A warm Sydney evening saw Bernie Ibini score a stunner to deny the Western Sydney Wanderers from claiming rights in the harbor city.
It was only six weeks ago that these two played out a thriller in which the sky blues fought back from 2-0 down to win in front of an ecstatic home crowd. So there was bound to be feeling in this contest and it didn’t disappoint.
The first few minutes were very much dominated by the red and blacks with an early chance with a Hamill cross going straight across goal. However the early stages were very much marred by two very ugly challenges from La Rocca on Abbas with the second one leaving Abbas in serious pain which was later revealed as a suspected ACL injury.
However after a few minutes, the game resumed. The wanderers continued in their dominance exposing both wide full backs in the process. The next be chance fell to Castelen who was desperately unlucky to be denied by a last ditch goal line clearance by Bojic after a quality build up. Pressure was very much on the visitors as they struggled to get to the attacking third and when they did, they only threatened from set pieces.
However the deadlock was broken in the 30th minute when Juric poked home a finish with the Sydney defense left helpless and exposed in the box. This happened shortly after when Rukavytsya slotted a ball perfectly past Janjetovic only to be denied by the post.
Just like that though the game changed when the Sky Blues struck on the counter attack. Bernie Ibini produced some individual brilliance as he beat two defenders on his way to slotting home a memorable derby goal for right or wrong reasons depending on which side of the city divide you’re on.
The Wanderers however fittingly ended the first period by formulating another few chances with Juric drilling a ball across goal from a tight angle and then La Rocca threading a ball into the path of Mark Bridge who was again spectacularly denied by the sky blues glove man. Somehow, the visitors found themselves level on the scoreboard.
Unlike the first half, the second half felt a lot more contained which was fair enough given the conditions weren’t ideal. The highlight possibly being how both sets of fans acknowledged the minute’s applause for Phillip Hughes.
On the field however it turned into a technical affair with both sides cancelling each other out.
Chances were few and far between with the first being an Antonis long range effort which was comfortably saved by Covic in the 53rd minute. The next chance was a West Sydney corner which went high and wide.
Just before the 70th minute however Bernie Ibini nearly became a Sky blue hero when his goal bound shot was blocked. The resulting corner ended up with a Smeltz volley which was tipped over by Covic.
Perhaps the best chance for the wanderers came when Shannon Cole went seemingly through with his first touch letting him down. However that was before another Rukavytsya shot surprised Janjetovic who panicked and tipped it over the bar.
There was to be one more chance for a side to win the derby with Janko hitting the bar from a free kick. However the game seemed destined for much of the second period to end with the points shared.
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Juric 30′) drew with Sydney Fc 1 (Ibini 34′)