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Wanderers Scrape Past Blacktown Into Cup Semi-Final

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The Western Sydney Wanderers finally managed to pick up a shootout win after a tale of two halves in Blacktown tonight. Despite going through after a 2-2 draw in extra time, followed by a 4-2 shootout win, the Wanderers suffered the same tactical shortcomings that saw them finish 6th last season, including a glacial tempo in attack, poor ball control from Jaushua Sotirio, and wasting multiple set pieces with pointless, telegraphed short corners.

The match was only minutes old when the Wanderers took control. Jumpei Kusukami strutted into the penalty area before being chopped down by Yuta Kanagawa to give the Wanderers a shot from the penalty spot. Marquee striker Oriol Riera took the ball as a good forward should, and fired down the middle, beating Tristan Prendergast who had dived to his right.

Blacktown City had precious little ball in the Wanderers half, and they were lucky to not head into the break 2, 3 or even 4 goals behind. Roly Bonevacia in particular had two clear cut chances to double the lead, but his accuracy & composure was poor and he wasted the chances.

The home side sprang to life after the break, looking far better than their A-League opponents. The Wanderers had the ball deep in the Blacktown half, before a short passing move broke down and allowed Blacktown to break with a long ball over the top to James Andrew, he cut inside Jonathan Aspro and fired past Vedran Janjetovic. Despite looking the better side, Blacktown were very unlucky not to win the game in normal time.

Extra time added two more goals to the scoreline, Blacktown took the lead as their winger tore past a static Josh Risdon, headed into the area & laid the ball on a gold platter for Andrew to pickup a brace with a tap-in.

Tony Popovic threw caution to the wind, adjusting his formation to a traditional 4-4-2, putting Lachlan Scott alongside Oriol Riera, and the combination eventually combined to build a successful attack. Josh Risdon launched a cross deep from the right flank, and marquee striker Oriol Riera rose once again to head the ball home, scoring his own brace, and drawing the two sides level.

The Wanderers couldn't find a winner, and Blacktown nearly stole it with a shot that squeezed under Janjetovic but was cleared right off the line, and the match went to penalties.

Blacktown fell apart in the shootout. Joey Gibbs blasted the first shot into low earth orbit & Daniel Arajuo failed from the spot with their second, while the Wanderers were clinical, Mark Bridge, Lachlan Scott & Steven Lustica setup a 3-2 lead for Riera to cap off his wonderful match by firing the winner past the outstanding Tristan Prendergast to send the Wanderers into the FFA Cup Semi-Final for the first time.

Straight after the game the draw was undertaken, and the two semi-finals will be South Melbourne FC of the Victorian NPL against Sydney FC, with the Wanderers hosting Adelaide United.


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Our better squad might help us climb into the top 4 this season but no further if we continue with the same tactics as last season. Too slow to move the ball, largely because of a dearth of movement in attack. 

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Can't comment on anything post 90 mins, but we should have put the game to bed in the first half. Yes their keeper made some great saves, but our finishing was still shite and that's a worry.

I think we're missing a Nico type player in the midfield, all our creativity is through the flanks now. Roly is not anywhere near Nico's level in terms of being able to assist tbh.

At least we've got a striker who scores regularly. That and the fact that we have a few good players to come in makes me fairly confident. 

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1 minute ago, luisenrique said:

Can't comment on anything post 90 mins, but we should have put the game to bed in the first half. Yes their keeper made some great saves, but our finishing was still shite and that's a worry.

I think we're missing a Nico type player in the midfield, all our creativity is through the flanks now. Roly is not anywhere near Nico's level in terms of being able to assist tbh.

At least we've got a striker who scores regularly. That and the fact that we have a few good players to come in makes me fairly confident. 

I think that Lustica should be trialled in the AM against Vi$ion on Friday.

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3 minutes ago, Paul01 said:

I think that Lustica should be trialled in the AM against Vi$ion on Friday.

Yeah I was gonna say, I think he's the closest fit atm. He has been one of our better players in pre-season, and even at the end of last season he did pretty well at AM. He's no left winger but he deserves a shot in the middle.

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3 minutes ago, luisenrique said:

Can't comment on anything post 90 mins, but we should have put the game to bed in the first half. Yes their keeper made some great saves, but our finishing was still shite and that's a worry.

I think we're missing a Nico type player in the midfield, all our creativity is through the flanks now. Roly is not anywhere near Nico's level in terms of being able to assist tbh.

At least we've got a striker who scores regularly. That and the fact that we have a few good players to come in makes me fairly confident. 

Agree a hundred percent on our shooting. I was watching it during practice and was shaking my head. 

 

I don't think we're missing Nico though. Roly is good and should improve with more time with the team. Nico rarely played at AM anyway and provided very few more assists than any other starting attacker. 

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Watched the game via a VPN link here in UK. 

Sotirio was proper rubbish

How does he get a contract while Mitch Malia plays NPL? malia killed us 

Clisby badly beaten in lead up to their second.

reira is the real deal isn't he

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1 minute ago, luisenrique said:

Yeah I was gonna say, I think he's the closest fit atm. He has been one of our better players in pre-season, and even at the end of last season he did pretty well at AM. He's no left winger but he deserves a shot in the middle.

Popa also didn't pick a lot of the veterans in the squad, most probably due to the synthetic pitch. 

So we were missing Cornthwaite, Herd, Santalab, Cejudo and Llorente.

against Adelaide Popa will have to nullify their 4-1-4-1 formation (also used by Okon in our home loss to the Mariners.

i expect our best starting XI and bench in the SF.

at the moment,

......................Vedran

Risdon......Cornthwaite....Thwaite........Llorente

..................Baccus Snr.........Herd

Cejudo...........Bonevacia.............Bridge

.......................Riera

Bench. Santalab, Lustica, Clisby, Hall, Aspro

Clisby would come on for Bridge at LB and Llorente to LW. Fully imported front third.

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Very disappointed at our performance tonight and the lack of food options available

Only highlight was meeting up with the WSF scarf cool kids club

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It was a great night out. Got to love suburban grounds. I bet Blacktown didn't make the decision to not serve booze, I assume that was the police and/or FFA. Would've made a motzer otherwise.

We controlled the first half, without being able to actually put away our chances. Sotirio and Jumpei (surprise surprise) were both very frustrating. Shocking second half though. The squad obviously still needs work (and for our best 11 to actually play).

Full credit to Blacktown in the second half and beyond. They were the better team after the break and probably deserved the win.

Glad to see a clinical penalty shootout, going second was actually advantageous for once as the pressure was on Blacktown after Gibbs missed their first.

It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win. However, if we play like that against Adelaide, they will destroy us.

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Sotirio provided another s*ithouse performance. I'm glad Popa didn't use Hamill because our defence was below par this evening. There was times Risdon, Clisby or Aspro had moved too far forward and just gave Blacktown an opening.

Bonevacia's performance wasn't up to standard tonight as Mack mentioned. Not sure what happened to him.

I don't see Jumpei being with us next year, especially with the 4+1 asian marquee being introduced next season I think we'll look for an asian winger that's equivalent to something like Bridge 2.0 (I would say Cejudo but we haven't witnessed him on the paddock as of yet, even though his previous performance in La Liga looks amazing).

Baccus has improved significantly and he really earned the armband tonight, I'm assuming he'll be vice-captain for this upcoming season? or would you give it to Bridge or Santa?

Overall, I still say we a top 4 team, we will definitely see the lads reach the final series.  

Also, the Blacktown City boys shouldn't be too upset with their performance tonight, hats off to them. Mallia is amazing, definitely would swap him for Sotirio

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Oh yeah, play of the game was the RBB breaking the fence behind the goalposts during Riera's equaliser.

I bet the media would try and make out that the RBB did "damages to the ground" again. :rolleyes:

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Fences are a problem across multiple football teams.

