The Sky Blues got off to a brilliant start, with Adam le Fondre firing past Janjetovic on 4 minutes after the keeper saved his first shot. The Englishman showed real strikers instinct to get into the goal scoring position, after Retre's long shot was blocked by a Wanderers defender, but landed to the feet of le Fondre.
The first half was a fairly even battle, with the Sky Blues edging it only just thanks to that goal from le Fondre.
7 minutes into the second half, captain Alex Brosque doubled the lead for the hosts - converting a typical let footed finish across the keeper - after Ninkovic won the ball from a weak Wanderers pass just inside the box. The skipper celebrated his 200th appearance for the Sky Blues in style - and became the first Sydney player to score up the SCG Cove end.
The Wanderers were seemingly handed a lifeline by Roly Bonevacia - with the Curacao-born midfielder striking an effort in after a cross wasn't cleared by Sydney FC. However, the assistant failed to spot an offside player obstructing play in the buildup, and the much maligned Video Assistant Referee pointed it out to Referee Beath, who overturned the goal.
Western Sydney manager Markus Babbel was sent off for his theatrics inside his technical area, which sparked a bit of a resuscitation in the Red and Black. They won corner after corner for the last 30 minutes, but failed to create a single solid effort, bar one header which was cleared as it headed on goal at pace.
In the 94th minute, Oriol Riera thought he had pulled back a consolation game - but this time there was no need for the VAR as the linesman spotted the offside live.
The Sky Blues bagged an important first win of the season, and first win at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
But what did we learn from the Sydney Derby?
1) le Fondre's edge
2) We've missed you, Rhyan
Despite his truly horrendous mullet, we've missed Rhyan Grant. His industrious and lung-busting runs were such a big part of our style of play, and we sorely missed him last season - even with Wilkshire's experience. He makes the needed tackles, is constantly running up and down, and reads the game well. The width he offers the team is so vital. We're lucky to have him back.
3) World in motion
There was a serious swagger to the way Sydney played; the passing, the movement, the incisiveness. O'Neill and Ninkovic had very strong games, with both contributing enormously to the team. Ninkovic, who is closing on 33 years old, looked just as bright as 3 years ago. His anticipation and vision is top notch - very few players in the competition's history have been on his level. O'Neill was typical in his workmanlike performance - even when his passes were not amazing he had the right idea in mind.
4) Setting the ground rules
5) Get on with the football, farken'.
This is just a simple thing - talk about the football, not the refereeing. We just had a highly entertaining game with two very keen teams fighting out in front of just over 30,000 supporters. Focus on the 90, not the controversy.
I think Sydney are in a very good place heading into Wednesday's cup final. The loss of Siem de Jong to a minor hamstring injury is a blow, but I have full faith in whoever is picked.
|Full player ratings|
Final score: Sydney FC (2) def. Western Sydney Wanderers (0)
MOTM: Brandon O'Neill