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|A. L. Fondre||61'|
Sydney got the bragging rights in the Big Blue derby again with an ultimately convincing win over Melbourne Victory.
A dull first half was brought to life on the stroke of half time when Ola Toivonen nicked in at the back post to flash a header past Andrew Redmayne to open the scoring for the away side, but that was to be as good as it got for them.
Sydney dominated the second half and found the goals they required. Adam Le Fondre scored a quintessential striker’s goal, latching onto Alex Wilkinson’s header from a corner to turn it into the net.
The momentum was all with Sydney at this stage and the winner soon followed. It was that man Kosta Barbarouses, formerly of Victory, who just had to score this evening against his old team.
Rhyan Grant delicately chested the ball to the forward and his header fortunately came back off the bar directly to his feet where an easy tap in awaited.
Victory never looked like finding an equaliser afterwards, fading badly. Toivonen aside, major issues are present for Marco Kurz to try and eradicate.
There was a complete disconnect between the midfield and forwards with the captain often having to drop deeper to make things happen himself.
Robbie Kruse returned off the subsitute’s bench and his experience will be vital moving through the rounds once he gets fully match fit.
The international calendar, it must be noted, also depleted the Victory squad, a convenient excuse – but their poor form remains.
They find themselves eighth in the standings, closer to the foot of the table than the top. Victory are on their travels next weekend again, this time to Adelaide United, and anything but a win may have Kurz in deep trouble.
As for Sydney, this win brings them up to second, one point behind leaders Melbourne City but with a game in hand.
Steve Corica will be very pleased with how his players recovered in this game, showcasing excellent mentality, something they’ll need if they’re to challenge for the title again.
Perth Glory await next weekend with Sydney surely being confident in their ability to win their third game in a row.
Sydney FC 2
Melbourne Victory 1
In a controversial game, Sydney FC take on Melbourne Victory in the Big Blue Derby amidst the international football week. Join The Roar this evening for all the live updates and action from 6:30pm AEDT.
For such an important fixture in this A-League season, both sides are woefully depleted.
The international football week means that Melbourne Victory will be without four key individuals this evening; Sydney had actually requested a postponing of the game.
Whatever happens, Sydney will remain above their opponents in the league standings.
They currently occupy fourth on 9 points, 4 points ahead of Victory.
They also have crucial games in hand over the sides above them – a win would take them into second spot.
Victory started the campaign as many people’s pick for the title but have had to watch as their rivals Melbourne City have soared to first.
It’s been a terribly disappointing start and their form will need to improve soon.
The 3-2 loss to new boys Western United did their confidence no favours, leading as they were by two early goals.
An equally guileless home draw followed against Wellington Phoenix in a seemingly winnable tie.
Some of their play hasn’t been bad but Victory are dominating games without turning it into results.
Marco Kurz knows then that anything but a win this evening will spell trouble.
He unfortunately can’t select favourites Storm Roux and Thomas Deng due to the international calendar so a reshuffle will be required in defence.
Robbie Kruse, however, is a welcome arrival back from injury and should find a place in the starting eleven, his experience being invaluable.
Sydney haven’t suffered as much because of the internationals as their opponents and also have Michael Zullo available for selection again.
Sydney FC predicted XI
GK: Andrew Redmayne
LB: Michael Zullo
CB: Alex Wilkinson
CB: Ryan McGowan
RB: Rhyan Grant
CDM: Brandon O’Neil
CDM: Luke Brattan
LAM: Milos Ninkovic
RAM: Alex Baumjohann
ST: Adam Le Fondre
ST: Kosta Barbarouses
Melbourne Victory predicted XI
GK: Lawrence Thomas
LB: Adama Traore
CB: Benjamin Carrigan
CB: James Donachie
RB: Leigh Broxham
LCM: Josh Hope
CDM: Migjen Basha
RCM: Jakob Poulsen
CAM: Kristjan Dobras
ST: Robbie Kruse
ST: Ola Toivonen
On paper this perhaps suits Sydney FC more and win is definitely achievable.
They’ll know the significance a win would bring too.
If Victory can get Kruse and Ola Toivonen working well together, though, they’ll stand every chance of finding some much-needed form.
It will be tight as this fixture often is but Sydney’s superior squad depth should be enough for them to win narrowly.
Remember to join The Roar for all the live updates later from 6:30pm AEDT.