Frustrated. Absolutely gutted. Our new home – Kogarah. It was meant to be a party. Packed to the brim, capacity exhausted, a sea of sky blue shirts. It was a beautiful sight on a cracking Sunday afternoon. Australian football on show in Sydney surburbia with active support out in full force.
100 appearances for Milos Ninkovic and Brandon O’Neill, two fantastic footballers both on and off the pitch, and yet the celebrations were ruined for Sydney FC. It just had to be them. Melbourne Victory. Of all teams. Rivals from the very inception of the league. A mutual hatred that runs deep. The memories of Terry Antonis (a former Sydney FC cult hero no less) cutting through our defences and hearts back at Moore Park all those months ago in that heart stopping semi-final, are still fresh and hurt just as much as ever. He wanted redemption, and had atoned for his mistakes. We wanted redemption, however to no avail.
In all fairness, Melbourne played extremely well. To their credit and probably to Kevin Muscat’s also (as much as we hate to admit it) our Number 10 had no free reign. Ninko was man marked to the nines, thereby completely shutting out any creative opportunities to score goals and sausage rolls. Fans alike lamented the loss of our other creative option who has since moved to another club – screaming in anguish the name of a once Sky Blue Polish footballer as if they were Sylvester Stallone in Rocky. ADRIANNNNN! They cried.
Honda was phenomenal. Easily slotted home the winning penalty, he even had a bay filled with packed fans solely dedicated to chanting his name for 90 plus minutes. There isn’t a doubt that Honda is a football superstar, Japan’s very own David Beckham. He brings people to the game, and that is fantastic to see.
A match as big as the Big Blue is never without controversy. VAR once again in the spotlight, however the penalty awarded for Sydney to equalise in the first half stood regardless, although it was dubious. Retre collected in the box by Antonis? As a Sydney supporter, we will take what we can get.
The sights and sounds of a Big Blue derby never fail to disappoint. On show and passionate as ever, The Cove did their job well and proudly. Banners, scarves and new chants on display, they did not stop singing. This game meant a tremendous deal to them, as for those who didn’t know, Dogga – who passed a few years back, was a part of the Cove family, a part of the Sky Blue family. His seat was taken from Moore Park and placed in the home bay in his memory in what was a beautiful and heartwarming gesture by the club.
As a Sydney FC die hard, although the result of 1-2 to Melbourne Victory was a stinging loss, the sell-out crowd was a win. A win for Sky Blue supporters, a win for the club, a win for the A-League. South Sydney is Sky Blue, and will forever be. We can only hope that the FFA takes notice of this, and will bring in other A-League hopefuls for expansion in areas that thoroughly deserve them.
Featured Image from Fox Sports Football Twitter page.
By Mariame Choucair