On an emotional level it made perfect sense. On form, statistics and all the other things commentators use to judge a team's likelihood of success, none at all. Sydney FC's loss to the Western Sydney Wanderers in Saturday night's Sydney Derby brought undone the greatest unbeaten run in the history of the A-league. All on a night when the Wanderers had never been at longer odds to come up with a win against the Sky Blues.
Sydney FC on the other hand hadn't lost a single game this season, going 19-in-a-row without loss, as they steamed towards A-League immortality. It was fitting then that Wanderers striker, Brendon Santalab, scored the game's one and only goal, performing a delightful turn on the edge of the five yard box to to find the back of the net in the 26th minute. It was also Santalab who scored the winner in the Wanderer's last derby win 37 months ago.
Tempers frayed throughout the contest as several penalty claims went unrewarded. The last, from Sydney FC captain, Alex Brosque, is still causing controversy after match referee Chris Beath reportedly admitted to Sydney FC coach, Graham Arnold, that he made a mistake in not awarding it, claiming he and the sideline official did not get a good look at the incident.
"I was very frustrated and annoyed at the fact he (Beath) missed it, because I felt he was close enough," said Brosque.
"I knew he took me out just because basically when he (Cornthwaite) hit me I wasn't able to take that next step (and) I had an open goal."
"There was a loud enough sound to hear there was contact, and really there was no need for me to go down."
"A big decision like that is always going to be tough for a referee I guess ... it just feels like it was snatched away from us," he said.
The two teams hate each other with a passion, so too their fans, so you can only imagine the satisfaction felt by the Wanderers faithful having ruined the Sky Blue's run at immortality. Despite their teams patchy form this season, coach Tony Popovic, said he never lost faith.
"I don't think I need to vindicate anything," he said.
"My belief is my belief. That's for other people to decide. I always believed in the players and tonight they showed how good they are. We now have to be more consistent, that's the challenge for us."