A lightning quick start for both sides turned this dead rubber contest into a spectacle early on, the game ending with late drama to see the Wanderers win 3-2 over Shanghai SIPG.
The Wanderers kicked off, and were pretty much immediately behind on the scoreboard. After losing the ball in midfield, Shanghai went straight onto the attack, and Wu Lei punished some terrible defending by Cornthwaite with a blast across Janjetovic that the keeper got a finger to but wasn't able to stop it from going in. Just 21 seconds on the clock, with the fastest Champions League goal this season, and the 3rd fastest of all time.
Western Sydney were stunned, but fought back immediately. Terry Antonis strode through a vacant Shanghai midfield, he threaded the needle to put Jumepi in on goal, and the Japanese winger tapped the ball past the onrushing keeper into the bottom corner.
In just the 6th minute, the Wanderers had scored their 2nd, and the game's third, to take the lead. Jumpei ran onto a ball lofted over the top, he cut back inside his marker, tapped the ball into the path of Steven Lustica, and he took one touch and blasted a hard shot into the roof of the near post.
21 minutes in Artiz Borda, who was only starting due to an injury to Scott Neville, produced yet another dreadful defensive display to help Shanghai draw level. One of the worst foreign defensive players to ever show up in Australia, Borda stuck out a leg and brought down the attacking Elkeson. Having won the penalty, Elkeson stepped up and placed the penalty straight down the middle as Janjetovic dived hopelessly to his right.
Just minutes before full time, Jumpei combined with Sotirio to take a late late lead. Nico Martinez scooped a delightful ball over the top, Jumpei ran onto it, chipping Shanghai keeper Sun Le, Sotirio running onto the chip to slam it home to give the Wanderers a 3-1 lead. Deep into stoppage time Shannon Cole was giving a standing ovation as he left the field for the last time as a Wanderer, although the referee wasn't too impressed with his team-mates coming to congratulate him.
The Wanderers long mediocre season has come to an end, with failure in the A-League Premiership, failure in the FFA Cup, failure in the Final Series and failure in the Asian Champions League. Tony Popovic will once again be gutting his squad, with potentially a dozen players leaving and needing to be replaced. The Wanderers ownership need to open their hefty chequebooks, and step up to ensure the Wanderers have two world class marquees for next season, with Popovic needing to look at his tactics & scouting to produce quality in defence, midfield and in attack.