Victory sent shockwaves around the A-League by announcing Honda's absence shortly before the fiery derby, without elaborating on the reason, but a relaxed-looking Muscat didn't regret leaving his Japanese marquee out of the side.

"(Honda) trained all week but didn't come out yesterday," Muscat said. 

"I sensed on Thursday that he was looking a little fatigued - I just had a feeling - then after a discussion with him on Thursday I kept him inside on Friday, then made the decision to leave him out.

"It's not just his hamstring, there's some tiredness and fatigue in his lower back. I don't envisage it will be too long.

"We trained yesterday and made the decision based first on the quality that we've got in the side, Leigh (Broxham) came in and did a selfless job for the team.

"Then on the quality we've got in the side, I didn't see the reason to take a big risk.

Muscat's side dominated large periods of the match and took the lead on the 54th minute through their other star drawcard, Swedish striker Ola Toivonen, but were denied bragging rights by Dario Vidosic's headed equaliser in the second minute of extra time.

"In the second half it looked we looked more like us," Muscat said. "Then, at the end of the day, you concede a goal on the 92nd minute. That's life.

"I'm not frustrated at all. We're not playing not to lose. I don't want the players feeling that we've lost the game because we've conceded so late because that's analysing the result.

"Analyse the performance."