Sydney Derby (A-League)
|Teams||Sydney FC &
Western Sydney Wanderers
|First meeting||20 October 2012|
|Most wins||Sydney FC (6)|
|Top scorer||Kerem Bulut
Alessandro Del Piero
Iacopo La Rocca
Shinji Ono (2)
|Largest victory||Sydney FC 0–2 Western Sydney Wanderers
(15 December 2012)
Sydney FC 0-2 Western Sydney Wanderers
(26 October 2013)
Sydney FC 3–1 Western Sydney
(8 March 2014)
The Sydney Derby is a local soccer derby contested between the Australian A-League's two Sydney-based clubs, Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers. Contested for the first time on 20 October 2012, historical, cultural and sporting factors have resulted in the derby being considered one of Australian soccer's biggest club games and the biggest rivalry in the A-League. Crowd sentiment at derby matches has been said by Alessandro Del Piero to produce atmosphere and emotions similar to those in Europe, while Wanderers player Mateo Poljak stated that the sixth Sydney Derby had an atmosphere that was the best he had experienced as a player.
The competitive nature of the Sydney Derby is largely based upon the historical, cultural and geographical divide between the Greater Western Sydney region (home to Western Sydney Wanderers), and eastern, southern and northern Sydney (home to Sydney FC). The cultural makeup of the two clubs fits into this wider divide. As Sydney FC began their life in the Eastern Suburbs they took on the "Bling FC" moniker, with the ownership intent on building Sydney FC into the "glamour club" of the A-League. When the Wanderers began their supporters quickly began to push the club towards a working class ethic and one that represented local players and the people of western Sydney .
The rivalry between the two clubs also stems from the A-League's establishment. Prior to the introduction of Western Sydney Wanderers in the A-League, the only club to be based in the city was Sydney FC as part of FFA's 'one-city, one-team' policy for the newly established league. This deal gave Sydney FC a five-year city exclusivity, allowing the club grow throughout the region without competition. Though Sydney FC was not fully embraced by the region, as the clubs original intention to play at Parramatta Stadium was later changed by FFA chairman Frank Lowy. Lowy's forcing of the club to move to Sydney Football Stadium left many association football fans in Sydney's west feeling alienated from the club. Sydney FC's exclusion of the western region soon mirrored the pre-existing cultural and social divide of the city.
In 2008, FFA sought to introduce the new western Sydney-based Sydney Rovers into the A-League. This later proved unsuccessful with the club dissolving due to technical and financial reasons. During the time period prior to the disbanding of Sydney Rovers, two matches hosted by Sydney FC were played at Parramatta Stadium. In the first, a pocket of supporters came out bearing banners in support of the new western Sydney team with the Sydney FC active support group The Cove responding by chanting against the support for the new club.
On 4 April 2012, the collapse of Gold Coast United brought about the creation of Western Sydney Wanderers. FFA's decision for the club to be community oriented proved successful with the local western Sydney community soon backing the club, a club they had long called for, one that would represent the western region.
Both Wanderers' and Sydney's fan bases are multi-ethnic, due to the racial diversity in Sydney. The western Sydney region especially is the most multicultural and culturally diverse region in Australia. Sydney fans call themselves "The Cove" - a reference to original name given to the colonial settlement of Sydney - Sydney Cove. Wanderers fans call themselves the "Red and Black Bloc" (RBB) - a reference to the club colours (red and black). Wanderers have also become a source of pride in an area whose residents are often disparaged as "Westie". This is exemplified in the one of the RBB's chants, "These Colours Unite Us All", which celebrates the diversity of the club, its location and its fans. The chant continues, "All the places we're from, in this city we own, we call West Sydney home". Both fan groups actively despise each other, which is why the derby is so important.
The two clubs first met in the 2012–13 A-League season, on 20 October 2012. The match, hosted by Western Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium, was considered to be the most anticipated match of the season. The first ever derby was expected to sell out; the city rivalry alone would 'sell itself'. Western Sydney Wanderers manager Tony Popovic spoke about how the match was "special for the players and coaching staff" and that he considered that the rivalry between the two clubs was already building and would one day be the "biggest rivalry in our game". Alessandro Del Piero scored the only goal of the game, for Sydney FC. After winning a penalty, he was forced to re-take a successful first penalty due to his team encroaching in the penalty area, his second attempt was saved by Ante Covic but Del Piero pounced on the rebound and shot over the head of Covic.
