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Juric Packs Goal For Saudi Second Leg

Oct 25 2014 08:48 PM | mack in First Team Match Reports

A second half strike from Tomi Juric gave the Western Sydney Wanderers a 1-0 win in the first leg of the Asian Champions League final against Al-Hilal.

A record Parramatta Stadium crows of 20,053 packed into the Wanderers fortress for the first leg of the 2014 AFC Champions League. Facing the Red & Black were the "Blue Wave" of Al Hilal from Saudi Arabia. With billionaires looking on from the corporate boxes the first leg the Wanderers took a giant leap towards lifting the crown of Champions of Asia.

The game started in a manner that did not reflect the eventual result. Moments after kick off Alfaraj broke into the area on the left flank but couldn't find a team-mate and Western Sydney cleared the ball behind for a corner. Al-Hilal dominated possession and the chances but couldn't find any cracks in the Wanderers defensive armour. Moments before half-time Al Hilal had their best chance of the night after a defensive clearance smashed into Mateo Poljak's face and rebounded for the benefit of Al-Hilal, with Alshamrani being played through on goal but skying his shot.

Supersub Tomi Juric came on in the 58th minute and it took him all of 6 minutes to make his mark on the final, a peach of a cross from Anthony Golec found the tall timber up front, the big number 9 connecting with a boot that saw the ball slide under Abdullah Mohammed Al Sudairy to give the Wanderers a priceless goal to take on the long trip to the Middle East for the second leg.

As the clock ticked past the 70 minute mark Juric nearly had a brace, he picked up the ball after Digao over-ran it, and Juric went on a mazy run at the defence. Juric opened up enough space for a placed shot from the edge of the penalty area, which beat the keeper but not the woodwork, the ball bouncing away from the path of Mark Bridge who would have been faced with a tap-in.

Al-Hilal had the better of the match but lacked a truly cutting edge and it proved to be their downfall. Without an away goal to show for their trip, the Wanderers will win the Champions League trophy with a win or draw at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh. If the Wanderers can continue their streak of scoring in away ACL matches their opponents will need at least three goals to win the tie.

The Wanderers next match is the second leg of the AFC Champions League final, against Al-Hilal at the King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh. Kick-off is at 4:30am on Sunday the 2nd of November.

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Western Sydney Wanderers vs Al-Hilal 25/10/2014 7:30PM

Oct 19 2014 02:28 PM | mack in First Team Pre-Match Articles

Western Sydney Wanderers vs Al-Hilal

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Date and Local Kick-Off Time at Stadium: Saturday 25 October 2014 - 7:30PM

Sydney Kick-Off Time: 7:30PM EDT

Round: Final

Competition: Asian Champions League

Location: Parramatta, New South Wales

Stadium: Parramatta Stadium

Click here to view the record

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Controversy Reigns In Wanderers Derby Defeat

Oct 18 2014 08:40 PM | mack in First Team Match Reports

Five goals and a red card produced numerous talking points as the Western Sydney Wanderers let a two goal lead slip against Sydney FC.

The seventh edition of the Sydney Derby was played in front of 41,213 supporters who witnessed the Western Sydney Wanderers finish the match with 9 men and 0 points after losing control of the match and being unable to overcome some dubious officiating.

Western Sydney were a goal up inside 20 minutes, Romeo Castelen left Gersback for dead and delivered a pinpoint accurate cross into the penalty area. Mark Bridge had peeled off his marker and stood on the penalty spot waiting for the cross. Bridge struck at goal with his right foot, the ball fired into the turf and gave Vedran Janjetovic no chance.

The travelling supporters were in dreamland just 5 minutes later. The Wanderers won a corner, took it quickly and the Sydney FC defence hadn't set in time, it flicked off the head of Bridge towards the back post where Ognenovski wildly swung his boot out, only to send the ball high into the night air. With a gaggle of players from both sides waiting for the ball to drop the Janjetovic the Sydney keeper made a right mess of his attempted punch, misjudging the flight of the ball, getting a weak hand that sent the ball falling backwards for one of the worst own goals in the history of the A-League.

