Sydney FC progressed to a third successive FFA Cup final last night, after a comprehensive 3-0 victory over their crosstown rivals.

Sydney FC had Andrew Redmayne to thank for keeping them in the game before half time, with several crucial saves from a very set piece skilled Wanderers side. Western Sydney looked constantly dangerous from set pieces during the match, with some beautifully delivered corners and troublesome free-kicks.

Rhyan Grant made a crucial clearance to deny Oriel Riera a tap-in early on in the game. The Wanderers looked like a decent side going forward in the first half but always a few seconds too slow whenever on the ball.

Sydney\’s Josh Brilliante did his best to hand Wanderers opportunities, with a very poor first half filled with no look passes straight to their midfielders. He gradually got more into the game, but had at least 5 cheap turnovers.

Sydney made it the end of the first half without ever really threatening their crosstown rivals. Their best chance came from an Adam le Fondre long range effort, which flew over the bar.

The second half however, was a different story.

Siem de Jong capitalised on a poor header from Tarek Elrich to set up Trent Buhagiar in a one-on-one with Wanderers keeper Daniel Nizic – with the Sydney youngster toe poking past the keeper to make it 1-0.

Socceroo Josh Risdon had a golden opportunity to equalise for Western Sydney, but was denied by a strong Redmayne save.

The Wanderers then paid the price for their lack of chances created, with Siem de Jong burying a free-kick from outside the box to double the Sky Blues\’ advantage.

Englishman Adam le Fondre then won himself a penalty, after being tripped up by Tarek Elrich. He slammed home the resulting penalty, securing passage to the cup final for Sydney FC.

But what did we learn from last nights fixture?

1) Style of football

It seems that Corica will be having Sydney play a slightly tweaked version of what has been played during recent years. Arnold\’s Sydney side were criticised often for their lack of directness, and this version seems to be a mixture of the tiki-taka football and a bit of route one hoofball. Surprisingly, it seemed to really work in the second half. Siem de Jong was a useful aerial presence and was very capable of winning the aerial duels. Le Fondre went up for nearly every possible header, and espite not being the tallest player, still won his fair share of duels. 

2) Rectangular Stadium

How good was it to finally play another derby at a rectangular stadium? After previous 2 years of ANZ \”away\” derbies it was refreshing to watch the game from the stands in a proper football stadium. The Cove generated a lot of noise, and to me this is in part due to the stadium. 

3) Fullback joy

Both Zullo and Grant had very solid games last night, with much better combination play with their wingers. Grant\’s workrate was stunning, and he made a return to his bombarding runs down the wing of 2016/17. 

4) ALF + Trent

Already Trent and Alfie look to be a perfect match. An experienced striker partnering up with a pacy hitman has caused a lot of issues for teams. The experience ALF brings to the attack proved valuable. Constantly looking to get involved, and always positive in his passing game. Buhagiar seems to look very comfortable in this set-up, which looks much more like a traditional 4-4-2 than a 4-2-3-1 played under Arnold

5) Crucial Keeping

Redmayne had one of his best performances for Sydney FC last night, dealing with the shots and crosses thrown at him with comfort and confidence. With a CB combo in front of him still gelling, he really stepped up to the occasion to put Sydney into the final. It was always going to be hard to follow up on Vukovic\’s season at Sydney – but I feel like Redmayne is really coming into his own at the club.
Full player ratings
FINAL SCORE: Sydney FC (3) def. Western Sydney (0)
MOTM: Andrew Redmayne

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