Newcastle, SFC, WSW, Blacktown, Mariners... it's a disgrace I tells ya.

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24 minutes ago, xxBrandonxx said:

Whats going on with Cejudo? 

He played the 1st half of the trial against St George during the middle of last week. 

That's the only minutes he's played since he got crook in the lead up to the Bentleigh Greens match

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5 hours ago, MathyouWSW said:

Sotirio provided another s*ithouse performance.   

Also, the Blacktown City boys shouldn't be too upset with their performance tonight, hats off to them. Mallia is amazing, definitely would swap him for Sotirio

I'd swap my grandmother for Sotirio. And she's dead.

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Just shows the level between HAL and NPL is getting much closer.

Throw in a couple of foreigners to Blacktown, full-time training and they would be competitive in AL.

 

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Wasn't it a static Clisby that got torn past for their 2nd?

First half I was cursing the lack of finishing. Second, looking at which players from our team I'd swap for theirs. By the end, I didn't care about our quality - was just enjoying a great cup tie (might not have said that had we lost...)

Roly is playing how I thought he played at Wellington - not involved enough, looks like he could do something but doesn't. He has to start making an impact, his position is too important not to. A fit Bridge is a better option (though is he a bit "stockier" than previous?), he is a smart player, gets into decent spots, sets up teammates, and when he gets a chance he will finish more often than not.

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7 hours ago, Unlimited said:

Does anyone know why police/security raided the RBB twice?

Yeah and what was with the incessant announcements about running on the pitch?

 

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33 minutes ago, Stokz said:

Just shows the level between HAL and NPL is getting much closer.

Throw in a couple of foreigners to Blacktown, full-time training and they would be competitive in AL.

 

Isn't that the point of the FFA Cup?

Lower tier teams playing at the peak of their season, going up against top tier teams playing out of their season.

This makes NPL teams as competitive as possible, and hopefully one day leading to a Final with a Non A-League team, or 2.

A.k.a 'The Magic of the Cup'.

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Highlight was breaking the fence celebrating Riera's second goal.

Blacktown looked good and maybe deserved to win but I'm glad we got through.

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For about 20 minutes we looked sharp and composed, and then it all started to break down. If some of the early shots go in (and their 'keeper had a big game), it would have been a one-way street, but it was reminiscent of last year where we lost our way after dominating teams for possession and position. Poor choices, poor shots, and not much in the way of adjustment, and they seemed to run out of ideas. Sotirio is a total dud, and as much as people have a chubby for Baccus, he stalls the play over and over because he doesn't seem to have any intent before the ball comes to him. It's great to play a few sharp balls through the middle, but when the option is on - not when the target has three players on him.

Clisby had a poor night, and Aspro looked like he was never sure what he should be doing with the ball. With Cejudo and Llorente to come in, and Cornflakes and Herd seeming like certain starting 11, it's not sackcloth and ashes time yet, but gee last night was frustrating. We just lacked someone who could take the game on and shake things up. I hope Roly turns into that.

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6 minutes ago, 2549_1494053217 said:

We always been slow starters.

 

We've had a full strength team for a while now, we should be putting NPL teams to the sword, especially 3 weeks out from the A-League season. Yeah, Blacktown are a quality team but claiming we're "slow starters" is a cop out I hear every year.

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Frustrating night in many ways but a decent cup tie to boot. We started positively and really should have been 3 up in the first 30 minutes as Blacktown never got a look in. Lack of finishing in that period then lead to sloppy play for much of the rest of the game which let Blacktown right back in it. It had that Blacktown v Mariners look about it. It was almost as if we were treating it as a training game from the 30 minute mark. Once again Sotirio failed to impress (I don't know what Gombau sees in him) and Jumpei faded after an encouraging start. Clisby is becoming a bit of a worry so lets hope the new Spanish guys hit their straps soon.

Anyway, for my $20 I got an extended session and a happy ending :xnod:

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