The second Derby took place at the Sydney Football Stadium in front of 26,176 supporters and saw the Wanderers win their first Derby. With Del Piero on the bench due to an injury cloud, the Wanderers began the stronger, and Youssouf Hersi scored the first ever Wanderers goal in a Sydney Derby, after latching onto a knock-down from Joey Gibbs. The Wanderers doubled their lead with 13 minutes to play, as Wanderers captain and ex-Sydney FC player Michael Beauchamp attacked a low drive across the goal-mouth from Shinji Ono, his side-foot shot beating the Sydney FC goalkeeper.
The third Sydney Derby saw Western Sydney Wanderers with the chance to win the A-League premiership in their first ever year. A win would see them lift the trophy at Parramatta Stadium against their rivals. In the 34th minute Nikolai Topor-Stanley produced a calamitous error to gift Del Piero the ball, and the Italian striker opened the scoring. The match also included an astonishing 8 yellow cards and 2 straight red cards. Brett Emerton the Sydney FC captain saw the first straight red card for a lunging feet first challenge on Shannon Cole. Cole then equalised for the Wanderers in the 69th minute. The second red card of the night went to Iacopo La Rocca as the Wanderers searched for a title winning goal, when held back by a Sydney FC player La Rocca lashed out with his elbow. The Wanderers were unable to win the match and the Premiership on the night, securing their Premiership a week later in Newcastle.
The fourth derby match was played in front of a sold-out crowd of over 40,000 people. After attending the match at Sydney Football Stadium, Rugby league journalist Phil Rothfield commented that the match had "proved the round-ball game has not just arrived but is bigger than rugby union and closing in on AFL and NRL." The Wanderers were dominant on the pitch and in the stands, scoring two goals that could easily have been more, while Sydney FC lacked penetration with their attack missing talisman Del Piero.
The fifth took place at Parramatta Stadium, again with a sold-out crowd and once again an ex-Sydney FC player scored for the Wanderers. The Wanderers dominated the match, striking the crossbar and posts on several occasions, including a long-range chip from Hersi that nearly caught Sydney FC keeper Vedran Janjetovic off his line, with the rebound falling to Tomi Juric who smashed his shot into the stands. Brendon Santalab scored the only goal of the match in the 86th minute. After only 5 matches the rivalry has been reported as being "one of the fiercest in Australia", and the Wanderers as having begun a pattern of one-sided dominance, having now won 3 out of the 5 matches, with 1 draw and 1 victory for Sydney FC.
The sixth derby, the final regular season derby for the 2013/14 A-League season took place at the Sydney Football Stadium. The match attracted a sold-out crowd of 40,285. This was 13,003 higher than the 27,282 who attended the National Rugby League's first match of the season between South Sydney & the Sydney Roosters. The crowd witnessed Sydney FC win their first home derby match. After a staid first half with limited highlights, the second half exploded into life as Shinji Ono pounced on a knock down from Brendon Santalab to open the scoring. The Wanderers had the chance to go two goals ahead after Richard Garcia gave away a penalty, but ex-Sydney FC player Mark Bridge had his penalty shot saved by Vedran Janjetovic. Sydney FC then equalised after Ante Covic sliced a clearing punch into the face of Matthew Jurman and saw the ball rebounded into goal. A calamatous error from another ex-Sydney FC player, Michael Beauchamp, saw him gift the ball to Richard Garcia, who tapped past Ante Covic into an open net. Ali Abbas scored a penalty during injury time to make the score 3-1. The game also featured an allegation that Wanderers player Brendon Santalab culturally abused Abbas, who took extreme offence and charged around the pitch, having to be restrained by his team-mates. In a post-game interview Abbas said, "We are not here to attack religion or culture, we are here to play football".
