Ali Abbas vilification mars Sydney Derby

Allegations of religious or cultural vilification from Ali Abbas as Sydney FC came from behind to beat Western Sydney Wanderers in an explosive Derby encounter.
Sydney FC midfielder Ali Abbas has alleged he was vilified on the basis of his culture or religion in an ugly aftermath to an absorbing derby win over Western Sydney on Saturday night.

Iraqi-born Abbas was visibly upset in the latter stages of the Sky Blues' 3-1 win and had to be restrained by stand-in skipper Sasa Ognenovski and other team-mates.

At one stage he headed towards the sideline and had a heated discussion with coach Frank Farina, before getting on with the game.

It's understood Abbas, who had an earlier run in with Wanderers hardman Iacopo La Rocca, was incensed with an inflammatory comment, although it's unclear who made the alleged slur.

In an interview with Fox Sports after the match, Abbas said: "We are not here to attack religion or culture; we are here to play football.

"I come from a different country, I respect everyone here. I should get it back. If I don't get it back, I'm going to attack. That's what happened.

"If people attack religion, if people attack culture - I'm against that. We need to stop that."

Sydney officials are expected to meet with the midfielder on Sunday to discuss whether he wants to take the matter further.

Asked about the flash-point, Farina said: "I don't want to talk about that stuff and spoil a good night.

"As far as I'm concerned it was a game played in good spirit.

"If there is anything I'm sure it will be sorted out by other people. Certainly not from my side."

When asked what Abbas said when he came across to the bench, Farina said: "He was alright. (But) I told him if he ever shouted at me again I'd poke his eyes out.

"Look, they were all wound up. Matty Jurman got a bit wound up, a few of their players got wound up ... but that my friends is a derby.

"All the other stuff that is going to be mentioned, I don't think it should come into it.

"The game is finished, there's no real malice or anything happening out there."

The incident overshadowed a pulsating fightback from the Sky Blues, who posted their first derby win in over 500 days.

Despite going behind to a Shinji Ono striker early in the second half, a Vedran Janjetovic penalty save two minutes later swung the momentum in the home side's favour.

Goals to Jurman, Richie Garcia and a late penalty to Abbas sealed a vital win for the Sky Blues, who are now fourth and just three points behind their fierce rivals.

"We could have easily been 2-0 down and I think that was probably the real turning point," Farina said of Janjetovic's penalty stop.

"That not only lifted us as a playing group but the supporters as well. We went on with t from there.

"We've got some good pros, experienced players and leaders in the team and tonight they showed all those qualities which you need if you're going to be winning games and successful."

The only concern for Sydney is a possible hamstring problem for skipper Alessandro Del Piero, who went off early in the second half although Farina insists it was just precautionary.

The news was substantially worse for Wanderers however, as Golgol Mebrahtu's Western Sydney debut turned into a nightmare as it's feared the youngster tore his anterior cruciate ligament.

The 23-year-old went down after a challenge from Richie Garcia midway through the second half just minutes after coming on as a substitute.

While he tried to play on, Mebrahtu was forced off soon after with initial reports he has ruptured his ACL and will require a full knee reconstruction.

Signed to the club only a couple of months ago as a reinforcement for the club's Asian Champions League campaign, the former Melbourne Heart striker will have scans on Sunday to learn his fate.

"It's very unfortunate for the boy. He's devastated," Wanderers boss Tony Popovic said.

"It sums up our night really. The boy comes on makes his debut and his first touch it looks like it an ACL.

"He's doing it pretty tough in the change room at the moment."

Mebrahtu's injury compounded a sorry night for the Wanderers, who slumped to their first derby defeat in five after losing 3-1 at Allianz Stadium.