SYDNEY FC coach Frank Farina was left to lament a momentary lapse in concentration as his side slumped to defeat against bitter rivals Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday night.
The Sky Blues absorbed almost 87 minutes of pressure – as well as asking a few questions of their own – before falling to Brendon Santalab's late winner in a pulsating derby.
While the defeat was Sydney's fourth in their last six games, it was a vastly improved performance considering some of the talent they had watching from the stands.
But after surrendering bragging rights to the Wanderers for the third time in their last four meetings, Farina was finding it hard to take too many positives.
"I'm obviously frustrated and disappointed," the Sky Blues boss said. "You can't afford to switch off for one second and we did for that goal and we got punished.
"You've got to concentrate for 90 minutes and unfortunately we went to sleep for a few second there. Overall I thought we deserved a point, but it doesn't matter what I think, we didn't get any."
Sydney rode their luck in the first half with the Wanderers hitting the woodwork four times.
But the Sky Blues improved after the break and were arguably the better side for the majority of the second half before Santalab had the final say.
The catalyst for Sydney's resurgence was the introduction of Corey Gameiro early in the second half, with the youngster starting to hit his straps after an injury-disrupted start to the season.
"He's got pace which is a beautiful asset to have in modern football," Farina said of Gameiro. "He's hungry and he can score goals with both feet and obviously with the head.
"He's pushing (for a start). He had a long period off there with the injury so we're getting him back into it now."
Asked about his decision to substitute skipper Alessandro Del Piero just minutes before the Wanderers goal, Farina hinted he may have made the wrong call.
"He hasn't played 90 mins for a while," he said of the Italian.
"(But) I thought we lost a little bit when I took him off. We failed to keep the ball as well as we were for the first 30 minutes of that second half.
"He was frustrated at coming off but I think he was frustrated the way the game was going as well.
"It's disappointing to fall out of (the top six) but we've still got a lot of football to play...there'll be a lot of twists and turns.
"We don't want to fall out of the six but we're out. We've got to pick ourselves up and move on."
The Sky Blues take on champions Central Coast Mariners next Saturday night, with Nicky Carle back from suspension while the likes of Richard Garcia and Joel Chianese could return from injury.