Boasting seven wins in a row in the #BigBlue, Sydney FC head into Saturday’s Hyundai A-League Semi-Final encounter at Allianz Stadium full of confidence.
Going two whole seasons without defeat against one of their oldest rivals, and earning silverware along the way, the Sky Blues’ carry the mental edge heading into this latest crunch, must win encounter.
Here we look back at our past seven victories.
November 5, 2016. Round 5. Sydney FC 2 – 1 Melbourne:
Sydney FC moved five points clear at the top of the Hyundai A-League with a fifth consecutive league win, and a ninth in all competitions, after defeating Melbourne Victory 2-1 in front of close to 20,000 fans at Allianz Stadium.
Sky Blues substitute David Carney made the difference scoring twice following his second half introduction, after Mitch Austin had given the visitors a half time 1-0 lead.
The victory maintained the Sky Blues' 100 per cent record in all competitions.
Head Coach Graham Arnold’s reaction: “It was a fantastic comeback. I felt that in the second half we did exceptionally well, played very well and it was probably one of the best victories we’ve had since I’ve been at the club.”
January 26, 2017. Round 17. Melbourne 1 – 2 Sydney FC:
Sydney FC came from behind to deservedly move an incredible 11 points clear at the top of the Hyundai A-League and stretch their unbeaten run to an immense 17 games since the start of the 2016/17 season with a win in the Australia Day #BigBlue at Etihad Stadium.
Filip Holosko’s first half header cancelled out James Troisi’s opener for the second placed Melbourne before Bernie Ibini scored a stunning second half winner.
Hosts Melbourne were reduced to ten men after James Donachie was sent off following a reckless challenge on Alex Brosque, as the striker looked to increase the Sky Blues lead.
Head Coach Graham Arnold’s reaction: “It was a difficult pitch to play on, it was bouncy, it was quick and what we had to do is match the fight with Melbourne. We did that and got the result.
“It was a good fighting performance, it was a fantastic result so to go away with the three points was good.”
March 3, 2017. Round 22. Sydney FC 1 – 0 Melbourne:
Sydney FC moved within touching distance of the Hyundai A-League Premiers Plate after a 1-0 win over Melbourne took them eleven points clear at the top of the ladder.
Graham Arnold’s men produced a host of chances against second placed Melbourne and took a deserved lead five minutes after half time as Bobô rounded off a clinical counter-attack.
That goal proved enough, however the score-line could have been a lot bigger with the Sky Blues creating many more opportunities on their way to completing a clean sweep of wins over their arch-rivals in the 2016/17 regular season – the first time either team has managed three wins against the other in 12 years of the A-League.
Head Coach Graham Arnold’s reaction: “I thought we started a little bit slow, both teams took some time to get used to the pitch. At the end of the day, I thought second half was our best performance of the season.
“We totally dominated Melbourne, we didn't give them any time on the ball and the boys did well. We just kept the ball better, we got used to the surface better. Initially it was a bit of a dogfight in midfield.
“I thought we were very good. Once you get your creative players Ninkovic, Brosque and Bobô on the ball in that kind of form, it was pleasing to see.”
May 7, 2017. The Grand Final. Sydney FC 1 – 1 Melbourne (Sydney FC win 4-2 on penalties):
Sydney FC were crowned 2017 Hyundai A-League Champions after defeating Melbourne Victory 4-2 on penalties in front of a boisterous home crowd at Allianz Stadium.
In what was a tense and turbulent first half, it was the visitors who drew first blood after Besart Berisha capped off a brilliant move from Marco Rojas with an even better finish from the edge of the box.
But while Kevin Muscat’s men sat back in a bid to preserve their slim advantage, the Premiers pressed and found their breakthrough midway through the second half as Rhyan Grant pounced to tap the ball home after Carney’s initial shot was saved onto the base of the post.
With the scores level at 1-1 and regulation time failing to separate these two rivals, extra time ensued in similar fashion as neither side could produce the telling moment.
That moment however was reserved for Milos Ninkovic. With the same poise and precision he’s shown for much of the season, the reigning Johnny Warren Medal winner stepped up to slot the decisive penalty home in front of The Cove.
October 7, 2017. Round 1. Melbourne 0 – 1 Sydney FC:
Sydney FC defeated Melbourne for a fifth consecutive time after a tightly contested battle between the two 2017 grand finalists in round one of season 2017/18.
The Sky Blues maintained the lion share of possession in the first half with the best chance falling to Polish international Adrian Mierzejewski midway through the half.
In a scintillating spell of dominance after the break Sydney FC created a number of chances and the pressure finally told when Deng put through his own net after great work from Luke Wilkshire.
Resolute defending ensured that a late onslaught from Melbourne was to no avail with both Buijs and Retre making vital stops late in the piece.
Head Coach Graham Arnold’s reaction: “I thought we were at about 30% of our capabilities.
“We had three new players at the back and it’s took them time to gel but defensively we were outstanding, overall it was a good grinding performance.”
January 26, 2018. Round 18. Melbourne 1 – 3 Sydney FC:
Sydney FC moved gone nine points clear at the top of the Hyundai A-League table following a 3-1 win in the Big Blue against Melbourne at AAMI Park in round 18.
It was the home side that took the lead from the penalty spot with Berisha finding the net after Brillante’s foul on Ingham.
The celebrations were short lived as the Sky Blues found an equaliser immediately following the opener as Bobô finished off a swift attack with a well-placed header.
Adding a second after being brought down in the box, the Brazilian broke the record for most goals by a Sydney FC player in a season. Carney rounded out the victory after calmly slotting home his one on one chance.
Head Coach Graham Arnold’s reaction: “The boys are in fantastic shape and I believe we are the fittest team in the country and that we run over teams in the second half.”
April 13, 2018. Round 27. Sydney FC 1 – 0 Melbourne:
Sydney FC lifted their second successive Premiers Plate in style after beating arch rival Melbourne 1-0 at ‘The Fortress’.
The Sky Blues scored the lone goal of the game early in proceedings courtesy of Bobô. The Golden Boot leader’s 27th goal of the season was also the Sydney FC ‘s 64th, setting a new Hyundai A-League record for most goals by a club in a regular season.
The best chance of the second half fell to the opposition with Wilkinson providing goal line clearance from George to ensure Big Blue bragging rights.
Head Coach Graham Arnold’s reaction: “When a team plays well and can’t beat us, it’s a great sign.
“If you look at the stats, everyone said we couldn’t do what we did last year. Last year we got 66 points, this year it’s 64 but we’ve also scored more goals. No ones gone back to back in 24 years. We’ve done a great job.
“The boys just know how to win. Even if we’re not having great moments, defending is the key and controlling the ball and we do both very well.”