The seventh Sydney derby was played in round two of the 2014–15 A-League season and took place in front of another sold out crowd of 41,213 fans at the Sydney Football Stadium, the highest crowd for any sporting event held at the ground in 2014. Despite Sydney FC having much of the early possession the first goal was scored by former Sydney FC player Mark Bridge in the 19th minute. 5 minutes later Sydney FC keeper Janjetovic attempted to clear the ball but instead he somehow palmed the ball into his own net and sent the wanderers 2-0 up. Seconds before halftime Corey Gameiro scored a goal for Sydney FC to get the score back to 2-1 . After half time Sydney FC created several chances however their second goal came from an own goal scored by Wanderers midfielder Romeo Castelen. With the score level at 2-2 tempers between the two side began to flare. Wanderer Vitor Saba was red carded after a dangerous tackle on Terry Antonis. Now down to ten men, the Wanderers fell behind when Sydney FC captain Alex Brosque scored with just over ten minutes remaining, with what would prove to be the winning goal. A pitch invasion ensued as over a hundred Sydney FC fans ran from The Cove onto the field to celebrate with Brosque, a scene which sports writer Phil Rothfield described as being "as special as it gets."
The eighth Sydney derby was playing on the 29th of November 2014, in the 2014-2015 A-League Season and took place in front of a packed crowd of 19,138 at Pirtek Stadium in Paramatta. The Wanderers started the stronger of the two sides, with both fan groups in full voice. Western Sydney Wanderers had many chances during the first half but only managed to capitalize on one. Tomi Juric pounced onto a loose ball on the box, sidefooting into the bottom left corner. Only 4 minutes later, Sydney FC equalised. The corner came in from a Wanderers player, bounced into the box, some appealing for a handball off Pedj Bojic but appeals were waved away, Bojic cleared the ball and Bernie Ibini chased the ball down, beating a defender to it from his own half. Ibini comfortably picked the ball up and went on a penetrating run, beating two Western Sydney defenders and smashing the ball past Ante Covic, the Western Sydney goalkeeper. In stoppage time at the end of the first half, a superb through pall was played to Mark Bridge who failed to score, forcing a brilliant save from Vedran Janjetovic. Towards the latter end of the second half, Sydney FC had a couple of chances. Shane Smeltz connected well with the ball and produced a volley which was tipped over by Ante Covic. In the final minute of the game, a free kick was awarded to Sydney FC, Marc Janko struck the ball beautifully, only to have it crash off the crossbar. The game ended 1-1, the second ever draw in the history of the fixture.
A-League Regular Season
|Season||#||Date||Rnd||Home team||Score||Away team||Goals (home)||Goals (away)||Venue||Attendancea|
|2012–13||1||20 October 2012||3||Wanderers||0 – 1||Sydney||Del Piero (54)||Parramatta Stadium||19,126|
|2||15 December 2012||11||Sydney||0 – 2||Wanderers||Hersi (24), Beauchamp (77)||Sydney Football Stadium||26,176|
|3||23 March 2013||26||Wanderers||1 – 1||Sydney||Cole (70)||Del Piero (34)||Parramatta Stadium||19,585|
|2013–14||4||26 October 2013||3||Sydney||0 – 2||Wanderers||La Rocca (11), Ono (26)||Sydney Football Stadium||40,388|
|5||11 January 2014||14||Wanderers||1 – 0||Sydney||Santalab (86)||Parramatta Stadium||18,080|
|6||8 March 2014||22||Sydney||3 – 1||Wanderers||Jurman (59), Garcia (75), Abbas (90+3 pen.)||Ono (49)||Sydney Football Stadium||40,285|
|2014–15||7||18 October 2014||2||Sydney||3 – 2||Wanderers||Gameiro (45+1), Ognenovski (49), Brosque (79)||Bridge (19), Janjetovic (24 o.g.)||Sydney Football Stadium||41,213|
|8||29 November 2014||8||Wanderers||1 – 1||Sydney||Tomi Juric (30)||Bernie Ibini-Isei (34)||Parramatta Stadium||19,138|
|9||28 February 2015||19||Wanderers||3 – 4||Sydney||La Rocca (32), Bulut (42, 52)||Covic (9 o.g.), Janko (18, 23), Antonis (74)||Parramatta Stadium||19,484|
|2015–16||10||24 October 2015||3||Sydney||1 – 0||Wanderers||Ninkovic (88)||Sydney Football Stadium||40,539|
|11||16 January 2016||15||Wanderers||1 – 2||Sydney||Vidosic (58)||Faty (22), Smeltz (90)||Parramatta Stadium||19,627|
|12||20 February 2016||20||Sydney||1 – 1||Wanderers||Jamieson (36 o.g.)||Vidošić (13)||Sydney Football Stadium||40,382|
|2016–17||13||8 October 2016||1||Wanderers||Sydney||Stadium Australia|
|14||14 January 2017||15||Sydney||Wanderers||Sydney Football Stadium|
|15||18 February 2017||20||Wanderers||Sydney||Stadium Australia|
a Attendances listed in bold were official sell-outs
All-time top scorers
|1||Alessandro Del Piero||Sydney||2|
|Iacopo La Rocca||Wanderers|
Players in bold are still active at their Sydney club.
