Frank Farina’s Sydney FC were second best to Western Sydney for the majority of the 90 minutes in Saturday night’s A-league blockbuster.
Italian marquee star Alessandro Del Piero was not included in Sydney FC’s squad for the clash as coach Frank Farina decided not to risk the former Juventus star’s fitness levels after he limped off in Sydney’s loss to Brisbane last week.
It was another Italian who stole the limelight early on: Western Sydney’s Iacopo La Rocca.
The former Grasshopper defender rose firmly to nod home an in-swinging ball after just 13 minutes of play, leaving Sydney keeper Vedran Janjetovic stranded on his goal line as the net bulged.
It took the Wanderers just over fifteen minutes to double their lead when Japanese star Shinji Ono pounced on a catastrophic scramble in Janjetovic’s box.
The ball bounced over the head of Sebastian Ryall and out of Tiago Calvano’s reach which allowed Ono to run through on goal and neatly finish the chance.
Sydney were chasing the game from then on as the likes of Yairo Yau and Mitch Mallia failed to have any impact on the game when Sydney attacked.
Despite various efforts from Nick Carle and a thunderous free kick from Serbian Nikola Petkovic in the first half which smashed off the crossbar, Sydney were largely unable to threaten Wanderers keeper Ante Covic’s goal.
Sydney fans went home bitterly unhappy after watching their side concede a terrible tally of six goals in two games.
The only good news for Sydney on the night was the record A-league Allianz Stadium attendance of 40,388.
Western Sydney’s manager Tony Popovic acknowledged Western Sydney’s fanatical traveling support in his post-game press conference.
“It’s great for our fans,” Popovic said after the match. “I’m really pleased for them. The atmosphere was unbelievable – as good as anything I’ve seen.”
Meanwhile, just hours after the Harbour Derby on Fox Sports’ rolling coverage of A-league and English Premier League football, reporter Daniel Garb confirmed that he had spoken to Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish who stated that the club would not be pursuing ex-player Popovic as their head coach.
Speculation arose during the week that the young Australian coach was a hot contender to be named the new Crystal Palace manager after having spent time there as an assistant before signing on as the Wanderers’ inaugural manager in the A-league.
Written by Ellis Gelios