Wanderers claim derby triumph
Frank Farina has tasted defeat for the first time as Sydney FC coach with the Western Sydney Wanderers taking out the Harbour City derby with a 2-0 win at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
The Wanderers were the better side for much of the match and thoroughly deserved their victory, which came via goals from winger Youssouf Hersi and former Sky Blues defender Michael Beauchamp.
And it was only some desperate Sydney defending and vital saves from 'keeper Vedran Janjetovic that prevented the visitors from coasting to an even more comfortable win.
As it was though two goals was enough for Tony Popovic's side to register their first win over the Sky Blues in front of more than 26,000 fans.
After picking up four points in the two games since Farina's appointment, Sydney supporters would have been expecting more from their side but they struggled to create anything of note.
It was a predictably cagey start from both sides but it was the Wanderers who looked the more threatening.
Iacopo La Rocca went agonisingly close to opening the scoring on 16 minutes, picking up a loose ball in midfield and running at a retreating Sydney defence but his side-footed shot from just outside the box rolled wide.
A minute later, Shinji Ono almost capitalised on a wayward clearance from Janjetovic, snapping a clever volley from 30 yards which floated just the wrong side of the post.
Sydney were struggling to impose themselves on the match so it was no surprise when the visitors went in front through Hersi on 24 minutes.
Jerome Polenz's right-wing cross to the far post was headed back across goal by Joey Gibbs, with Hersi getting to the ball first before swivelling and unleashing a powerful shot into the bottom corner.
It was Hersi's first goal in the A-League and one that had been coming.
Ono was having his most influential game for the Wanderers and he almost doubled the lead soon after, only for his dipping shot to sail just wide.
The Sky Blues' best chance fell to defender Adam Griffiths, who rose highest to meet Jason Culina's free-kick but he couldn't direct his header on target.
It was the only real moment of concern for the Wanderers who were good value for their lead at the break.
The visitors were content to sit on their one-goal advantage in the second half and play on the break, while Sydney's best chances continued to come via Culina's set-pieces.
Searching for an equaliser, Farina brought Alessandro Del Piero into the fray with 20 minutes left to a rousing reception from the home fans.
But the Italian superstar, who only passed a late fitness test on his hamstring to play, could do little as the Wanderers scored the sealer 13 minutes from the end.
Sydney failed to adequately clear a corner, with the ball ending up at Ono's feet on the left wing.
The former Japanese international found a metre of space from his marker, swinging in a teasing cross which eluded a host of players before Beauchamp tapped into an empty net at the back post.
Substitute Tahj Minniecon and Shannon Cole both had efforts cleared off the line soon after but it mattered little as the Wanderers held on to clinch local bragging rights.
Bet365 Man of the Match Shinji Ono
Sydney FC 0
Western Sydney 2 (Hersi 24, Beauchamp 77)
Crowd: 26,176 @ Allianz Stadium