All-time goalkeeper clean sheets
Seven players have worn the first team jersey of both Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers. Sometimes through a direct transfer and sometimes after many years. All of the players who have represented both sides have played for Sydney FC prior to their time with the Wanderers. Kerem Bulut did not cap for the first team, though he played for the Sydney FC youth team (2008–2010) before joining Wanderers in 2015. Josh Macdonald did not cap for the first team, though he also played for the Sydney FC youth team (2012–2014) before joining Wanderers in 2015. Wanderers inaugural head coach, Tony Popovic, previously played for Sydney from 2007 to 2008 before his appointed with the Wanderers years later.
- "Sydney FC's 2012/13 draw announced". Sydney FC. Football Federation Australia. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
- References to support the importance of the Derby:
- "A-League draw inspires confidence for the season ahead". theroar.com.au. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Melbourne success is critical to the A-League". Fox Sports. 17 December 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- "Sydney derby has the potential to be one of Asia's best". theroar.com.au. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "In a short space of time, the Sydney derby has fast become the A-League biggest rivalry". foxsports.com.au. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- "A-League R22 review: best Sydney derby yet, Roar push clear at top, Heart finally stopped". dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- References to support the origins of the rivalry:
- "Great Western Divide: how the Wanderers have split Sydney". theroar.com.au. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers fighting cultural battle off the field". dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Sydney: why this city would be better off without its world famous harbour". theguardian.com. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Sydney FC emerging as new league's glamour club". smh.com.au. 27 October 2004. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Simon Hill's Football Journeys: Western Sydney Wanderers goalkeeper Ante Covic". foxsports.com.au. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "NSW 'cut ties' with new club over Lowy". smh.com.au. 12 December 2004. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
- "The underdog bites – the Western Sydney Wanderers story". greenleft.org.au. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
- "Rovers hurtling towards their A-League destiny". smh.com.au. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- References to support section about Gold Coast United:
- "FFA now faces its greatest test". theroar.com.au. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
- "Western Sydney to be unveiled". Australian FourFourTwo. 3 April 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
- "Football Federation Australia confirm that Gold Coast United will not be in 2012-2013 A-League". foxsports.com.au. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- FOOTBALL COMES HOME: The Early Days of Western Sydney Wanderers FC
- "Australia's multicultural hub". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
- "Celebrating Diversity". fairfieldcity.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- "The underdog bites -- the Western Sydney Wanderers story". greenleft.org.au. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
- "Fixture & Results". Football Federation Australia. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
- "Western Sydney handed derby debut". smh.com.au. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- Larkin, Steve (14 October 2012). "Nothing beats magic of first derby day for Popovic". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- "Popovic says Wanderers won't be left wondering in derby". The Australian. 23 March 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- "Western Sydney Wanderers gain revenge on Sydney FC with 2-0 win". dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Stone Cole Stunner Salvages Point After Topor-Stanley Shocker". westsydneyfootball.com. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Monday Buzz: Soccer bigger in Sydney than any other code". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
- "Familiar pain for Sydney FC as Wanderers sneak past". smh.com.au. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Low crowds a concern for NRL". au.sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Wanderers striker Brendon Santalab denies racism allegations from incident in Sydney derby". foxsports.com.au. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC is now the biggest game in town". dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 20 October 2014.