Duke creates Sydney Derby history in sold-out Bankwest Stadium
Mitchell Duke wrote his name into Western Sydney Wanderers folklore by scoring the winning goal in an epic, first Sydney Derby at a sold-out Bankwest Stadium.
Wanderers captain Duke, born some 20km down the road in Liverpool, landed the decisive blow as the home side barely survived a barrage of relentless attacking from the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Champions.
With an electric atmosphere among the 28,519 supporters in the stands, the 23rd Sydney Derby burst into life when Sky Blues talisman Milos Ninkovic’s deft flick cannoned back off the Western Sydney crossbar on 13 minutes.
Duke made Sydney FC pay with a thumping header from Daniel Georgevski’s 19th-minute delivery following a Paulo Retre error, as tempers flared between Nick Sullivan and Ryan McGowan, with both receiving yellow cards.
Ex-Wanderer Alex Baumjohann fired off target, Ninkovic forced a strong save from Daniel Lopar and Kosta Barbarouses slammed a golden chance wide as the Sky Blues stacked on the pressure before half-time.
The boil-overs continued after the interval as Barbarouses glanced a 51st-minute header off the post. Steve Corica protested the ball was over the line while VAR confirmed the entire ball did not cross.
Lopar denied Barbarouses at close range as Sydney FC piled forward but Wanderers battled through to seal their first derby win since February 2017, 980 days ago, and go three points clear at the top of the Hyundai A-League.
Ninkovic rattles the crossbar as Sydney aim to crash the party
Western Sydney’s chanting has been relentless since before kick-off but the Red and Black faithful were almost silenced by Sydney FC marquee Milos Ninkovic on 13 minutes.
The Serbian playmaker ghosted in behind the Wanderers backline, collected a pass from Brandon O’Neill and executed a deft touch over the onrushing gloveman Daniel Lopar.
The crossbar came to the rescue as the ball bounced back into the Swiss keeper’s waiting arms. An inch lower down and the Sky Blues would be celebrating in front of this intense home support.
Duke’s thumping header punishes Retre’s error
Just when you thought Bankwest Stadium could not get any louder!
A mistimed flick from Paulo Retre allows Daniel Georgevski to stampede in behind the Sydney FC backline.
A pin-point cross from the right-back picks out the run of Wanderers captain Mitchell Duke. The local boy powers his header into the top corner and Bankwest Stadium explodes!
Ninkovic denied, Barbarouses misses the target
It's fair to say Western Sydney Wanderers are hanging on by the skin of their teeth at half-time.
Daniel Lopar stood up strong to deny Milos Ninkovic as the Sydney FC star was driven to a difficult angle but, when the ball found its way to Barbarouses, it seemed set for 1-1.
Somehow, the New Zealander could not pick out the corner of the Wanderers net and Markus Babbel and his charges live to fight another day.
Sydney FC up in arms!
It’s carnage in Bankwest Stadium!
Kosta Barbarouses’ header cannons back off the woodwork and lands in the waiting arms of Daniel Lopar, but Sydney FC believe it is a goal!
Ryan Grant and Pirmin Schwegler are going at it as tempers boil over, while Steve Corica is on the touch line going ballistic. It looks like a goal, it's not given.