'Our best performance': Ninkovic still cannot believe Sydney's first derby defeat to Wanderers

Milos Ninkovic cannot recall another game in his career like last October's Sydney derby defeat to Western Sydney Wanderers. 

The Wanderers broke a 980-day derby drought by barely hanging on to a 1-0 win after a relentless barrage of pressure by the reigning Champions in the season's first cross-town fixture, and the first-ever at a sold-out Bankwest Stadium.

Steve Corica's side out-shot the Red and Black 21-10 and Ninkovic was one of two Sydney players denied by the post as the Sky Blues lost their first derby since February 2017.

Months on from that incredible night in Western Sydney, Ninkovic still cannot believe that his side did not emerge victorious.

Moreover, the Serbian playmaker is convinced that performance was 'Sydney's best with the ball' throughout 2019/20.

"Even in my career, I can't remember that I've had this kind of game," he told a-league.com.au

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"It probably happens once in five years. But that's football and now it's a new game, a new opportunity for us and hopefully we can win.

"I think so far that was the best performance, that's my opinion.

"But look, even the last game [1-0 win over Brisbane Roar] we didn't play well but we won the game and that's a good sign."

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Saturday's derby (5.00pm AEDT kick off) will be the first played at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah. 

The Sky Blues are undefeated in their last eight home matches against the Wanderers and their only defeat from their last 17 Hyundai A-League games was that infamous derby defeat in Round 3. 

While it is fair to say Corica's men have kicked on from that 1-0 reverse in the 23rd Sydney derby, it could be argued that that triumph in October was the highest point of the Wanderers' campaign.

That was the Red and Black's third consecutive win to start the campaign, one which saw Markus Babbel's side climb three points clear atop the ladder. 

The team have won just two of their last 12 fixtures since, a dreadful run of form which resulted in Babbel's sacking last month.

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Ninkovic - 'I think so far that was the best performance, that's my opinion'

It is a slide that Ninkovic did not see coming. 

"I've been surprised a little bit because they have a very good squad, very good players," Ninkovic added.

"And this game isn't going to be easy because the derby is a different game and we need to be focused 100% and to play like we played last time against them. 

"But except for the result! This time we're going to win."

Barbarouses wary of Red and Black tide turning

Kosta Barbarouses believes Sydney must not take the Wanderers lightly following their 3-1 win over Central Coast Mariners last Sunday. 

That win relieved pressure on the embattled Wanderers who will undoubtedly be preparing to throw everything on the line as they attempt back-to-back derby wins for only the second time in the club's history. 

Barbarouses is wary that the Red and Black will enter the fixture with a new lease of life. 

"I've said a few times this year that we're coming up against teams who have not had a good patch of form and that's what makes them dangerous," he said.

"They've had a win on the weekend and their tails might be up now so we have to be wary of them, they're going to be hungry and desperate too to get another one over us."

PREVIEW: Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers

Round 18

Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday, 8 February 
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick off: 5.00pm AEDT

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