The pain of losing to city rivals Western Sydney Wanderers at home is now compounded by injury for Sydney FC with young star Rhyan Grant ruled out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury.
It might only be round three but the midfielder has already played his last game for the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during the club’s lacklustre 2-0 loss to their cross-town rivals on Saturday night.
The club feared a lengthy lay-off for the highly rated 22-year-old after he was left in agony after he jarred his knee in a routine challenge in the first half against the Wanderers, and had to be helped off the field.
Grant underwent scans on Sunday which confirmed the worst. He will now likely have to undergo surgery and be forced to endure a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Sydney coach Frank Farina immediately recognised the severity of Grant’s injury after Saturday’s match, and expected him to face a potentially season-ending injury.
‘‘Not good,’’’ Farina said after the match. ‘‘I’m not a doctor but potentially it could be ACL, could be medial ligament. Poor kid just had a wonderful run last year, and it’s one of those things in football, he’s not having such a good run this year.’’
Should scans reveal the worst, Grant will be the third young midfielder on the long-term injury list and the fourth to be ruled out for the match against Perth on Saturday.
Peter Triantis is suffering osteitis pubis, and Terry Antonis is out until at least January with a quad injury. Terry McFlynn is expected to overcome a groin injury for the Sky Blues home match against Melbourne Victory in a fortnight but will miss the trip to Perth.
Captain Alessandro Del Piero is also in doubt to play against Perth due to a calf injury. Farina did not gamble on the Italian forward’s fitness in Saturday’s derby against the Wanderers as he wasn’t prepared to risk aggravating his injury so early in the season, and Farina hinted that he might err on the side of caution.
‘‘We’ll assess it during the week but it’s not an ideal one,’’ Farina said in the post-match press conference. ‘‘If he’s able to train properly, we’ll assess it then.’’
The lengthy travel time to Western Australia and the potential heat of a 2.30pm kick-off local time are seen as factors that could keep Del Piero sidelined for a second game.
In the absence of their leader on Saturday, Sydney appeared rudderless against the Wanderers but Farina said it was to be expected that the veteran would be incur these types of injuries. ‘‘‘Ale’, he’s coming up to 39. We have to be realistic, we know Alessandro’s not going to play 27 straight games for us this year. That’s reality and we have to adjust to that,’’ Farina said.
The Sky Blues struggled to create chances against the Wanderers. ‘‘We just need to improve our game,’’ midfielder Ali Abbas said. ‘‘The final third, we need to be more disciplined, more organised I think for next game."