Matt Derbyshire’s goal earned Macarthur FC a measure of revenge on Sydney FC as the Bulls claimed a 1-0 victory after the Sky Blues were reduced to 10 men before half-time.
Derbyshire shot himself to the top of the A-League’s Golden Boot charts after sensational wing play from Spain international Markel Susaeta in the 36th minute and, two minutes later, Paulo Retre saw red for a reckless, studs-high tackle on Jake McGing.
In the first ever meeting between between the teams at Campbelltown Stadium four weeks ago, Macarthur captain Mark Milligan was dismissed after 21 minutes and the Bulls fell to a 3-0 defeat, but the roles were reversed at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium with Sydney chasing the game with a player disadvantage.
The defending Champions had controlled the tempo in sweltering conditions for the half an hour with away goalkeeper Adam Federici keeping the Bulls level, denying Kosta Barbarouses and Patrick Wood from close range, before Retre’s shot rattled the frame of the Macarthur goal.
The game changed significantly in a two-minute spell after Derbyshire pounced to score his seventh A-League goal and Retre’s dangerous tackle left Sydney with a mountain to climb. Chances fell to both teams after the break with Derbyshire heading against the bar, while Federici had to be at his best to deny Barbarouses an equaliser.
The ten-man home side tired in the closing stages and could not claw back the deficit, making it three games without a win for Steve Corica's eighth-placed side, while Ante Milicic’s team close within one point of the ladder-leading Central Coast Mariners ahead of their match against Perth Glory on Tuesday night.
Macarthur coach Ante Milicic made four changes following the hammering by Western United but the defending Premiers took charge from the off with Adam Federici called into action to block Kosta Barbarouses’ effort after a superb through ball by Milos Ninkovic, then the Serbian twisted and turned through the Bulls midfield but could not connect cleanly with his shot.
In baking hot conditions, the Sky Blues continued to control the tempo until Beñat Etxebarria’s precision pass was headed straight at gloveman Andrew Redmayne by Denis Genreau, but Sydney’s pressure began to tell when Wood burst through on goal, in acres of space, but the young striker lost his composure as Federici came out on top of the one-on-one opportunity.
Alexander Baumjohann prodded an effort wide as the Sky Blues continued to control the tempo, until Susaeta gave the hosts a reminder of their threat with a fizzing strike from 25-yards that whistled wide of goal. Retre then went even closer, with the Macarthur defence stretched, when his strike cannoned back off the crossbar at the half-hour mark.
The Sky Blues were left counting the cost of their misses when Susaeta twisted and turned through the home side’s defence and put the ball of a platter for the arriving Matt Derbyshire to slot in his seventh goal of the campaign. Two minutes later, the task grew even harder for Steve Corica's side when Retre's wild studs-up tackle connected with the knee of Jake McGing and referee Alex King showed a straight red card.
The second half opened in breathless fashion and the hosts were holding their breath when Derbyshire’s header crashed back off the frame of the goal. Barbarouses saw an excellent chance of an equaliser but could find the outstretched body of Federici, and Derbyshire once again threatened from McGing’s cross, forcing a reaction save from Redmayne within 10 minutes of the restart.
Tommy Oar lined up a couple of long-range rockets shots that came close to worrying Redmayne, while Barbarouses saw one final opportunity go begging when he broke free in the Bulls penalty area but scuffed his shot from Rhyan Grant’s centre. Sydney began to tire as the half wore on with Macarthur managing the game in the closing stages to get back on track after they were hammered by Western United last week.
Next fixtures – Matchweek 11
Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC
Saturday, 6 March 2021
Venue: Moreton Daily Stadium
Kick-off: 5.05pm AEDT
Central Coast Mariners v Macarthur FC
Monday, 8 March 2021
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEDT