half as Kosta Barbarouses’ header bounced off the upright and was kept out by a matter of millimetres.

As Sydney desperately pursued an equaliser, the intensity of the contest began to hit fever pitch mid-way through the second stanza.

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Their misery was compounded as they saw a penalty shout waved away by referee Alireza Faghani.

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With 15 minutes to play, Barbarouses found himself one-on-one with Lopar, however, the Swiss shot-stopper stood tall to preserve his side’s advantage.

The reigning champions continued to maintain possession and field position but could not penetrate a resolute Western Sydney defensive unit.

In the end a backs-against-the-wall performance from Markus Babbel’s men maintained their flawless start to the campaign, inflicting a maiden defeat upon their fierce cross-town rivals in the process.

Western Sydney Wanderers: 1 (Duke 19’)

Sydney FC: 0 

Bankwest Stadium
Attendance: 28,519

Referee: Alireza Faghani
Assistant Referees: Nathan MacDonald, Lance Greenshields
Fourth official: Kurt Ams

Western Sydney Wanderers: Daniel LOPAR (GK), Daniel WILMERING, Matthew JURMAN, Dylan MCGOWAN, Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, Keanu BACCUS, Pirmin SCHWEGLER, Nicholas SULLIVAN (Mohammed ADAM 49’), Kwame YEBOAH, Alexander MEIER, Mitchell DUKE (C)

Unused subs: Nicholas SUMAN (GK), Kostandinos GROZOS, Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS, Tate RUSSELL, Patrick ZIEGLER, Jake TREW

Sydney FC: Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), Rhyan GRANT, Ryan MCGOWAN, Alex WILKINSON (C), Paulo RETRE (Joel KING 86’), Luke BRATTAN, Brandon O’NEILL (Luke IVANOVIC 80’), Alexander BAUMJOHANN (Anthony CACERES 72’), Milos NINKOVIC, Kosta BARBAROUSES, Adam LE FONDRE

Unused subs: Tom HEWARD-BELLE (GK), Patrick FLOTTMANN, Harry VAN DER SAAG, Jordi SWIBEL

Feature image credit: Jaime Castaneda

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Chris Curulli
Chris Curulli
Passionate Sports Media student and all round football obsessive, covering the Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2019/20 season.

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