Opinion: Sydney Derby is unmatched in the A-League Men competition

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From tifos to flames and a war of words, the Sydney Derby is the most passionate and thrilling fixture in the A-League Mens’ competition.

Let’s start from scratch, shall we?

As dominant as Sydney FC were in its early years, the club needed a local rivalry to elevate football in the city.

FFA’s decision to create a Western Sydney club in 2012 remains one of their most successful.

The history between the two sides began on October 20 2012, when 19,126 people packed into the old Paramatta Stadium for the first-ever meeting between the Wanderers and Sydney.

 

In the lead up to the game, there was a palpable sense of excitement as Sydney finally had their neighborhood derby in the A-League, especially for Sky Blues fans after signing Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero a week earlier.

Both teams entered the contest winless in their opening two games of the season, and the fight was even throughout the 90 minutes. But, in the end, Del Piero ended Sydney’s stalemate for the campaign – scoring the decisive second-half goal. 

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Let’s fast forward to when:

Astonishingly, Sydney FC realised they now had an arch-rival within walking distance.

In 2014, Tony Popovic led the newly-founded club to Asian Champions League success with a squad of unknowns. With that philosophy, he ensured the club’s early success.

Throughout its history, Sydney Derbies have consistently exceeded expectations. As a result, this fixture has held many memories, from the Alessandro Del Piero and Shinji Ono showdowns to the bittersweet reunion of former Sydney star Milos Ninkovic with the Wanderers.

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Those emotions emanate from the fans, who are the most passionate supporters in the A-League. The Cove (Sydney FC) and the RBB (Western Sydney Wanderers) NEVER fail to produce an absolute buzzing atmosphere.

Tifos displayed at both Sydney Derbies of the season show these fans’ tremendous passion for their clubs.

Despite its reputation tarnishing and recent crowd trouble, there is a sense that the RBB is slowly coming back to its former glory.

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As CommBank Stadium played host to the second Sydney Derby of the season, the arch-rivals battled it out in front of 26,462 fans. An impressive turnout considering crowd troubles.

But passion doesn’t come just from the fans and the players; it also comes from the coaches.

On the subject of rivalries: 

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Steve Corica famously scored the winning goal in the inaugural A-League Grand Final for the Sky Blues and has won multiple championships at the helm. In contrast, Marko Rudan grew up in the west and understands how much people love the game in that area. The passion is evident on the touchline from both coaches. Yesterday, Rudan received a yellow card for confrontation with the referee, while Corica and Rudan shared some not-so-friendly words at full time.

Supporters of both Melbourne clubs won’t want to accept this, but the Sydney Derby has overtaken the Melbourne Derby. This has been the case for some time now.

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Sydney does not have an identity crisis. Even with Steve Corica’s men hovering around sixth place and struggling for form, last night’s derby reinforced its status as the top entertainment event in the A-League.

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Feature Image Credit: Daniel McGookin

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Edith Yankuba
Edith Yankubahttps://www.afroaussiesandsuccess.com
A curious journalism student seeking knowledge from the world via stories and all things football. Covering the 2022/2023 A-League season for Western Sydney Wanderers and the Central Coast Mariners.

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