Santalab in tears, Brosque predicts rapid response

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Western Sydney's match-winner could barely control his emotions after the Wanderers' breakthrough win, while Sydney FC's captain remained positive

An emotional Brendon Santalab paid tribute to Western Sydney Wanderers' togetherness after snapping Sydney FC's unbeaten run in an enthralling derby.

Barely holding back tears in his post-match interview, the match-winner described the Wanderers' 1-0 victory over Sydney as a "courageous" response to last round's disappointing defeat to Central Coast Mariners.

Western Sydney's triumph saw the Sky Blues lose for the first time in 21 matches, stretching back to the penultimate round of 2015-16, while Santalab's goal also ended the Wanderers' derby drought.

The Red-and-Black hadn't triumphed over their crosstown rivals since January 11, 2014 when Santalab also scored the winning goal.

"[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 against the Mariners, proved the difference at ANZ Stadium with a clinical turn-and-finish in the 26th minute.

While better known as super-sub, Santalab's goal was his sixth of nine this term where he has started.

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 team-mates were unbelievable."

Sydney captain Alex Brosque, who was denied a penalty late in the match, remained confident the leaders will bounce back quickly from their first A-League loss of the campaign.

Brosque went down following a challenge from Western Sydney defender Rob Cornthwaite in the 92nd minute and replays showed Sydney's forward was tripped.

The Sky Blues hadn't lost in all competitions since the FFA Cup Final - a run of 11 games - while they had started the 2016-17 A-League season with a 19-match undefeated streak.

"It's a good test to be honest," Brosque told Fox Sports.

"The reality is we've lost one game all season.

"For [the Wanderers], they've needed something this year and they got a good win so good on them.

"But we'll just keep doing what we've been doing all year, playing well. We'll pick ourselves up for Melbourne City and get three points over there."

 

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