After a bright start and an early goal, a calamitous error of judgement from Wanderers goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic undid all their hard work, as the 10 men of Westen Sydney trudged to an inevitable and all-too-familiar defeat against their arch nemesis.
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 - 3 Sydney FC
Western Sydney had failed to defeat their cross city rivals in their last five meetings – but Sydney’s limp defeat to Wellington the previous week would have given Markus Babbel’s men renewed hope. For the Sky Blues, Alex Wilkinson’s illness gave a late repreive to Jop van der Linden, who was set to be dropped for Aaron Calver, but instead started alongside him.
Wild weather and lightning in Sydney saw train lines shut down and kickoff delayed by 40 minutes, as a disappointing crowd of just over 18,000 sheltered undercover from the pouring rain. When the match eventually kicked off, the Wanderers were dominant, targeting Sydney’s left flank and taking the lead through derby specialist Oriol Riera. Janjetovic’s red card completely swung the game, and Babbel may be left ruing his decision to sacrifice Alex Baumjohann for the back-up keeper.
Western Sydney Wanderers
Vedran Janjetovic - 2
One of the all-time A-League brain snaps. Janjetovic ran way outside his box to intervene in a situation that Ziegler seemed to have under control, and was forced to handball Le Fondre’s subsequent goalbound effort. The resulting red card forced Markus Babbel to sacrifice his best player, and left his side in the lurch.
Josh Risdon – 7.5
Tireless work rate and dealt reasonably well with Zullo and Ninkovic’s forays down his flank. Can hold his head high despite the defeat.
Brendan Hamill – 6
Camped on the edge of his own area for most of the match. Whether it was tactical instruction or sheer weight of possession, the captain couldn’t get his team out of their own half once they were down a man, and it only seemed a matter of time before they crumbled.
Patrick Ziegler – 6
His goalkeeper didn’t do him any favours when he intervened in a dual down the Wanderers’ right hand side. Could have given away a penalty for his challenge on Ninkovic, and will be dissapointed he let the ball bounce inside the six yard box before de Jong scored.
Tarek Elrich - 6
Wasn’t able to get forward and stayed in line with his centre backs for the majority of the match. Positionally astute but it looks as if his legs are deserting him at this stage of his career.