Sell out puts pressure on both Sydney teams
It’s official – the inaugural Sydney Derby is a sell out. The news that Parramatta Stadium will be at full capacity for the first meeting between Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers caps off what has been a stunning few weeks for football in Sydney.
Sydney FC’s capture of Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero, coupled with the much anticipated A-League debut for the Western Sydney Wanderers, has sparked unprecedented media coverage and interest in the A-League from the harbour city. Over thirty five thousand fans packed Allianz Stadium to witness Del Piero’s home debut for the Sky Blues, whilst the Wanderers attracted a healthy debut attendance of ten and a half thousand on a rainy and windy Saturday night in Sydney’s west.
With only one point between them from their opening two matches, both teams will head to Parramatta Stadium desperate for a win and a chance to claim initial bragging rights, in what is expected to become one of the A-League’s premier match ups.
The pressure, however, will likely fall hardest on Sydney FC coach Ian Crook. Winless in his first two games in charge of Sydney FC, Crook has been handed an even greater task with experienced central defender Adam Griffiths likely to miss the match with a hamstring injury, adding weight to an already strained defensive unit that has conceded five goals in two matches. Dutchman Pascal Bosschaart is still recovering from an injured achilles and is unlikely to be rushed back into the squad
In contrast, The Wanderers have looked far more composed and organised, conceding only one goal in their opening two matches, however Tony Popovic’s men are yet to register their first Hyundai A-League goal. Japanese import and marquee player Shinji Ono has impressed in midfield along side young Australian midfielder Aaron Mooy, and both will have vital roles to play if the Wanderers hope to break their goal scoring duck this weekend.
Whilst derby matches can often be cagey affairs, fans will be hoping that the Sydney derby continues the trend set by the Melbourne derby, with exciting, open and attacking play filled with all the drama, passion and theatre that makes football derbies the world over such special fixtures.
What is certain is that the atmosphere inside Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night is sure to be electric, as both sets of fans hope to drive their teams to victory. The stadium will be filled with the type of colour and noise only football fans know how to generate, as every pass, every shot and every near miss draws a collective gasp from the expectant gallery.
It will be a special moment for football in Sydney, and a spectacle that is surely destined to become one of the most anticipated events on the Sydney sporting calendar.