Western Sydney Wanderers outlasted a tired Sydney FC outfit in the inaugural NPLNSW2 Sydney Derby. Goals from Alusine Fofanah, Tariq Maia and Lachlan Scott ensured what proved to a comfortable victory in the end.
The opening half hour of the game provided little to talk about as both sides had each other covered well. There were no clear cut opportunities created, with half-chances being few and far between.
That all changed though in the 31st minute. The Wanderers’ Remy Najjarine cut his way through some of Sydney’s players before passing to Alusine Fofanah. Fofanah then beat another Sydney player, before striking the ball superbly past Sydney goalkeeper Mitchell Evans to open the scoring.
That was the first real opportunity and Fofanah took full advantage.
That goal seemed to spark the home side into life. Sydney controlled the game during the next 10 minutes and were dually rewarded. A slip up in defence by the Wanderers allowed Charles Lokolingoy to even the score. Nicola Kuleski capitalised on the away side’s slip up, feeding the ball to Lokolingoy who slammed the ball past Matthew Symes.
The 1:1 scoreline at half time was a fair indication of the game. Chances were few and far between and neither side had an upper hand over the other.
The second half started in much the same fashion as the first: both sides were still cancelling each other out effectively.
As the second half began approaching the midway point, Tariq Maia worked his way through the Sky Blue defence to put the Wanderers back in the lead. Maia danced his way through Sydney players before coolly slotting the ball past Evans.
As with their opener, the Wanderers second goal again sparked Sydney FC into life. The Sky Blues began to pepper the Wanderers goal but to no avail. Matthew Symes was called into action numerous times but never looked as though he would be beaten again.
As the game wore on, Sydney began to tire but they weren’t giving up just yet. A fine free kick in front of the Wanderers goal by Bai Antoniou saw the ball hit the crossbar and go over.
But Sydney seemed to run out of gas quickly after that.
The Sky Blues tired quickly and Lachlan Scott punished them deep into injury time, with a swift counter attack to seal a 3:1 victory for the Wanderers and an important three points.
Sydney FC would have been disappointed with the loss, more so about the way they tired than anything else. They had their chances and on another day the game may have even finished 3:3.
Western Sydney would be as equally happy with the win. They outlasted their opponents and really, fitness more than tactics was where this match was won and lost.
Overall, the match was a great advert for the way coach’s tactics can cancel out the opposition. Further, both sides were quite impressive in their willingness to pass the ball back when going forward wasn’t an option.
While it was an inaugural win for the Wanderers in the NPLNSW2 Sydney Derby, it was actually their first win over Sydney FC at youth level since October 2014. The victory sees Western Sydney leapfrog Sydney FC into first place, while the Sky Blues drop back into second on the competition ladder.
Sydney FC 1 (Charles Lokolingoy 40’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 3 (Alusine Fofanah 31’, Tariq Maia 57’, Lachlan Scott 90+3’)
at Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Sydney FC: 1. Mitchell EVANS, 2. Brendan CURTIS (8. Juan ZAPETA 69’), 3. Patrick FLOTTMAN, 4. George TIMOTHEOU, 5. Yianni SPYRAKIS (c), 6. Nicola KULESKI, 7. Daniel ARAUJO, 9. Bai ANTONIOU, 12. Charles LOKOLINGOY (19. Emmanuel GONZALEZ 69’), 14. Christian Gonzalez 17. Chris Zuvela.
Subs not used: 10. Aaron Avery 16. Matthew Green 20. Duro Drajicevic
Yellow Card: Yianni Spyrakis
Western Sydney Wanderers: 18. Matthew Symes 4. Abdelrahman Kuku 6. Keanu Bacchus . 8. Cameron Devlin 9. Lachlan Scott 10. Tariq Maia (7. Kyle Cimenti 72’) 15. Remy Najjarine (2. Lachlan Roberts 63’) 23. Jonathan Aspropotamitis 23. Shayne D’Cunha (c) 31. Alusine Fofanah (16. Jordan Morfitis 83’) 34. Mario Shabow.
Subs not used: 1. Nicholas Suman 24. Tacettin Kumsuz
Yellow Card: Cameron Devlin
Quotes and Title Photo via Football NSW.