The Roar
The Roar


'I take full responsibility': Rudan can't blame refs this time after Wanderers embarrassed in derby demolition

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2nd March, 2024

Western Sydney coach Marko Rudan will shoulder the blame for his side’s disappointing 4-1 loss to cross-city rivals Sydney FC.

In his first match back since serving a two-game ban for his explosive comments on referees, the Wanderers were monstered by a rampant Sky Blues unit from the first whistle at CommBank Stadium on Saturday.

Down two goals in the opening seven minutes of the derby, the men in red and black could not fight their way back into the game.

“I’ll take full responsibility for tonight,” Rudan said after the match.

“It’s my team – the way I prepared them, the team that I put out there, how we wanted to play and win tonight. It’s on me.

“We spoke about it all week. We have to match the intensity and the fight, making sure that we’re mentally prepared for it.

“We didn’t show up and we lost the game in the first two minutes of both halves.”


Stand-in Sydney captain Rhyan Grant lit up the stadium in the third minute of their wet-weather skirmish with an electric header followed by a Fabio Gomes goal from the penalty spot.

Sydney’s Slovakian import Robert Mak then put the game to bed in the 50th minute by making the most of a poor pass to Wanderers winger Lachlan Brook before Gomes notched his brace nine minutes later.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 02: Ryan Grant of Sydney FC scores a goal during the A-League Men round 19 match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC at CommBank Stadium, on March 02, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Ryan Grant scores at CommBank Stadium. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Though Rudan admits his role in the defeat, he still expressed disappointment over the lack of character his team displayed on the field.

“Every coach will tell you this, I can’t coach that,” Rudan said. “I can’t coach what’s inside of somebody, how big their heart is, how much they want to win a ball, how much they want to get back, how much they want to make a forward run.

“There was not much that I could say to them. Sometimes you have to harness the energy and the anxiety throughout the week.


“They’re on socials, they read things, they hear things – they knew there was going to be a good atmosphere tonight, so that’s disappointing. They know themselves the effort that was lacking tonight. I don’t have to tell them anything.”

Sydney may have been without influential skipper Luke Brattan on Saturday, but it mattered little for Ufuk Talay’s men, who are now undefeated in seven games.

And as if boasting bragging rights wasn’t enough, the Sky Blues have also leapfrogged their cross-city rivals into fifth spot on the table.

Stand-in captain Rhyan Grant lit up the stadium in the third minute of their wet-weather skirmish with an electric header following Joe Lolley’s corner.

Before the Wanderers could regroup, Sydney doubled their lead four minutes later thanks to a handball by Nicolas Milanovic in the penalty area.

Fabio Gomes took the penalty and found the back of the net, bamboozling Western Sydney goalkeeper Daniel Margush with a staggered run-up.


“The two early goals really hurt their spirits,” Talay said.

“This is the way we want to play.

“We want to be the protagonist and make sure we’re defending forward, and if we’re going to fall over, we’re going to fall forward.”

Playing in front of an empty stand after their supporters walked out in the opening 20 minutes, a bad pass to Lachlan Brook made Rudan’s frustration worse.

Young defensive midfielder Corey Hollman was able to steal the ball in their attacking half, allowing Robert Mak to put the game to bed.

The Slovakian launched it home in the 50th minute and made a bee-line to the Wanderers’ fans for a self-indulgent gloat.


Not yet done adding more salt to the wound, another poor pass by Thomas Beadling to Margush gave Sydney a goal to spare.

Under pressure, Beadling’s ball deflected off Margush’s boot to land at the feet of Gomes and gift the Brazillian a brace in the 59th minute.

Gomes could have made it 3-0 for Sydney in the first half after another faulty kick to Jorrit Hendrix from Margush in front of goal, but the keeper managed to redeem himself.

Zachary Sapsford pulled one back for the Wanderers at 72 minutes, and while it may not have salvaged points, the consolation goal did deny their foes a clean sheet.

Even sweeter for Western Sydney was that it was registered as an own goal to Jake Girdwood-Reich.

“It’s just one of those games,” Rudan said.


“It’s about regrouping. One game is not going to define our season.”