Macarthur claim Battle of the West in thrilling return to Sydney

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Macarthur FC ran out 3-1 winners over Western Sydney Wanderers to claim their third ‘Battle of the West’ victory and deny their local rivals a second derby win on the spin.

Macarthur returned to Campbelltown Stadium off the back of a forgettable duo of defeats in Victoria, losing 3-1 to Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City within four days.

Western Sydney had the wind of a derby victory in their sails after a 2-0 win over Sydney FC last Saturday.

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Al-Hassan Toure returned to the Bulls’ starting line-up for just his second start of the season. Deployed next to him was Apostolos Giannou, in search of his third goal in three games. The Wanderers made no changes to their 11 named at CommBank Stadium a week ago.

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Slick interplay down the left-hand side between Toure and Tommy Oar saw the former’s right boot fly off high above his head. With the shoe he had left, he curled in a low cross to Craig Noone, who swept the ball into the top corner to give the hosts the lead after eight minutes. Note the grippy, white sock of Toure as Macarthur wheel away.

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The Wanderers accumulated two yellow cards in the first half through Dimitri Petratos and Keanu Baccus with Macarthur a repetitive threat on the break.

The visitors’ first proper threat came after half an hour, when a clever and pacey dart infield from Adama Traore ended in a tidy throughball to Tomer Hemed. His cross rolled through the area he would usually inhabit before being touched behind by Moudi Najjar. Hemed’s heavy, chested touch would spurn a decent chance for himself in the minutes that followed.

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Ulises Dávila continuously found himself in the same central pocket of space within Wanderers’ territory after half-time. The captain played Toure in behind, but Daniel Margush brilliantly turned his shot narrowly wide of the far post.

The skipper lit up again when a half-hearted clearance from Phillip Cancar fell to him inside the box. A convicted strike with his weaker left foot sent the ball flying into the roof of the net with just under 20 minutes to play.

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Terry Antonis would mark his entrance to the pitch almost immediately with a downward header at the far post that beat Filip Kurto. Uproar resulted from Macarthur players and fans alike, calling for offside. Western Sydney captain, Traore, even had to collect the ball from Filip Kurto and place it on the spot to initiate the restart, such was the disbelief of the home team.

Michael Ruhs thought he had his stoppage-time penalty ruled out when the linesman raised his flag to reverse the referee’s original decision. VAR would rule Ruhs as onside, and captain Dávila punched home the penalty to seal both his second goal of the night, and three points for his side.

Macarthur FC: 3 (Noone 8′, Dávila 72′ 90+6′)

Western Sydney Wanderers: 1 (Antonis 79′)

Stadium: Campbelltown Sports Stadium

Macarthur FC: Filip KURTO (GK), Moudi NAJJAR, Tomislav USKOK, Aleksandar JOVANOVIC, Adrian MARIAPPA, Tommy OAR, Jordon MUTCH(66′), Craig NOONE (89′), Ulises DÁVILA, Al Hassan TOURE(56′), Apostolos GIANNOU(89′), Lachlan ROSE(56′), Charles M’MOMBWA(66′), James MEREDITH (89′), Michael RUHS (89′)

Unused Subs: Nick ŠUMAN (GK), Jake HOLLMAN, Liam ROSE

Western Sydney Wanderers: Daniel MARGUSH(GK), Adama TRAORE, Phillip CANCAR, Tomislav MRCELA, Tate RUSSELL, Keanu BACCUS(77′), Steven URGARKOVIC, Dimitri PERTRATOS, Keijiro OGAWA(78′), Ramy NAJJARINE(77′), Tomer HEMED(78′), Terry ANTONIS(77′), Alessandro LOPANE(77′), Bernie IBINI (78′), Jarrod CARLUCCIO (78′)

Unused Subs: Tomas MEJIAS(GK), John KOUTROUMBIS, Thomas AQUILINA

Feature Image credit: Macarthur FC

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Tom Macrae
Tom Macraehttp://medium.com/@macraetomr23
Communications undergrad at Western Sydney University covering Macarthur FC in the 2021/22 season. Newcastle United. Jack Grealish fangirl.

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