The Western Sydney Wanderers Asian Champions League campaign is over with a 6-1 loss against Urawa in Japan tonight.
Tony Popovic elected to change his formation, replacing the typical 4-2-3-1 with heavily defensive 5-4-1, with Hamill coming into to help out the defensive duo of Aspro & Cornthwaite. It didn't help much at all, as Urawa took the lead in the 12th minute. Muto got in behind Hamill, then delivered a cutback to Sekine and the young star delivered a sterling right footed curling strike that beat Janjetovic's dive.
Urawa doubled their advantage in the 17th minute, Komai flying down the right wing, then nailing a defensive splitting through ball for Zlatan Ljubijankic. Janjetovic was slow to come off his line, and the covering defence of Cornthwaite was nowhere near the striker when he toe-poked past the keeper.
It took until the 32nd minute for the Wanderers to even put a shot on goal. It came through Brendon Santalab, who attempted a shot from close to 40 yards out and deep on the right wing. It sailed harmlessely over the Urawa keeper. Their first dangerous shot came a few minutes later, with Scott Neville crossing in for Santalab to head the ball onto the crossbar.
Urawa recovered after this mild period of Wanderers semi-possession, to reassert their dominance minutes before the break. Urawa passed quickly from the central defence to midfield, Komai running onto a penetrating ball before his simple cut-back to give Tadanari Lee an open goal tap-in.
5 minutes after the break the Wanderers should have pulled a goal back. Baccus stole the ball after Cornthwaite bundled into an Urawa attacker, he launched an immediate ball straight down the guts of the Urawa defence, but Santalab lobbed the ball over the bar like a poorly taken pitching wedge at a golf course.
Jumpei Kusukami, having returned to his homeland, scored a fluke of a goal in the 64th minute, as he weaved around the Urawa defence then chipped the keeper, bouncing the ball on the cross bar and having it just cross the whole of the line.
What little momentum the Wanderers had was killed off in the 71st minute, Rafael Silva killed the game as a contest as he combined with Tatanari Lee to find himself in on goal, Silva beating Janjetovic with a tidy finish on his right foot. Silva scored against in the 80th minute, with a lightning counter-attack, Silva bringing down a chipped through ball, taking a single touch before slotting it past Janjetovic.
Urawa sealed the game with a sublime 6th goal, Silva & Koroki tore the Wanderers inept defence to shreds, Silva turning away from Cornthwaite in midfield, passing to Koroki, who laid it into the box for Silva, who with his back to goal, backheeled it magnificently, and with just the keeper to beat, Koroki's first time shot passed the ball into the side netting.
The Wanderers were demolished, taken apart, split in pieces, lacerated in defence by the Urawa strike force, and at the other end of the pitch, the Wanderers didn't even get the opportunity to do their usual routine of passing it around the penalty area before losing it. This was an utter hammering, a record loss in any competition, a match that Tony Popovic will not be able to wash away with his pithy quotes and "we are getting better every week".
The final game of the season is an ACL dead rubber against Shanghai SIPG at Campbelltown on Wednesday the 10th of May at 8pm. I call on the Wanderers to open the gates and let the fans in for free, as a show of respect to those who have watched the abysmal performances from their side this year.