'Wednesday took a lot out of them' - Corica admits intense week caught up with Sydney FC

Steve Corica believes Sydney FC’s midweek Asian Champions League exertions may have cost his team victory in the Sydney derby.

The Sky Blues made a dream start at ANZ Stadium when Alex Brosque fired the Hyundai A-League title contenders into a seventh minute lead, but Alex Baumjohann’s deflected free-kick on 57 minutes earned Western Sydney Wanderers a share of the points.

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Corica’s men led three times during a breathtaking 3-3 draw with Chinese champions Shanghai SIPG on Wednesday night at Jubilee Oval, as the 2017-18 Hyundai A-League Premiers continue to battle on domestic and continental fronts.

The draw in the derby has opened up the opportunity for Perth Glory to clinch the Premier’s Plate on Sunday evening if Tony Popovic’s men beat the Newcastle Jets, and Corica admits his frustration that Sydney could not pile more pressure on their title rivals.

“The boys kept going,” said Corica. 

“They wanted to win by more and that was the message at half-time. We wanted to carry on, get the second goal and even get the third goal.

“It happens in football, a deflection and it goes in, but other than that, I think they played well. 

“I think Wednesday took a lot out of them, mentally as well, leading three times and them coming back and then again tonight.  

“But they showed good character, you see Rhyan Grant in the dying minutes, he was still getting forward and trying to win us the game. Great energy from the boys, great effort.”

Wanderers head coach Markus Babbel revealed he anticipated their cross-city rivals may run out of steam in the second half.

He said: “[At half-time] I explained after the Wednesday game maybe they lose a bit of power.

“Maybe they are not so aggressive like in the first half.

“I’m very proud about my team because they put a lot of energy in the game. They deserved the point, even deserved a bit more.

“This is the problem. If you play against a side like Sydney, you do not get 100 chances.

“I think we had a lot but we only could score one goal and normally it is not enough.”