Wanderers lay siege to shocking Sky Blues in 4-0 derby demolition
“Defend our city and our colours,” read the pre-match plea from The Cove’s tifo to Sydney FC’s players. It was not heeded. They were outplayed, outwitted, outfought and even outsung on the terraces as the Western Sydney Wanderers laid siege to Allianz Stadium on Saturday in one of the most one-sided derbies in years.
It would be hard to imagine a worse night at the office for the Sky Blues, who slumped to a 4-0 defeat – the heaviest derby loss in their history and their second defeat in as many games against the Wanderers at their new home ground.
The Red and Black Bloc revel in Amor Layouni’s second goal.Credit:Getty
From the outset, it was clear that only one side was up for this battle. Marko Rudan’s men had that glint in their eyes but also the guile to pick apart a woeful Sydney defence and take what they wanted in front of 28,929 fans. With their first A-League finals appearance in six years on the horizon, this was a true statement victory.
Two spectacular passes kicked off the massacre in the first half. One came from Socceroo Brandon Borrello, who turned down Sydney’s overtures in the pre-season to sign for the Wanderers on a lesser wage, and the other came from Milos Ninkovic, the former Sky Blues legend who fell out with coach Steve Corica and the club’s hierarchy and took his talents to the western suburbs.
And it was a Sydney academy product and one of Australia’s most promising young midfielders, Calem Nieuwenhof, whose cracking strike from distance just after the hour mark killed off any chance of a comeback from his old side.
Calem Nieuwenhof (28) scores from distance against Sydney FC.Credit:Getty
Just to make sure of it, Tunisian recruit Amor Layouni added a fourth and his second with 15 minutes to go.
Borrello called Sydney’s performance “bang average” after they claimed a plucky 1-0 win over the Wanderers a month ago. That appraisal would have been accurate here. His magnificent ball in the 13th minute completely took Sydney’s disjointed rearguard out of the picture and put Layouni through on goal. He in turn slipped it to Kusini Yengi, the scorer of the decisive goal in the last Allianz derby, to tap away into an empty net.
Yengi wheeled away in celebration, taking off his jersey and parading his name and number in front of the Cove, who rained projectiles down on him – mostly the two-toned blue cloths they waved during their tifo display.
Eight minutes later, it was Ninkovic’s turn to split them open, and again it was way too easy. His slide-rule pass found Layouni, who held off Joel King’s feeble challenge before prodding the ball past Andrew Redmayne.
Western Sydney seemed happy to sit back from that point, content in the knowledge that they would not be troubled by whatever Sydney offered in attack. It took half an hour before the hosts fired their first shot on target, and it was more hopeful than anything else from Joe Lolley on the narrowest of angles. A series of speculative crosses to no one, unsurprisingly, yielded nothing.
With Max Burgess suspended and Spanish left-back Diego Caballo ineffectual on the wing, Sydney huffed and puffed but only hot air came out. To add injury to insult, James Donachie came off midway through the first half with an apparent hamstring strain. His replacement Jack Rodwell – the former Wanderer – added little in the way of structural integrity at the back.
Nieuwenhof’s goal was the most painful, and not just because Ninkovic provided the assist. Afforded far too much room by Paulo Retre – a midfielder who Corica clearly rated ahead of him – the 22-year-old took a ping from the edge of the box and found the top corner. The Red and Black Bloc exploded in ecstasy, and did so again when Layouni completed his brace. For them, this was the stuff of dreams; for Sydney, a nightmare in every possible sense.
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