The Western Sydney Wanderers have lost 2-1 in their first A-League game against newcomers Western United. The Wanderers scored early through Mitch Duke but spent the rest of the game as the clear second best, letting Andrew Durante score soon after, then ex-Wanderer Kwabena Appiah scoring the winner with a neat turn on the hour mark.
Coach Markus Babbel managed to get all 5 of his foreign imports on the park at the same time for the Wanderers, the first time the club had done so in the A-League since January 1st 2019, and early it appeared to be a winning advantage. Georgievski run saw him regain possession after he knocked the ball into an opponent, he slid the ball across the penalty area to Duke, and the Wanderers Captain took a first time shot aimed back across the keeper and into the side netting for the opening goal.
The lead only lasted a handful of minutes. Despite a bit of confusion from the officials, Western United took up a corner, the ball was swung in deep to the far post. Daniel Lopar stayed on his line. Central defender Andrew Durante had made his way forward for the set piece and was rewarded, he rose high above a poor attempted challenge by Georgievski, slamming the ball past the despairing dive of Lopar and rocketing it into the goal.
Just two minutes into the second half, yet another VAR controversy blew up, once again Lopar and his position on the goal-line came into question. The Wanderers let Diamante turn back onto his left foot, his cross arced to the 6 yard box & was met by Scott McDonald who somehow found Lopar when it would have been easier to score in the gaping hole to either side of the keeper. Lopar was deep on the line and the viewers were treated to a 5 minute long spectacle of the VAR busting out the set square, protractor and photoshop tools in an effort to determine if the whole of the ball had crossed the line, only to eventually decide that the ruling on the field stood.
It didn't make much of a difference as Appiah put the home side in front in the 58th minute. Ersan Gulum's wild mis-hit shot luckily found the feet of Appiah, whose first touch left Patrick Ziegler left for dead on the turn and on his knees. The second touch was a sweeping blow 8 yards out, that rolled past Lopar to nestle in the corner.
Despite going behind the Wanderers had precious little in the way of attack, and both star players Muller & Meier made their way off before the game ended. The substitutes, including debutante Jake Trew didn't have the answers, and the Wanderers fell to their first defeat of the A-League season, along with a drop to 3rd place on the A-League ladder.
The Wanderers have a bye in Round 6, their next game is in Round 7 against Melbourne City, on Friday November 22nd at the Western Sydney Stadium, kick-off at 7:30pm.