Popovic thrilled with clean sheet, Arnold hails Wanderers

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Western Sydney Wanderers were the happier of the two teams following their scoreless draw with Sydney FC

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was thrilled with his team's maiden clean sheet of the season, while Graham Arnold was disappointed in Sydney FC's execution in the derby.

Popovic was the happier of the two coaches following Saturday night's 0-0 draw at Allianz Stadium.

In a game of few chances, both goalkeepers starred in the second Sydney derby of the 2016-17 season.

Ex-Sky Blues gloveman Vedran Janjetovic - in just his second appearance for the Wanderers - particularly impressed as he endured a fierce reception from Sydney's fans.

"We had our first clean sheet, so that was important for us," Popovic said after the game.

"We looked very solid defensively and we stopped a team that's in good form from creating anything, apart from a few moments."

While Popovic was thrilled with his team's defensive performance, he was left flummoxed by a missed penalty in the first half.

Sydney full-back Michael Zullo blocked a shot with his hand in the box and not only did the Wanderers miss out on the penalty but referee Peter Green didn't even signal a corner after the ball went out.

"OK, if you miss the handball, OK. But how it's not a corner is just hard to understand," Popovic said.

When asked about the same incident, Arnold insisted Green's decision not to give a penalty was correct.

“His [Zullo's] arm was tucked in. It hit him on the back of the elbow. Don't think it was a penalty," the Sky Blues' boss said.

Arnold added that he was impressed by Western Sydney, claiming they had produced their best performance of the campaign.

"Happy with the display but not with the result," he said.

"A good derby, a passionate derby, a lot of fight. Two teams that played well and West Sydney Wanderers performed well.

"You've got to give them credit, they made it hard for us at times. They performed to their best tonight, but our execution let us down tonight.

"But I couldn't be prouder of the way we worked and played. We were very good tonight and we'll get better."

The result continued Sydney's unbeaten A-League season, with the Sky Blues moving to 37 points, five ahead of second-placed Melbourne Victory and 22 ahead of the Wanderers, who sit eighth in the table.

"Everyone raises their game now against Sydney FC. And we have to and we'll get better and better at it," Arnold said.

"We're only 60-70 per cent of where we'll end up. Fifteen rounds in, we're still a team that has a lot of improvement left in us."

 

 

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