Western United suffered a disappointing 2-0 loss to Sydney FC on Wednesday night at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
United almost got off to the perfect start in Kogarah only to be denied by the woodwork.
Luke Duzel found Connor Pain with a driving pass, before Pain’s curling shot hit the post.
It was the home side who took the lead from the penalty spot in the 18th minute.
United defender Aaron Calver mistimed his challenge, giving referee Daniel Elder no option but to award a penalty.
Despite a touch from keeper Ryan Scott, Sydney striker Bobô made no mistake from the spot.
The Sky Blues didn’t take long to double their lead after the break.
In his 200th game for Sydney, Rhyan Grant latched onto a Kosta Barbarouses through ball before finessing the ball past Scott.
Lachie Wales had a late chance to pull one back for United.
Dylan Pierias’ picked out Wales with an inch-perfect cross, but the United striker failed to hit the target from close-range.
A tired-looking United outfit ultimately walked away with no points after struggling to find a way through the Sydney defence all night.
United’s night went from bad to worse in the final minutes when Andrew Durante was shown a straight red card.
Next up for the Green and Black is a clash with Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park this Sunday, 14 March.
Sydney FC 2 (Bobô 18’, Grant 47’)
Western United 0
Mark Rudan’s post-match words
On the match
“Our best opportunities came in the first five minutes and the last five minutes with Lachie [Wales] and Connor Pain,” Mark Rudan said.
“It’s fair to say that goals change games – you get one early and it was part of our plan. The ‘what if’ scenarios come into play.
“We were second to everything. Fair and square, Sydney were the better team. We didn’t deserve anything.”
On missing Diamanti
“Obviously we’ve got three games this week but Dia’s obviously the player of the competition last year and he’s working well again this season.
“But an individual doesn’t win you games or trophies at the end of the season. You need everybody involved, particularly a squad.
“And they’ve been given their chances tonight. All you can do is give them an opportunity, tell them exactly what their roles are and let them have the ball.”
On the goals conceded
“I was most disappointed with the second goal in particular. Because we worked and we know that they like to play give-and-go’s in their box. Disappointed with that because we worked on that.”
On Ryan Scott
“He was good. We’ve got a lot of trust and belief in Ryan Scott as well. He came on for the first time last year, did it as well, came on mid-way through the first half. It’s not easy for any player to come on midway through a first half.
“I thought he held his own on Sunday and once again he did that again tonight.
“There’s a lot of belief in Scotty. Scotty is one of our leaders as well. He’s a fantastic character and individual. He talks a lot. He sweeps off his line too. He was very good.”