Three weeks ago the Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC were doing battle at Panthers Stadium, tomorrow they’ll be playing an old-fashioned Sydney Derby at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) for the very first time.
With Allianz Stadium out of action due to redevelopment, the SCG is now the brand new home of the Sky Blues for the foreseeable future.
When the two sides last met in Penrith on October 6, it was Sydney FC who prevailed in emphatic fashion, defeating the Wanderers 3-0 to advance to the Final of the FFA Cup.
However, three weeks is a long time in football and after both teams had opening round draws to start the season, the Wanderers will be full of confidence they can upset the might of their crosstown rivals on Saturday night.
“We played against them in the semi final of the FFA Cup [recently], we know what’s going on, this is a team with quality and experience. I haven’t seen a team like this – four chances, four goals… it’s unbelievable,” Wanderers coach Markus Babbel said of tomorrow’s opponents.
“They can kill a game, it’s going to be very difficult against them because they have experience.
“We have to find a new match plan, so the best way would be if we bring the first half of the semi final and the second half of [our last] game together, then it would be a good game for us.”
Babbel’s A-League tenure got off to a respectable start after his side fought back from 1-0 down to share the points with Tony Popovic’s Perth Glory last Sunday night.
Speaking after the match, Babbel said he was impressed with his side in the second half.
“I saw two faces from my team… We were awful in the first half, our second half was much better and it is what I wanted to see,” he said.
“We lost every 50/50 challenge in the first half but in the second half we won them, so it was a very different game for us.
“It was a good sign for me because if we start badly again, we know we can change the result.
“We have a lot of work in front of us but I’m happy with the point.”
The Wanderers take on Sydney FC at the SCG this Saturday at 7.50pm. The match is live on Fox Sports.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.