Sydney FC came back from 2-0 down to defeat rivals Western Sydney Wanderers 3-2 in a thrilling Sydney derby at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
The Wanderers were up 2-0 mid-way through the first-half thanks to goals from Mark Bridge and then a comical own-goal from Sydney goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic.
But Corey Gameiro provided the home side some hope with a well-taken goal right before the half-time interval to make it 1-2.
The Sky Blues did not give up and were rewarded through a deflected Sasa Ognenovski effort to level the scores early in the second period.
It went from bad to worse for Wanderers who were reduced to 10-men when Vitor Saba was shown a straight red for a malicious tackle.
The task proved too much for the Wanderers, with Alex Brosque netting what proved to be the winner on 79 minutes.
Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold opted for a similar side to the one that drew with Melbourne City in their season opener last weekend.
Sasa Ognenovski retained his position as centre-back despite a poor performance in their last outing. Meanwhile, Matt Jurman made way for 18-year-old Alex Gersbach while Nick Carle was dropped for the returning Bernie Ibini.
Marc Janko made an early return after receiving a red card while on international duty. And it was Sydney FC who got off to a better start.
Wanderers on the other hand saw Nikolai Topor-Stanley make a return from international duty, while Vitor Saba earned a starting berth which pushed Mark Bridge back out onto the wing.
From the offset, Sydney attempted to place the opposition on the back foot with intricate passing, none of which came to fruition however as the Sky Blues failed to find the target despite numerous chances.
And they paid the price as the Wanderers, who until then had failed to put a sequence of passes together, scored against the run of play on 19 minutes.
Having earlier conceded a corner, Romeo Castelen delivered a cross in from the right flank into the middle of the box and Mark Bridge’s subsequent volley found the back of the net.
There was no reprieve for Sydney FC though as the Wanderers doubled their lead moments later. Poor defending off a corner allowed Topor-Stanley a chance on goal, with his blocked shot finding its way into the back of the net from a Janjetovic fumble.
The game then settled into a period where Sydney FC remained dominant with the ball and the Wanderers found themselves chasing it for much of the half. Bernie Ibini in particular attempted to work the right flank, looking to combine with Sebastian Ryall.
The Sky Blues’ attempts at stretching the defence eventually paid off as Corey Gameiro struck a goal into the bottom right hand corner thanks to intricate play with Alex Brosque, who cut back for the youngster to score.
The second half began akin to the end of the first half as Sydney peppered Ante Covic’s goal. They found an equaliser on 49 minutes as Sasa Ognenovski took a swing at the ball off the corner, his shot managing to pass through a sea of legs and into the back of the net.
Western Sydney’s attempts at re-taking the lead were dealt a huge blow on 69 minutes. Saba’s rash tackle on Antonis after Brendan Hamill was taken off with a hamstring injury saw the Brazilian earn a red card.
Following the dismissal Wanderers coach Popovic made a plethora of changes which saw Castelan and Hamill replaced by Shannon Cole and Kwabena Appiah-Kubi respectively.
Sydney FC eventually sealed in the win the 79th minute. A cross from Corey Gameiro from the left flank found Alex Brosque, whose left-footed shot on the edge of the six yard box found the bottom right corner of the net.
Sydney FC 3 (Gameiro 45+1', Ognenovski 49', Brosque 79')
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Bridge 19', Janjetovic OG 24')
41,213 @ Allianz Stadium