Sydney’s ‘parallel universe’ as lightning strikes twice in Derby: Podcast view

Catch all the highlights from Western Sydney Wanderers' victory over rivals Sydney FC in the Isuzu UTE A-League

The Official Isuzu UTE A-League Podcast unpacks an enthralling weekend of Round 5 action.

The Official Isuzu UTE A-League Podcast is back, and available every Monday to review the action from the weekend. Here’s a snapshot of some of the talking points from Round 5, discussed by KEEPUP’s Lachie Flannigan, Tom Smithies and David Davutovic.

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Another former Sky Blue youngster settles a Sydney Derby

It was only last year Zac Sapsford and Jaiden Kucharski were playing together for Sydney FC.

Sapsford scored seven goals in 12 appearances for Sydney’s youth team in the NPL, teaming up with Kucharski for the Sky Blues.

But on Saturday night, after crossing the city divide to join Western Sydney Wanderers in 2022-23, Sapsford made himself a hero in the Red and Black while ex-teammate Kucharski was on the opposing side.

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The 21-year-old replaced injured Socceroo Brandon Borrello in the first half and scored the winning goal as he came back to haunt his former side in a 1-0 win at Allianz Stadium.

“The great irony is that you know, he’s scored the goal moments before Sydney could have scored through Jaiden Kucharski who’s had that brilliant chance,” KEEPUP’S Tom Smithies said.

“The two of them were playing together for Sydney’s youth team just last year setting goals up for each other and (in a) parallel universe they could have been on the same team.

“But in the end Kucharski has got to wake up the next day knowing that he couldn’t take his chance and his mate did and suddenly the Wanderers are back on top. Sydney have now got a bit of an idea of how far they have to go in order to catch up.”

It was a case of lightning striking Sydney twice over the weekend.

Last season, Calem Nieuwenhof left the Sky Blues for the Wanderers and in March, he scored in a 4-0 rout of Sydney.

Nieuwenhof – now playing for Hearts in the Scottish Premiership – had spent three years with Sydney before making the big switch in 2022-23, the same season Sapsford crossed the divide.

KEEPUP’s David Davutovic added: “I’m pretty sure (we) have referenced every week Sydney FC Academy products who’ve done the business at another club, be it here or overseas.

“There is another example just to underline the issues that they’ve faced in terms of not giving some of those young players an opportunity perhaps, early enough in the piece and then obviously having to lose them to other clubs.

“So that obviously was a dagger blow but to be honest, Zac Sapsford has forgotten about his time at Sydney FC judging by his celebration the other night.

“It was a fantastic finish. A bit like Kucharski in that he is a real high-octane young player who just looks to be absolutely filled with confidence. Seemed to really relish the occasion. He was buzzing about when he came off the bench.”