Sydney FC hit four in derby thrashing in front of record A-League attendance
Western Sydney Wanderers' A-League derby drought will surpass three years after Sydney FC soared to an emphatic 4-0 victory to leave their crosstown rivals empty-handed yet again.
The Sky Blues ran rampant in front of a record crowd of 61,880 at ANZ Stadium, where former Besiktas teammates Bobo and Filip Holosko seamlessly scored the first two goals before whizzkid Brandon O'Neill executed an exquisite 85th-minute free kick and substitute and skipper Alex Brosque completed the rout with one minute remaining.
It was the biggest Sydney derby win in the fixture's history and means the Wanderers will have gone winless for three years and three days by the time they get another chance on Jan. 14.
The battle came to life on 30 minutes when Robert Cornthwaite clattered into Bobo and instigated an old-fashioned melee. The towering centre-back got to the ball, but was lucky not to have been sent off for the challenge, which earned him a yellow card.
Scott Neville and David Carney copped the same for their role in the aftermath, in which a livid Popovic exchanged verbals with Sydney's coaching staff.
All four goals came in the second half as Sydney ran riot.
First, Carney lofted a sumptuous curler for Milos Ninkovic to outdo Wanderers defender Aritz Borda with the slightest of touches for Holosko to lash home.
Zullo then showed his worth with a lofted cross to Holosko who skilfully kept the ball in play and volleyed towards goalmouth. Bobo was the only one to anticipate the move and accepted the tap-in.
Aritz Borda was sent off for Western Sydney six minutes from time after bringing down Brosque when he was through on goal. And from the resulting free kick, O'Neill found the top corner. Brosque completed the scoring a minute from time.
Perth Glory conceded a bizarre own goal as Central Coast Mariners fought back from 3-0 down to secure a 3-3 draw.
A first-half brace from Adam Taggart and a 35th-minute penalty from Diego Castro put Perth on track for a crushing win. But the Mariners fought back with a vengeance in the second half.
Roy O'Donovan pulled one back in the 56th minute. And the Mariners were gifted a second goal in the 83rd minute when a goal-line clearance from Glory defender Marc Warren crashed straight into his own goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
The comeback was complete in the 85th minute when O'Donovan converted from the spot after being blocked by Rhys Williams as they ran into the box.
"I don't think many people saw that coming in the second half," Glory coach Kenny Lowe said. "We basically stopped doing the things we were doing in the first half. I think we took the foot off the pedal to be truthful.
"But we had four one-on-ones in the second half to put the game out of sight. That's the nature of the game."
Mariners coach Paul Okon said he was proud of his team's fightback.
"There's a bit of us that feels disappointed that we didn't go on and win," Okon said. "Our first half, conceding so early, set us back a bit. We lost confidence, and we were a bit nervous, afraid to make more mistakes. But the second half is the type of football we want to play. To do that you need the ball, you need to be brave, and we did that."
In New Zealand, Melbourne City shook off a second-half red card and battled to a gritty 1-0 win over Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium.
City looked firmly in control after Anthony Caceres's 31st-minute goal, but a 58th-minute red card to keeper Thomas Sorensen turned the game upside down.
Phoenix striker Roy Krishna had pounced on a loose back pass and the ball struck a rushing Sorensen, outside his protected area, on the arm as the Fijian speedster closed in towards goal.
Referee Peter Green produced a red card from his pocket and Sorensen marched to the sidelines as the game erupted into life for the home side.
But despite pressing hard into seven long minutes of extra time, and urged on by the 10,034-strong crowd, Wellington couldn't find the equaliser.