Football 3 years ago

Ninkovic delighted with Sydney derby goal

  • Ninkovic delighted with Sydney derby goal

Sydney FC's derby hero Milos Ninkovic has played in front of far larger crowds than the 40,539 at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.

The new Serbian playmaker knows well the buzz of 70,000 roaring fans from his near decade with Ukrainian giants Dynamo Kyiv, having also experienced a similar atmosphere plying his trade with Serbian heavyweights Red Star Belgrade.

But for the 30-year-old there was still a distinct kind of pleasure that came with netting the 88th-minute winner for his new club, in his third match, and in the A-League's most impassioned fixture with the Western Sydney Wanderers.

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Sydney FC, who failed to threaten their crosstown visitors for 87 minutes, can thank the delicate boots of both Ninkovic and Brandon O'Neill for the three points that lifted them to outright top of the ladder for the first time since their championship-winning season in 2010.

The latter provided the exquisite overhead ball into the box, the former an elegant first touch and superb finish.

"I was very happy, because this was on 88 minutes," Ninkovic said.

"It's something special for me.

"Brandon gave me a great ball. My first touch was good, and after that it was easy to score.

"I've played many big games. I played for Red Star against Partizan in Serbia - it's a very big game. But this for me is maybe the same as this game in Serbia."

Ninkovic felt he was settling well into the A-League, describing it as a physically similar style to that played in France, where he spent last season with Ligue 1 outfit Evian.

He was not, however, enamoured with how he or his team played overall.

"I'm not happy because I played not very well, but I think every game I will be better and better," he said.

"I thought Western Sydney played very well tonight. They controlled the ball, and they played more defence."

It was the same story for coach Graham Arnold.

Though he praised the quality of both Ninkovic and O'Neill, Arnold said an unpolished Sydney still had "a hell of a lot of improvement" to make.

"For me, early in the season it's about getting points, but it's also about the performance," he said.

"And as I said to them at halftime, I would rather lose than play the way we did the first half. I want the players to stick to the principles and the style that we want to play.

"When we do that, we then can control every game. And here we probably weren't in control of the game as much as we would have liked."

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