In the dying seconds of the first half Sydney FC had a life line through Gamiero. A long ball out of defence found it's way over the head of Daniel Mullen at right fullback. The miss let Alex Brosque poke a backheel into the path of Gamiero, who placed his shot towards the far post, a slight deflection perhaps helping it find the back of the net where it otherwise would have just missed.

They had the equaliser 5 minutes into the second half, Ognenovski connecting with a tame shot after a scramble in the box. The ball deflected away as it passed through the sea of legs in the penalty area and it threw the ball in the opposite direction to Covic's dive. Protests from the Wanderers about Ibini being miles offside went unheeded, even with Ibini blocking Covic's view and holding onto the keeper there was no offside call.

The Wanderers objective from the match from winning to hoping for a draw after the loss of Saba. The Brazilian attacking midfielder received a straight red after his flying tackle on Terry Antonis was judged to have been dangerous. This despite Saba winning the ball and making the slightest of contact with Antonis. It left Western Sydney reeling, and from there Sydney FC were in control of the game. The seemingly inevitable winner for Sydney came in the 79th minute, Brosque had the ball fall to his left foot from Gamiero and it found the right hand corner of the net.

Western Sydney were reduced to 9 men following an injury late on, and with the two man disadvantage were lucky simply to get through the rest of the game without conceding another goal. The post-match press conference saw Wanderers manager Tony Popovic dismayed by the officiating for the second week after the Wanderers were denied a clear penalty against Melbourne Victory, the bad offside call on the equalising goal and Saba's dubious red card in this match didn't help their cause.

Despite the poor officiating, the Wanderers were on the back foot from the moment Gamiero scored Sydney FC's first, and the second half was yet another Derby implosion at the Sydney Football Stadium. The Wanderers have now lost the first two matches of the current A-League season and if you include the Grand Final from last season, have lost three in a row. Changes and massive improvement are required in the upcoming Asian Champions League final otherwise the 5-0 aggregate loss by Adelaide United could be in danger of being broken.

The Wanderers next match is against Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia in the Asian Champions League Final first leg at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday the 25th of October.

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Sydney FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers 18/10/2014 7:30PM

Oct 15 2014 12:34 PM | mack in First Team Pre-Match Articles

Sydney FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers

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Date and Local Kick-Off Time at Stadium: Saturday 18 October 2014 - 7:30PM

Sydney Kick-Off Time: 7:30PM EDT

Round: 2

Competition: A-League Regular Season

Location: Sydney, New South Wales

Stadium: Sydney Football Stadium

Click here to view the record

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Nikita Rukavytsya To Sign For Wanderers

Oct 12 2014 09:28 PM | mack in Wanderers Player Articles

Media reports have surfaced that the Western Sydney Wanderers have won the battle with Perth Glory for the services of Nikita Rukavytsya.

Rukavytsya, who has a couple handfuls of Australian National Team caps, was targeted by Western Messrs the Wanderers & Glory and news has leaked from the Glory camp of the rejection of their large marquee level offer.

Should the reports prove correct, the carrot of playing Asian Champions League football for the current West Asian ACL finalists looks to have secured the signature of the 27 year old forward.

Rukavytsya exploded onto the football scene in Australia, with direct and pacy runs on goal with a finish to match, big things were expected of the Ukrainian born & Perth raised striker. After securing a move to Europe following a haul of 16 goals from 42 appearances for the Glory, his career has spluttered along, averaging just 20 games a season since.

The signing perfectly complements Tony Popovic's tactical outlook, and will place a lot of pressure on the likes of Mark Bridge & Kwabena Appiah.

In addition to the reports of several young Wanderers such as Marty Lo being signed to contracts, this is likely the final signing for the Wanderers this year, at least until the next transfer window.

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