Sydney FC scraped home against archrivals Western Sydney Wanderers at Allianz Stadium last night, thanks to a late goal by Milos Ninkovic.
The A-League’s 10th Sydney derby always threatened to go the Wanderers’ way – and perhaps should have.
Jaushua Sotirio pulled off an improvised backwards header into the back of the net on the stroke of half time, sparking celebrations and euphoria among Wanderers supporters. The euphoria was shortlived – the linesmen ruled Sotirio offside and the goal was controversially disallowed. The replay showed that Sotirio was in line with Sydney FC defender Jacques Faty.
The Wanderers were poor in the final third and remained unable to get on the scoresheet.
Spanish import Dimas Delgado had a chance to score for the Western Sydney team but hit the crossbar from point-blank range.
The tension between the two sides was at a high when Milos Ninkovic’s attempt at closing down Redmayne resulted in a free-kick. Ninkovic’s risky tackle on the keeper comes only a week after his teammate Shane Smeltz left Newcastle Jet’s goalie Mark Birighitti with facial injuries. But like Smeltz, Ninkovic received just a warning.
With just two minutes of regular time to play, Brandon O’Neill delivered an overhead pass to Ninkovic, who put it past Wanderers goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.
The win for the Sky Blues puts them on top of the A-League standings this round. Western Sydney, however, are yet to win this season and will be bottom of the table if Perth Glory can avoid defeat by Adelaide United today. – Anthony Johnston