Bulls thrash rivals on Christmas Eve to move into third

Christmas came early for Macarthur FC with three points and local bragging rights landing in their stockings after hammering rivals Sydney FC 3-0 on Saturday night.

Georgian striker Bachana Arabuli continued his fine form with a brace with captain Ulises Davila netting another in the dominant win over the Sky Blues in front of their own fans at Allianz Stadium.

The win moves the Bulls up to third on the Isuzu UTE A-League ladder after clinching back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 24: Ulises Davila of Macarthur FC reacts with fans after victory during the round nine A-League Men’s match between Sydney FC and Macarthur FC at Allianz Stadium, on December 24, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

“Defensively we were quite solid, we didn’t give them too many chances,” Bulls coach Dwight Yorke said. “In general play, the structure looked a lot more together which is something we’ve been working on… very pleasing in terms of the performance and the outcome of the game.”

Against the run of play, Sydney had the first chance of the game when Joe Lolley broke down their right flank. However, he could find no way past the in-form Filip Kurto who made a superb reflex save to deny the Englishman from close range.

Normal order resumed with Macarthur FC pulling the strings in attack.

Sydney’s Socceroo goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne had to be at his best to deny Macarthur captain Ulises Davila twice. Davila’s curling shot from the far corner of the box looked destined to be float inside the far post, only for Redmayne to produce a fine save to parry it wide. Minutes before the break, Redmayne went even better to thwart Davila from scoring what would have been a stunning a free-kick.

The Bulls onslaught continued after the restart with Noone coming within millimetres of doubling the tally – his curling shot from distance came agonisingly close to rattling the back of the net.

However, there was nothing Redmayne could do to stop the Bulls’ swift counter attack in the dying moments of the first half. Craig Noone delivered a well-timed cross into the path of Arabuli, who made no mistake with a clinical strike to make it 1-0 just before the break.

Sydney FC were struggling to contain the pace the Bulls attack, so much so that the experienced Joe Lolley could only fire a late challenge on the fleet-footed Danny De Silva. Referee Kurt Ams had no hesitation to give Lolley his marching orders. Sadly for De Silva, the challenge also ended his night. He suffered a knee injury and will undergo scans in the coming days to determine the extent.

Already outgunned and now outmanned, Sydney could only hold out for so much longer. Davila doubled Macarthur’s tally with a composed finish past Redmayne in the 70th minute.

Two minutes before full-time, Arabuli made it 3-0 with a classy side-foot finish to send the hundreds of travelling fans into raptures.

The Bulls face rivals Western Sydney Wanderers at Commbank Stadium on New Year’s Day.