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ACL Semi-Final Evenly Poised After 0-0 First Leg

Sep 17 2014 10:35 PM | mack in First Team Match Reports

An enthralling Asian Champions League Semi-Final contest between Seoul & the Western Sydney Wanderers finished 0-0 tonight.

The scoreless draw sees the equation for the return leg at Parramatta a simple one. For Seoul, any score draw or a win will see them through to the final, while the Wanderers will progress with any victory, while penalties loom large should the 0-0 scoreline repeat in Sydney.

The visiting Wanderers had the better of the opening stages, Labinot Haliti, who was replacing the suspended Tomi Juric up-front had a surging run in the 7th minute, despite being drawn wide he fired a shot in that Sang-Hun Yun was able to comfortably handle. Seoul were content to absorb early pressure and hit on the counter and with the Wanderers failing to find the right passes, the Koreans hit back with several chances on the quarter hour.

The first was a goalmouth scramble after Koh escaped a raft of attention, the ball bobbling to the advantage of Escudero. His shot deflected from Antony Golec who was lucky to only concede a corner. Minutes later a disastrous mixup between Hamill & Topor-Stanley, who both failed to heed the golden rule of defending by letting the ball bounce, saw Escudero clean through on goal, only for Hamill to race back and get a toe on the ball.

Saba had the best shot of the half for the Wanderers when he was given acres of room to launch a rocket from well outside the area that sliced off the boot and went wide.

Right before the interval Ante Covic had a heart in mouth moment when he allowed the ball to squeeze out from under him, thankfully the onrushing Korean striker was attacking the near post and not the far, otherwise he would have had a tap-in.

Seoul looked to press Western Sydney, making a double switch at the break. With precious little to split the two teams, the Wanderers began to lose control of their passing range, wastefully giving away possession in dangerous areas from multiple players. Cha Du-Ri and Kwang-Min Ko menaced the flanks but their delivery quality was lacking.

Vitor Saba showed his class as the clock ticked to 10 minutes remaining, after gliding past several challenges he launched an audacious lobbed pass that floated into the penalty area, and had Mark Bridge been in a better body position, it could have lead to a shot on target.

Into added time, Everton Santos blazed a fierce strike that had Covic at full stretch to turn over the bar. It was the last major action of the game, an absorbing contest between the two evenly matched and equally resolute semi-finalists. While the Wanderers controlled the early stages, Seoul turned the screws late on and were unlucky not to create another golden chance after Escudero fluffed his lines earlier in the night. Both teams will feel they have what it takes to win through to the Final, and there is still everything to play for.

The Wanderers next match is the second leg of the Asian Champions League Semi-Final against FC Seoul, at Parramatta Stadium, 7:30pm on Wednesday the 1st of October 2014.

Follow the @WestSydney twitter page and our Facebook Page for A-League news & discussion.

To vote on the Player of the Match visit this page and select your best and second best Wanderers players.

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FC Seoul vs Western Sydney Wanderers 17/9/14 7:30PM

Sep 15 2014 07:54 PM | mack in First Team Pre-Match Articles

FC Seoul vs Western Sydney Wanderers


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Date and Local Kick-Off Time at Stadium: Wednesday 17 September 2014 - 7:30PM


Sydney Kick-Off Time: 8:30PM EST


Round: Semi Final


Competition: Asian Champions League


Location: Seoul, South Korea


Stadium: Seoul World Cup Stadium


Click here to view the record

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Al Jazira Club vs Western Sydney Wanderers 7/9/14 7:30PM

Sep 05 2014 11:55 PM | mack in First Team Pre-Match Articles

Al Jazira Club vs Western Sydney Wanderers


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Date and Local Kick-Off Time at Stadium: Sunday 7 September 2014 - 7:30PM


Sydney Kick-Off Time: 1:30AM September 8th EST


Round: Match 2


Competition: IPIC Championship


Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


Stadium: Armed Forces Officers Club Stadium


Click here to view the record

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East Riffa Club vs Western Sydney Wanderers 4/9/14 7:30PM

Aug 30 2014 06:15 PM | mack in First Team Pre-Match Articles

East Riffa Club vs Western Sydney Wanderers


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Date and Local Kick-Off Time at Stadium: Thursday 4 September 2014 - 7:30PM


Sydney Kick-Off Time: 1:30AM September 5th EST


Round: Match 1


Competition: IPIC Championship


Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


Stadium: Armed Forces Officers Club Stadium


Click here to view the record

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Wanderers Into ACL Semi-Final On Away Goals!

Aug 27 2014 11:54 PM | mack in First Team Match Reports

The Western Sydney Wanderers will face FC Seoul in the Asian Champions League Semi-Final after they progressed in the Quarter Final tie against Guangzhou Evergrande on the away goals rule.

Following the 1-0 win in Parramatta, and despite the 2-1 loss on the night, an away goal to Tomi Juric gave Western Sydney victory in a nerve racking tie in China.

Goalkeeper Ante Covic was the hero in the first half with his penalty save. Covic spared the blushes of Iacopo La Rocca who felled Elkeson in the penalty box with an utterly dreadful tackle reminiscent of the one by Lucas Neill against Italy in the World Cup in Germany. Gilardino stepped up to the spot only to be denied by Covic, his penalty was a poor one, almost straight down the middle but with no power or height he effectively hit the strike straight at the Wanderers number 1.

The Wanderers were placed under immense pressure in the second half, but found their vital goal through a penalty of their own. The Evergrande defence were lulled into a false sense of security by Juric being in an offside position, it let Bridge stroll unopposed into the box and he was taken out in a woeful challenge by opposition keeper Zeng Cheng, who received the most red card worthy yellow card I've seen in years.

Juric blasted his penalty to the right side netting to give his side a 1-0 lead on the night and a 2-0 lead on aggregate. Unfortunately for the Wanderers, it looked like the referee gave Juric his own yellow card for the post-goal celebration, and if so, Juric will miss the first leg against Seoul.

The drama was far from over though as Guangzhou immediately pegged the Wanderers back when Diamanti, who was best player on the park for the ACL winners of last year, took advantage of a flick-on that left him wide open for a neat finish under the legs of Covic.

Hearts in mouth time came halfway through the four minutes of stoppage as Guangzhou threatened a miracle escape by scoring their second on the night through Elkeson who had a tap-in at the back post after a goal-line scramble.

The 120 seconds remaining seemed like an eternity, but stoic possession by the Wanderers kept the ball in their attacking half and several fouls later full time was blown, sending the Wanderers into the semi-final in their first appearance in the Asian Champions League via the majestic away goals rule.

The win was the best loss in the history of the club, their progression into the semi-final has only been matched by Australian clubs once, with Adelaide United, who also managed to progress through to the final in the 2008 edition of the competition.

The current ACL schedule, if followed, will see the Wanderers play FC Seoul in Korea in the first leg on the 17th of September, with the return leg on the 1st of October. There are rumours that the club will be playing a friendly tournament in the middle east but there has been no official confirmation as yet.

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