Ninkovic puts out rivalry fire after downing Sydney FC

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Milos Ninkovic took the chance to prove himself during the fierce Sydney Derby – setting up the winning goal for Western Sydney Wanderers at the tail end of the match.

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Ninkovic’s controversial move from Sydney FC to their long-time Western Sydney rivals was the talk of the evening, in fact, it had been the talk of the season so far. There had been months of shade-throwing coming from both sides of the matter, and this was the first time that he would come up against his former club.

The tensions were higher than ever, and the fans were making it known that Ninkovic was the fuel to their fire. Sydney FC supporters held up a huge, spiteful sign that read, “Legends are cherished; traitors’ legacies will perish.”

After squandering his first chance at the face of the goal, Ninkovic was quick to find his redemption with an assist for Kusini Yengi, who scored the winning goal of the match.

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Western Sydney manager, Marko Rudan, had nothing but praise for the transferred star.

“He’s not just a quality player, but a quality person,” Rudan said.

“That’s why we brought him to the club and that’s what makes him the leader that he is.”

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It’s fair to say that the drama surrounding Ninkovic did, in fact, impact the nature of the game for both sides. Both teams did their best to ignore it, but it seemed there was an overriding tension that certainly crept into the heads of some players.

This isn’t to say that all derby matches aren’t tense, but Rudan even went as far as saying that Ninkovic’s character was the reason the Wanderers came out on top.

“He won us the game because of the way that he started,” Rudan said.

“If he had put his head down coming into the match, or if his touches weren’t there, the players would’ve seen that.

“The way he played was why we played as a team the way we did tonight.”

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When Sydney FC coach, Steve Corica, was asked about what he thought of the noise surrounding Ninkovic, he didn’t have a whole lot to say.

“We expected that.” Corica said.

“He played well and that’s what he does.”

Going into a game with expectations is something that can tarnish the quality of football. Whether Sydney FC were too much in their heads is a question that will be left hanging, but for now, Ninkovic has certainly had the answer.

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Feature image credit: Jaime Castaneda

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Neve McGavock
Neve McGavockhttps://everneve.com/
Studying a Bachelor of Journalism and Creative Writing at the University of Wollongong. Covering Sydney FC for the 2022/23 season.

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