Western Sydney v Sydney FC | Saturday, February 18, 7.50pm (AEDT), ANZ Stadium, Sydney
The Western Sydney Wanderers will be out to break a long drought in the 15th edition of the Sydney Derby on Saturday night.
Tony Popovic’s men haven’t tasted victory in the derby since the 5th edition of the Sydney Derby on January 11, 2014 when Brendon Santalab (pictured below) netted the game’s one and only goal in the 86th minute at the old Wanderland in Parramatta.
Sydney FC have dominated the past nine derbies winning six while drawing three. Graham Arnold’s men crushed the Wanderers 4-0 at ANZ Stadium in this season’s first derby in October.
Since its inception in 2012-13, the Sydney Derby has created a myriad of flashpoint moments, drama, controversy, thrills and spectacular highlights.
Some of the greatest players in A-League history have carved their names in Sydney Derby folklore including former Sydney captain Alessandro Del Piero and former Japanese fan favourite Shinji Ono.
The bitter rivalry has been volatile and hostile at times, evoking an intense passion at a level you don’t see in a regular A-League match.
Here are five of the most memorable moments in the history of the storied rivalry.
5 - Shane Smeltz’s match-winner (Sydney FC 2 def Western Sydney 1 - January 16, 2016)
The 11th edition of the Sydney derby at Wanderland was headed for a 1-1 draw but Sydney FC’s Shane Smeltz had other ideas.
The A-League journeyman positioned himself in the perfect position as he struck home the match winner after teammate Matt Jurman brought down a cross-field kick.
Smeltz’s last minute stunner was his 10th goal for the Sky Blues and in doing so, he became the first A-League player to score 10 or more goals for four different A-League clubs.
4 - Del Piero draws first blood (Sydney FC 1 def Western Sydney 0 - October 20, 2012)
The Italian maestro was Sydney FC’s conductor during his time at the Sky Blues so it was hardly surprising he’d be the one to score the first goal in the derby’s history.
Del Piero broke a 0-0 deadlock in the first derby in 2012 by weaving his way into the box and depsite being surrounded by Wanderers defenders, he drew a penalty from a young Aaron Mooy.
After the first penalty kick was waved off after a Sky Blues infraction, Del Piero kept his cool on the second attempt after Wanderers keeper Ante Covic parried his shot.
Alert as ever, the former Juventus man latched onto the loose ball and calmly slotted home what turned out to be the one and only goal of the match.
3 - The Cove’s Pitch Invasion (Sydney 3 def Western Sydney 2 - October 18, 2014)
There were extraordinary scenes from the Cove after the Sky Blues’ dramatic comeback from a 2-0 deficit.
After Sydney FC striker Alex Brosque netted the match-winner breaking a 2-2 deadlock, the Cove erupted with celebrations spilling onto the pitch as delirious supporters celebrated with Sydney players.
The derby was played in front of 41,213 fans, a record crowd for the Sydney derby and the highest drawing crowd at Allianz Stadium of any sport that year.
2 - Shinji Ono Magic (Western Sydney 2 def Sydney FC 0, October 26, 2013)
Wanderers fans were treated to some supreme Shinji Ono magic when he carved up Sydney’s defence in the fourth edition of the Sydney derby in 2013.
After setting up the Wanderers’ opening goal with a sublime pass to teammate Lucopo La Rocca, the former Japanese international scored a second on his own with a magic act which Harry Houdini would be proud of.
Ono chipped kicked over Sydney FC defenders Seb Ryall and Tiago Calvaro, before regaining possession and beating Sydney FC keeper Vedran Janjetovic for a classy individual goal.
1 - 7-goal shootout (Sydney FC 4 def Western Sydney 3 - February 28, 2015)
The third of the Sydney derbies in 2014-15 was an old-fashioned shootout jam-packed with goals and pulsating action.
Both sides scored 3 goals apiece with Ante Covic’s own goal gifting the Sky Blues their 4th derby win and their second in four at Wanderland.
Sydney FC’s Marc Janko and Wanderers’ Kerem Bulut each netted braces in the 7-goal shootout.
The Sky Blues led 3-0 before three unanswered goals from the Wanderers tied the game at 3-3.
Sydney FC’s Terry Antonis sealed a 4-3 victory for the 10-man Sky Blues with a strike in the 74th minute.