A-League Men LIVE: More than just bragging rights on line in crunch Sydney derby

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A-League Men LIVE: More than just bragging rights on line in crunch Sydney derby


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The Wanderers have barely had a sniff – just three shots so far in the match, the latest an overblown header that’s gone over the bar – and it’s all down to the way Sydney are playing.

Ufuk Talay has his team playing with a really high defensive line, often positioned right up near the halfway line. You might call it Ange Postecoglou-esque. And coupled with some pressing patterns which I’m reliably informed are inspired by the Red Bull football group – brought to the Sky Blues by assistant coach David Zdrillic, who used to work with the juniors at Bundesliga club RB Leipzig – they’ve set a trap that Western Sydney just can’t wriggle free from.

Anyway, five minutes of added time to come.

Wanderers 0-2 Sydney FC

Jack Clisby has just been shown a yellow card for a really dangerous, studs up tackle on Rhyan Grant. I wouldn’t be surprised if the VAR upgrades that to a red… nope, he’ll escape with a caution. I don’t think that was supposed to be as vicious as it looked but you can’t go in there with your foot raised like that.

Only eight minutes plus stoppage time left in this first half, which has absolutely flown by.

Wanderers 0-2 Sydney FC

An attempt at a third goal has just been athletically denied by Wanderers custodian Daniel Margush, who flew in the air and stuck out a hand to keep out a rocket from Joe Lolley that looked destined for the roof of the net.

They’re just hanging on here, the hosts.

We’re through 32 minutes of pretty terrific football.

Wanderers 0-2 Sydney FC

They think they’ve scored. But they haven’t. It’s been ruled out for offside.

Further heartbreak for the Wanderers. I think it was Sonny Kittel who chipped a ball over the top for Brandon Borrello, who latched onto it, scooted away and swept it past Andrew Redmayne.

The crowd – what’s left of it, anyway – goes wild, but the assistant referee has his flag up. It won’t count.

Wanderers 0-2 Sydney FC

I reckon I’ve caught my breath now after that frantic opening – and so have the players, probably, after a lengthy stoppage as Jack Clisby received treatment to repair what appeared to be a cut of some description to his head. I think? Anyway, he’s fine now.

Meanwhile… it appears a large section of the RBB has packed up and left. Literally the middle section of the bays behind their goal are gone – reportedly due to some form of disagreement with police and security over the banner we mentioned earlier, according to someone on Twitter (or X, whatever). But an official here in the press box says there was apparently a scuffle involving a senior RBB member who got ejected, and then urged the rest of the group to leave in solidarity. Hard to tell from my vantage point, obviously.

So now the Wanderers will have to fight back without the backing of their active fans.

We’re 20 minutes down, by the way.

Wanderers 0-2 Sydney FC

There’s part of that banner I mentioned earlier.Credit: Getty

And here’s Rhyan Grant celebrating with the Sydney fans at the other end after his goal.

And here’s Rhyan Grant celebrating with the Sydney fans at the other end after his goal.Credit: Getty

As the rain begins to tumble here at CommBank Stadium, I can exclusively reveal this match has broken records already.

With Rhyan Grant’s third-minute header and Fabio’s sixth-minute penalty, this is the earliest we’ve ever seen two goals scored in a derby.

The previous best, as far as I can tell, was when Bruce Kamau and Mitch Duke scored inside the first 16 minutes of the second derby in the 2020-21 season – the first played in front of an unrestricted crowd after COVID.

So there you go. Glad you’re reading along, aren’t you?

Oh, the scenes!

Max Burgess just galloped into the box, rounded two defenders and shaped to shoot with his preferred left foot – and though it was blocked by Wanderers captain Marcelo, he could clear it only to the top of the box. And there, Corey Hollman flicked it up into the air, where it caught the hand of Lachlan Brook.

That’s a penalty and referee Alex King agrees.

Fabio Gomes steps up to take it… and scores. They’re two up. Not even seven minutes down.

Wow, wow, wow.

Wanderers 0-2 Sydney FC

That didn’t take long.

Wow, what a terrific set piece. Sydney FC just took a corner in the third minute – Joe Lolley played it short and received a wall pass from a teammate, sent the ball into the box and found Rhyan Grant, tonight’s captain, who thumped it in with his head. Terrific work. Daniel Margush, the Wanderers’ keeper, had no chance.

The Sky Blues take an early lead. I told you something was cooking.

Wanderers 0-1 Sydney FC

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