A brace from substitute Brendon Santalab has given the Western Sydney Wanderers an audacious come from behind win over Adelaide United.
In a feisty and spirited Round 2 opener, the Wanderers had the better of the first half, but came into the break behind on the scoreboard. In the 42nd minute Mitch Nichols lost the ball in an attacking position, and Adelaide broke quickly down the right flank. With Clisby out of position, Aspro slide across but couldn't stop Ryan Kitto from beating him on the outside. The cut-back found ex-Roar striker Henrique, and he scored on his home debut.
The second half introductions of Nico Martinez & supersub Brendon Santalab utterly turned the game around. With Nichols having a less than stellar game, and Bulut having more offsides than shots on goal, the subs combined with the rest of the Wanderers attack to hold the ball & string together passes in the final third and they had their reward in the 67th minute. Nico's refusal to panic in a right back position saw him find Jumpei, and from there Clisby tore down the left flank before finding an unmarked Nichols. Santalab pounced at the near post to turn the ball behind Eugene Galekovic for the equaliser.
Santalab inspired the Wanderers to take all three points, his crunching tackle on James Holland rattled the home side and from then on the visitors had the advantage. Santalab then silenced the Adelaide crowd with his 91st minute winner. Nichols tracked back & stole the ball from Isaias, found Jumpei who played a neat through ball back to Nichols who threaded a pass through the legs of Tarek Elrich & bisected two Adelaide defenders to Santalab, who stroked home with his sweet left foot.
The Wanderers took liberties that other referees may have punished more harshly than the two yellow cards incurred, but the side showed grit & determination, two qualities that were sorely lacking against Melbourne City & in the derby last week. The continued introduction of Nico into the starting lineup should help stabilise the squad & their ball retention, and give Bulut, if he starts again, better service than he received in his stint tonight. All in all, it was a performance punctuated with flying tackles & blistering counter-attacks and left Adelaide stunned.