‘I know the truth’ - Snakes fly but Barbarouses accepts role as Big Blue villain
Kosta Barbarouses says he is happy to play the part of Big Blue villain after silencing Melbourne Victory fans with a goal on his return to AAMI Park on Friday.
Sydney FC striker Barbarouses fuelled the flames of the Victory-Sydney rivalry by signing for the Sky Blues in June and remarked at the time that penning his allegiance to the Harbour City club was ‘a really easy decision’.
On Friday, the New Zealand international scored a crucial second goal to help Steve Corica's side defeat the Navy Blue 3-0, secure an 11th match unbeaten and stretch their lead of the Hyundai A-League to 11 points.
In November's Round 6 clash between the two old rivals, Barbarouses notched a 68th minute match-winner to plunge a dagger to the hearts of Victory fans and etch his name into Big Blue folklore.
That reputation will only grow more resonant with fans of both clubs after the forward's action-packed return to the side he helped win a Premiership, two Championships and an FFA Cup.
Jeered with every touch and booed loudly upon his 80th minute substitution for Luke Ivanovic, Victory fans who wanted to make their feelings known to Barbarouses also threw rubber snakes at the Kiwi flyer.
But the 29-year-old coolly shrugged off what was at best an icy return to an arena where he was once adored by fans in Navy Blue.
“It was always going to happen,” Barbarouses told FOX Sports of his reception in a post-match interview. “You need to rise above it.”
The Kiwi international also suggested that his Victory homecoming would have been less hostile had fans known the inner workings behind his departure from the four-time Champions of Australia.
“People are always going to be upset but at the end of the day I know the truth behind what's happened and my reasons for coming here,“ he added.
“So if everyone knew what goes on I don't think they'd be so upset.
“Life goes on I'd be happy to be the bad guy but I'm really happy with where I am.“
Friday's effort was Barbarouses' seventh goal in Sydney colours and with five assists also to his name in 2019/20. As the Sky Blues charge their way towards the Premiers Plate, the Wellington-born attacker has already proven his worth.
“It’s an emotional day for him coming back here,” said Sydney boss Corica.
“He represented this club with pride but now he’s doing a fantastic job and got a goal, so I’m very pleased.
“I’m very happy to keep a clean sheet and score three goals as well,” Corica added.
“[I’m] a little bit disappointed with Alex [Baumjohann] getting the red card because we’ve got a lot of games coming up now with the Champions League starting very soon.”
Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar
Friday, 31 January 2020
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick off: 6.30pm AEDT
Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory
Saturday, 1 February 2020
Kick off: 6.45pm local, 9.45pm AEDT