Former Sydney FC champion Milos Ninkovic helped guide the Western Sydney Wanderers to a 1-0 victory against his old club. (Photo: @wswanderersfc - Twitter))

The 31st Sydney Derby between Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers has produced a wild ride. Winning the game 1-0 the Wanderers took home bragging rights due to a stellar goal by forward Kusini Yengi.

Milos Ninkovic has taken revenge on his former club in the best way possible defeating them by one goal in front of their home fans. As Ninkovic tastes the sweetness of his revenge, the Western Sydney Wanders have reclaimed the Sydney Derby bragging rights after losing their previous outing against Sydney FC.

Labelled a traitor by Sydney fans throughout the week, the end result couldn’t be any better for the former Sky Blues player. Having played 181 games for the Sky Blues, he left at the end of last season which was anything but an amicable split.

The former Serbian international led Sydney to three A-League championships but has been on the receiving end of hate after joining the club’s arch-rivals. This week he suffered hostility from not only fans but former teammates. However, he took the last laugh, assisting in the winning goal of the game.

“We thoroughly deserve tonight’s win, I really believe that,” Wanderers coach Marko Rudan said.

“I thought we played some really good football and start to understand now the kind of football that we want to play. I was happy with them tonight.”

Ninkovic’s first game against his old club created a very physical game between the two teams. This was seen from the opening minutes when Sydney targeted him.

The duo of Joe Lolley and Luke Brattan delivered cheap shots at Ninkovic, pushing him to the ground from behind.

The majority of the first half was controlled by the Wanderers’ defenders. Led by captain Marcelo, they took the pace out of the game, passing the ball between themselves. The Sky Blues failed to deliver any pressure towards them.

Rudan had high praise for the former Ligue 1 centre-back post-match.

“You see him [Marcelo] out there tonight. He loves the occasion, he was just dusting up his shoulders,” he said.

“You need guys like that because when you look at both teams, these are the sort of games where you need those hardened professionals to look after the younger ones around you.”

Despite being 0-0 at the end of the first half, the first 45 minutes kept fans on the edge of their seat. Even though there were numerous corners and free-kicks, neither team could take full control of their opportunities.

The only real scoring opportunity came from the boot of Brandon Borrello. Borrello nailed the ball from the edge of the box, only to catch the diving hand of Andrew Redmayne. Although it was on target, the ball never seemed like going.

The Sky Blues came straight out of the half-time break with speed. Utilising the pace of their attackers, they put the Wanderers on the back foot.

They nearly cemented a breakthrough goal but weren’t able to get enough power on the ball to get it past Lawrence Thomas.

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The most significant event of the game occurred in the middle of the second half. Right in front of the goal and with only the keeper to beat, the most contentious player in the game Milos Ninkovic had a chance to score the opening goal.

However, it was not to be. Ninkovic failed to get it past Redmayne in goal, hitting him right in the chest.

After continually being a threat in their attacking half, the Wanderers managed to break the deadlock through some magic from forward Kusini Yengi. Using his skill the 23-year-old dribbled past two Sydney defenders in the box before slotting the ball into the top left-hand corner.

In jubilation, the former Adelaide United player celebrated in front of the Western Sydney fans. Knowing how impactful the goal was, the away fans jumped the fence surrounding Yengi and his teammates.

Yengi’s brilliance created joyous celebrations at one end of the field and deafening silence from ‘The Cove’.

The game picked up pace as it eyed the final whistle. With two minutes to go, the Sky Blues had two clear back-to-back opportunities to level the game.

Young-guns, Adrian Segecic and Jaiden Kucharski both put the ball inches above the top cross-bar.

As the game came to a close, the tension between the two teams came to a head. A scuffle involving multiple players from each team illustrated just how big of a game this was.

In the words of coach Marko “Derbies are the best. Derbies are the best.”

Both teams will now have one month to relax and prepare for the rest of the season as the A-League Men take a break for the 2022 World Cup.

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