Late Strike Sinks Sydney FC

A cruel late strike from Brendon Santalab handed Western Sydney Wanderers the spoils after a passionate Sydney derby played in an electric atmosphere.

A cruel late strike from Brendon Santalab handed Western Sydney Wanderers the spoils after a passionate Sydney derby played in an electric atmosphere.

Sydney FC were denied a deserved draw when their former player latched onto a deflected cross to control and shoot low under the body of a diving Vedran Janjetovic.

The travelling army of Sky Blue fans could have gone home with the bragging rights had efforts from Terry McFlynn and Ali Abbas in the second half not been denied by the Wanderers keeper Covic.

Sydney FC coach Frank Farina was forced into three changes from the side which started the 2-2 draw in Adelaide. Brett Emerton, Matt Thompson and Terry McFlynn all came into the midfield to replace the injured Richard Garcia, the suspended Nick Carle and Hagi Gligor who is on international duty.

The Sky Blues began the game in the more positive manner but it was Wanderers who had the first real chance on goal. On seven minutes Juric struck an effort from around 25 yards which Janjetovic tipped onto the post and behind for a corner which came to nothing.

With 16 minutes gone Petkovic strode out of defence and played a perfect pass into the path of Del Piero. The Italian took it in his stride, shimmied to create space between two defenders, and hit a deflected shot which Covic was able to gather at the second attempt.

Western Sydney Wanderers hit the woodwork for a second time in the 35th minute when Bridge turned inside Bojic and struck a shot across Janjetovic which grazed the lower part of the post and went out for a goal kick.

The moment of the first half came in the 41st minute when Hersi attempted an audacious shot from the edge of the centre circle. The effort bounced off the underside of the crossbar and came out to Juric who was following up. The young striker took the ball on his chest, surged towards goal and hit a shot from eight yards which somehow cannoned off the crossbar again and away to safety, with only Janjetovic to beat.

Corey Gameiro entered the game for the Sky Blues at the expense of Brett Emerton six minutes into the second half and almost had an immediate impact. The Young Socceroo received the ball from just inside the left edge of the penalty box and dinked a curling shot just past Covic-s post.

Five minutes later Sydney FC came ever closer to scoring when Del Piero nudged the ball to McFlynn on the edge of the box. The midfielder struck a low shot which went through the hands of Covic, bounced off his shoulder, onto the post and behind for a corner.

A short corner was taken and Del Piero surged into the box blasting the ball at a pile of bodies but the Wanderers were able to clear inside the six yard box.

Sydney FC began to dominate possession and territory but the Wanderers still looked a threat on the break and Marc Warren had to be alert to block a goal bound shot from Santalab.

18-year old Dylan Caton replaced Alessandro Del Piero in the 80th minute to make his Sydney FC and Hyundai A-League debut and the youngster was almost instrumental in setting up a goal. Neat play between himself and Naumoff in midfield saw the latter feed Abbas the ball. The Iraqi moved on goal and struck a powerful left foot shot towards the top corner which Covic dived to pluck from the air.

The miss was to prove costly with the Wanderers taking the lead with five minutes to go. Hersi-s cross from the Wanderers right took a slight deflection to find Santalab unmarked at the back post, and the former Sky Blue had time to control and finish beneath Janjetovic to break Sydney FC hearts.

The Sky Blues now head into another derby against the Central Coast Mariners next Saturday at Allianz Stadium.

Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Santalab 85-) d. Sydney FC 0

Pirtek Stadium

Referee: Jarred Gillett

Attendance: 18,080.

SYDNEY FC: 20. Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK), 3. Marc WARREN, 4. Ranko DESPOTOVIC, 5. Matt JURMAN, 6. Nikola PETKOVIC, 7. Brett EMERTON (9. Corey GAMEIRO 51-), 8. Pedj BOJIC, 10. Alessandro DEL PIERO © (35. Dylan CATON 80-), 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 22. Ali ABBAS, 28. Matt THOMPSON (27. Christopher NAUMOFF 67-).

Substitute not used: 1 Ivan NECEVSKI, 2. Seb RYALL.

Yellow Cards: 5. Matt JURMAN 30-, 22. Ali ABBAS 80-, 9. Corey GAMEIRO 88-, 15. Terry MCFLYNN 90-+4-

WEST SYDNEY WANDERERS: 1. Ante COVIC, 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY ©, 9. Tom JURIC (11. Brendon SANTALAB 58-), 10. Aaron MOOY, 13. Matt SPIRANOVIC, 17. Youssouf HERSI, 18. Iacopo LA ROCCA (23. Jason TRIFIRO 43-), 19. Mark BRIDGE, 21. Shinji ONO (12. Tahj MINNIECON 89-), 32. Daniel ALESSI.

Substitutes not used: 20. Jerrad TYSON, 22. Dean HEFFERNAN,

Yellow Cards: 3. Adam D-APUZZO 71-

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