• Fired up ... Vedran Janjetovic takes exception to a challenge from Brendon Santalab (Getty Images)
Sydney FC goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic revealed how he came up trumps in a dare with Western Sydney Wanderers striker Mark Bridge in a dramatic derby at the weekend.
By
SBS: Philip Micallef

9 Mar 2014 - 8:41 AM  UPDATED 9 Mar 2014 - 10:38 AM

Janjetovic played a key role in the Sky Blues' 3-1 victory by saving Bridge's penalty when the side was a goal down.

After Richard Garcia was penalised for a clumsy tackle that floored Brendon Santalab and Youssouf Hersi, Janjetovic engaged in a psychological battle with Bridge.

"I just challenged him to put it to my left," jubilant Janjetovic said later.

"I went over to the left and I told him 'Bridgey put it on the left'.

"He took me up on that, I stood by and came up with the save.

"I think that the save lifted the boys who immediately put in five or 10 per cent more.

"I believe it may have shifted momentum in our favour."

Janjetovic, 26, has established himself as Sydney's No 1 goalkeeper.

He is one of only a few players in the team that has shown a semblance of consistency in a season that has had more ups and down than a rollercoaster.

Zagreb-born and Sydney-raised Janjetovic, who joined the Sky Blues at the start of last season, was famously dropped for a home match against Melbourne Victory for arriving late at the ground.

He took the demotion on the chin and did not allow that setback to affect his determination to make a fist of his A-League opportunity.

"I got stuck in traffic and I have learned from that," he said.

"I will not do that again, I won't miss the bus again."

Janjetovic said his job was made easier by the improvement of his back four, particularly the new central pairing of Sasa Ognenovski and Nikola Petkovic.

"I'm comfortable 100 per cent, not just with the two centre-halves but the whole back line," he said.

"We all know each other's game and how we want to play.

"We have not played together for a long period of time and maybe that's a factor.

"But every week you can see that we are understanding each other more and playing better as a unit."

Janjetovic said he hoped that the derby win would give the side the momentum it needed to secure a finals berth.

With five rounds to go the inconsistent Sky Blues find themselves in the top four.

"The A-League has been very tight this season," he explained.

"There is not much of a gap between the teams.

"You are on a bit of a roll and then you have a setback.

"You get injuries and suspensions but I don't want to make excuses.

"We do tend to drop off but in the next few games we have special motivation to keep going."

Janjetovic said he was more than happy with his performance so far and he credited the contribution of the club's backroom staff.

"First and foremost, I've got to thank my goalkeeping coach Zeljko Kalac, his assistant Davide Del Giovine and conditioning coach Anthony Crea for keeping my fitness levels at a peak running around Cecil lake," he said.

"Please mention this, it's important."