The Sydney Derby once again lived up to expectations as a highly entertaining match finished 1-1 at Wanderland.It was a dominant performance by Western Sydney Wanderers who should have gone into the half time break three goals up but the signs are positive for Tony Popovic’s men who have now gone three matches undefeated.
In a pulsating first half the Red & Black showed just how far they had come in a few weeks with a display of fine quality giving a hint as to the type of football the team is working towards.
The width and pace of wingers Romeo Castelen and Nikita Rukavytsya were used effectively while the guile and vision of Mark Bridge at number 10 created space and opportunity for Tomi Juric.
And it was the combination of the latter that brought about the opening goal.
Juric, facing away from goal, fed the onrushing Bridge. Unable to get a shot away the ball made its way to Juric who blasted home his fifth goal in all competitions this season.
Rukavytsya, who had been tearing apart the Sydney FC defence up to this point, then made a killer run down the middle and after receiving a pass from Bridge was one-on-one with the keeper.
Unfortunately his shot hit the post.
As can so often be the case in football, and so often the case this season, that missed opportunity was to be rued as Bernie Ibini scored a scorcher for the team from East Sydney only minutes later.
The match continued to follow a similar pattern until the end with the Red & Black bombarding the visitor’s goal only for last ditch defending, a splendid save or plain bad luck meaning the winning goal eluded them.
While it is never pleasing to walk away from a Sydney Derby without a win, Wanderers fans, players and coaching staff alike left the stadium in the knowledge that the best is yet to come.
This match was a preview as to what to expect from the Wanderers sooner rather than later with attacking football, exciting players and an impressive passing game causing the opposition no end of problems.
Popovic was high in his praise for the squad after the match declaring it the most one-sided Sydney Derby since the creation of the rivalry while Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold conceded the Sky Blues were fortunate to come away with a draw.
Brisbane Roar will be looking nervously over their shoulder as the Wanderers come out hunting for Grand Final revenge on Wednesday.
Tickets are available here.