It’s the game that unites Sydney – you’re either sky blue or red and black. It’s Derby Day in Sydney and as always, expect fireworks and incredible passion on and off the park this Saturday night.
Saturday, 18 October 2014
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 7:30 PM (Local) (7:30 PM AEDT)
Referee Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referee Sarah Ho
Assistant Referee Leigh Pigram
Fourth Official Stephen Lucas
TV Broadcast Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 1HD & 1 from 7.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand) Radio Broadcast Grandstand Digital, ABC Grandstand Online/A-League Live Mobile phone app.2GLF
Sydney FC 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (GK), 2.Sebastian RYALL, 3. Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 4.Pedj BOJIC, 5.Matthew JURMAN, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 7.Corey GAMEIRO, 8. Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bernie IBINI, 14. Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 17.Terry ANTONIS, 18.Peter TRIANTIS, 19.Nick CARLE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK), 21.Mark JANKO, 22.Ali ABBAS.
**two to be omitted**
Ins 9.Shane SMELTZ (return from injury), 11.Bernie IBINI (return from international duty), 21.Mark JANKO (return from international duty), 22.Ali ABBAS (return from international duty).
Outs 28. Max BURGESS, 29. George BLACKWOOD (Return to NYL) Unavailable 23. Rhyan GRANT (knee – indefinite)
Western Sydney Wanderers 1.Ante COVIC (GK), 2.Shannon COLE, 3.Daniel MULLEN, 4.Nikolai Topor-Stanley (c), 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Antony GOLEC, 7.Labinot HALITI, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 10.Vitor SABA, 11.Tomi JURIC, 22.Brendon SANTALAB, 14.Kwabena APPIAH, 17.Romeo CASTELEN, 18.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (GK), 23.Jason TRIFIRO, 31.Alusine FOFANAH **two to be omitted**
Ins 11.Tomi JURIC (returns from groin injury), 4.Nikolai Topor-Stanley (returns from national team duty) Outs Nil Unavailable 34.Golgol MUBRAHTU (knee – indefinite), 13.Matthew SPIRANOVIC (ankle – 2 weeks), 12.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA (awaiting ITC)
It might be just over two years old but the rivalry between these two clubs is already developing into one of the fiercest – if not the fiercest – in the Hyundai A-League.
After injury and international duty decimated the Sydney squad for the season-opener, they look much stronger for this clash.
Marquee man and Austrian skipper Marc Janko returned early (due to a red card for his country last week) and will bolster the attack along with Shane Smeltz, while Bernie Ibini and Ali Abbas are in the squad and could play some part if they pull up okay after returning from international duty on Thursday.
The Wanderers were uncharacteristically leaky at the back last weekend but are boosted by the return of skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley from Socceroos duty.
The big question will be whether coach Tony Popovic decides to rush him straight back after his long trip home from Doha, especially with the ACL final first leg next weekend.
Despite their defensive woes in round 1, there were some encouraging signs going forward which will please the Wanderers boss, with Vitor Saba looking stronger every week, while gun striker Tomi Juric returns from a groin problem.
The derby has come too soon for new signing Nikita Rukavytsya though, who is still awaiting an international clearance.
OPTA DATA STATS
-Sydney FC are traditional strong finishers – or slow starters – in games with 13 of the Sky Blues last 18 regular season A-League goals (72%) coming in the second half of matches.
-Sydney FC have scored only one first half goal in their previous six A-League games against Western Sydney Wanderers.
-Mark Bridge completed all 16 of his passes in the Wanderers’ opening weekend defeat to Melbourne Victory. It was the most passes by a player to achieve a 100 percent passing accuracy in round 1.
ROUTE TO GOAL
After struggling to create many chances last weekend, Sydney FC’s strike-force will be beefed-up this week by the return of a few of their big guns. And they will relish having a go at a Wanderers defence which could be lacking some confidence after their crushing opening round defeat.
It’s in the middle of the park where most of these big games are decided and the battle between the Sky Blues pairing Terry Antonis and Milos Dimitrijevic up against Iacopo La Rocca and Mateo Poljak will be vital to provide the base to start their team’s attack. The head-to-head battle between coaches Graham Arnold and Tony Popovic is another fascinating sub-plot to this encounter.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Corey Gameiro. The in-form youngster carried his stunning pre-season form into the start of the season with a goal against Melbourne City even Spanish superstar David Villa would have been proud.
Despite having some incredible striking talent on their books, Gameiro must be the first name on the team-sheet these days given his form and his blistering pace could cause the Wanderers plenty of problems on Saturday night.
The Sky Blues showed their strength in depth and ability to grind out a result, drawing 1-1 with Melbourne City last week despite being without a host of stars. It’s the type of game the club would have lost in recent seasons but they already look a more resolute outfit under Graham Arnold.
It was an opening weekend to forget for the Wanderers, crushed 4-1 by Melbourne Victory for the club’s heaviest ever defeat. Popovic won’t tolerate a repeat performance so expect them to hit back…and hard.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Wanderers have lost their last two Hyundai A-League games in a row (including last season’s grand final). They’ve never lost three in a row in their A-League history.
Sydney FC 1-1 Western Sydney Wanderers FC Allianz Stadium will be rocking with a record crowd expected in what is becoming a huge local rivalry between these clubs. The Wanderers AFC Asian Champions exploits has captured the imagination of the Australian public but Sydney FC have been quick to declare they are still the biggest club in town. This is a chance to show who is top dog in Sydney.
Tony Popovic’s side have a good record at Allianz, winning two out of three matches there against Sydney FC and they will again have huge support from the RBB. It will be a cracking contest and one where neither side will give much away so a draw appears the most likely result.