Emotional Santalab heaps praise on ‘courageous’ Wanderers

An emotional Brendon Santalab has paid tribute to Western Sydney’s togetherness after snapping their crosstown rivals’ unbeaten season in an enthralling Sydney Derby.

Holding back tears in his post-match interview, the matchwinner described Wanderers’ 1-0 victory over Sydney FC as a “courageous” response to last round’s disappointing defeat against Central Coast Mariners.

REPORT: Wanderers shock Sydney FC in thrilling derby

“(Last week’s) performance wasn’t us. We were very upset,” Santalab told Fox Sports.

“To beat Sydney FC for us this season is incredible because they’re in super-hot form.

“Right now I’m just so proud of my team. We stuck together through the whole game, through difficult periods and we pulled through.

“This is for our fans, my family and my friends.”

Santalab, who was surprisingly dropped to the bench last weekend, proved the difference at ANZ Stadium with a clinical turn-and-finish in the 26th minute.

The 34-year-old forward highlighted the importance of keeping his nerve in a thunderous atmosphere.

“I spoke during the week about staying cool and calm,” he said.

“I think that finish there was exactly that and I’m very happy with it. But my teammates were unbelievable.”