Honours even in a scrappy Sydney derby

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After months of anticipation, it was a lack of killer instinct that saw the first Sydney derby of the 2021/22 A-League Men end in a 0-0 draw.

It was lights, camera, action for both sides in season 2021/22 as a healthy CommBank Stadium crowd welcomed another highly anticipated Sydney derby.

With both sides sitting on opposite ends of the ladder last season, the need for Carl Robinson’s Western Sydney Wanderers to start fast was eagerly matched by Steve Corica’s Sydney FC looking to pick up where they left off as one of the league’s benchmarks.

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After a scrappy opening, play began to settle and it was Sydney who started the better with their midfield trio finding space between their opponent’s midfield and defensive third. However, a lack of composure saw Corica’s side squander two early half chances falling to both Trent Buhagiar and stalwart Milos Ninkovic. 

It took Western Sydney 13 minutes to register their first chance although Andrew Redmayne was quick to close down Dimi Petratos’ one-on-one. Outside of this, it was Sydney’s defence, marshaled by captain Alex Wilkinson, that was making easy work of any attacking raids.

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As Western Sydney slowly began to win the midfield battle in the midway point of the half, a Sydney FC counter in the 33rd minute saw a teasing ball find the head of Buhagiar whose glancing heading was saved well by Mejias from close range. 

This would be the last clear cut chance of the half with the match perfectly poised.

The opening to the second began much like the first with Sydney controlling the ball early. It almost became telling early, with a 54th minute snap shot from Le Fondre requiring an expert Mejias save low to his right.

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The next 20 minutes of play were unfortunately stale for most part and it wasn’t until the 74th minute that substitution Max Burgess brought the crowd back to life with his first touch flying just wide of the post.

The atmosphere rose ten fold in the 84th minute with the recently signed Jack Rodwell going inches from sending his side in front via a 30-yard-shot that was destined for the top left corner prior to being parried away by a stretching Redmayne.

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With the match reaching its climax, both sides pushed for a winner with the ball being quickly moved from end to end as both sets of fans did everything they could vocally to get their team over the line.

Alas, neither side found the back of the net late with referee Alex King calling it a day with a draw the fair result.

Western Sydney Wanderers 0

Sydney FC 0

Commbank Stadium

Referee: Alex King

Assistant Referees: Ryan Gallagher & Kearney Robinson

Fourth Official: Jack Morgan

Western Sydney Wanderers: Tomas MEJIAS (GK), Rhys WILLIAMS (C), John KOUTROUMBIS, Thomas AQUILINA, Adama TRAORE, Steven UGARKOVIC, Terry ANTONIS (Jack RODWELL 65’), Dimitri PETRATOS (Keijiro OGAWA 65’) Bernie IBINI-ISEI (Alexander BADOLATO 88’), Tomer HEMED, Ramy NAJJARINE

Unused Subs: Daniel MARGUSH, Tate RUSSELL, Jordan SWIBEL, Mark NATTA

Sydney FC: Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), Joel KING, Ben WARLAND, Alex WILKINSON (C), Rhyan GRANT, Paulo RETRE, Anthony CACERES, Milos NINKOVIC (Max BURGESS 76’),  Elvis KAMSOBA (Harry VAN DER SAAG 85’), Trent BUHAGIAR(Patrick WOOD 64’), Adam LE FONDRE

Unused Subs: Thomas HEWARD-BELLE, Liam MCGING, Calem NIEUWENHOF, Patrick YAZBEK

Feature Image Credit: Aleks Kostadinoski

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Joseph Esposito
A diploma graduated Sports Media student, currently studying Law. Football obsessed, covering the Western Sydney Wanderers for the upcoming 2021/22 A-League season.

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