Two goals before the half-hour gave Western Sydney Wanderers all they needed to hold off city rivals Sydney FC 2-0 at the Allianz Stadium in the first Sydney Derby of the new A-League season. The record crowd for a Sydney regular season match, 40,388, was in good form but the visitors' early lead kept the Sky Blue half begging while their red and black counterparts sang long into the night. Shinji Ono assisted on the opener and brilliantly scored the second to give the Wanderers their first win of the season after consecutive draws.
Ono's free kick was nodded in either by Iacopo La Rocca or a Sydney defender in the 11th minute, though the official credit was given to the Wanderers' Italian center back. That cushion allowed the visitors to push heavily for a second and put away their rivals, who have been unable to score at all when Alessandro Del Piero is not on the field. The Sky Blues' Marquee was in his kit but unavailable due to an injury suffered last weekend against Brisbane Roar. Sure enough, Ono scored an impressive second for the Wanderers just fifteen minutes after the opener, providing an insurmountable lead.
Beset by injuries in attack and defense, Sydney are in a bad place at the moment. On the heels of a 0-4 home whitewashing against Brisbane, losing 0-2 to their biggest rivals, again at home, is not close to the start Frank Farina would have wanted for his side. Sydney's over reliance on Del Piero is becoming more evident, though to be fair, when he is on the pitch, the Sky Blues have scored two and allowed zero this season.
Victory in the third week is a bit later than planned for Western Sydney, but a draw at Central Coast in the opener is nothing to ignore. The biggest difference between this week and last, a 1-1 home draw against Wellington Phoenix, was the Wanderers' ability to smash in a second after taking an early lead. Last week there were myriad chances but Wellington held on long enough to snag a second half equalizer. Tony Popovic's squad learned from that experience and this week put Sydney away with a second before half-time. If the premiership holders can be as ruthless against every opponent, it is unlikely Western Sydney will be too far from the top rung of the ladder throughout the season.
The Wanderers next host Adelaide United at Pirtek Stadium in what should be a compelling, attacking-oriented match on Friday night November 1. Sydney will try to get it together in a cross-country trip to Perth against the Glory at the nib Stadium on Saturday November 2.
Video highlights via Fox Sports Australia:
WSW La Rocca (Ono) 11'
WSW Ono 26'
Sydney FC: Janjetovic; Warren, Petkovic, Tiago, Ryall; Abbas, Carle, Grant (Thompson 40'); Mallia (Yau 46'), Garcia, Chianese
Unused subs: Necevski, Jurman, Naumoff
Western Sydney Wanderers: Covic; D'Apuzzo, Topor-Stanley, Beauchamp, Polenz; Poljak, La Rocca; Bridge, Ono (Minniecon 86'), Hersi (Santalab 46'); Juric (Cole 77')
Unused subs: Tyson, Trifiro