The Western Sydney Wanderers launched their competitive 2019/20 A-League season with a massive 2-1 FFA Cup Round of 32 game win against Perth Glory at the Dorrien Gardens in Perth tonight, setting up a Round of 16 clash against Sydney United.
The opening was frantic but directionless, the major action coming in the form of two yellow cards, one to Primin Schwegler of the Wanderers and the other to Jacob Tratt for Perth. Radoslaw Majewski had the first shot in anger for the Wanderers, a long range effort from a free kick that sailed harmlessly into the netting protecting the housing units behind the goal.
Perth nearly took the lead in the 17th minute. Chris Harold released Joel Chianese down the Wanderers left flank, Tarek Elrich being far too slow to keep up, the wing-forward fired in a low cross that Tass Mourdoukoutas lunged out in an effort to prevent a tap-in for Bruno Fornaroli. The deflection could have gone anywhere but it thankfully fell to the feet of keeper Daniel Lopar and the danger was cleared. Western Sydney were forced into an early sub after 20 minutes, Kosta Grozos was levelled from behind in a cynical challenge, clearly in pain and unable to continue. Nick Sullivan, a very recent signing was introduced in his place. Adam Fielding's poor officiating continued as he let the injurious challenge go without a yellow card.
The Glory had the ball in the back of the net in the 28th minute but were denied by the official's whistle. Harold lobbed a cross into the 6 yard box, Fornaroli had no eyes for the ball and instead clattered into Mourdoukoutas from behind, a foul that even a blind referee would have picked out easily. It fell to the back post and was promptly tucked home but to no avail. Lopar made a neat save from Harold, the striker turned his marker and fired down to the left that Lopar got a strong hand to keep out. 5 minutes before the break the Wanderers flashed the ball across the face of goal. Dylan McGowan rose high from a corner, glancing the ball down past the Perth defence but the desperate lunge of Kwame Yeboah missed connecting what would have been an almost certain goal. Not long after Yeboah was the recipient of a well worked move by Sullivan and Kamau but the strike from the edge of the area rolled agonisingly wide. Perth finished the half strongly in stoppage time, but the two sides headed to the break even at 0-0.
Neil Kilkenny had a free kick in the 57th minute, well struck but never curled back in toward goal. The Wanderers attacked down the left flank through Yeboah, his cut-back found a Perth foot, but it wasn't clearly appropriately and the end result was a speculative shot on goal from Daniel Georgievski that sailed over the crossbar. Lopar made another neat save down to his left on the hour mark, Nick D'Agostino scuffed a shot into the turf that bounced dangerously in front of the keeper who held his nerve and cleared it out for a corner.
Perth Glory bought on Diego Castro with just over 20 minutes to go, and the Wanderers responded by taking off early early substitute Nick Sullivan for Mo Adam. Adam had his first strike of the game in the 82nd minute, free on the edge of the area but firing over the top. The second half was intense but without cutting edge from either team, the game still level at 0-0 as the match headed into extra-time.
Just a couple minutes in to bonus football Mo Adam received a gift in the penalty arc after Perth failed to clear. With a short backlift he blasted the ball into towards the top corner and was denied by a good save from Liam Reddy. Despite the Wanderers having the better of possession, the first 15 minutes of extra time failed to product a score.
The 108th minute finally saw the deadlock broken. The Wanderers broke down the right hand side through Bruce Kamau, after he beat a pair of defenders he laid it into the path of Adam. With one touch to bring the ball out from under him, Adam smashed a left footed strike into the bottom corner leaving Reddy completely without a chance.
114 minutes in and Perth were level. Perth got lucky as they tracked down an over hit cross on the left flank, the return cross found the unlikely feet of Tomi Mrcela, he fired in a kung-fu kick that took an unlucky deflection that beat Lopar all ends up.
Almost as soon as Perth had finished celebrating did the Wanderers regain the lead. Adam continued his stellar performance off the bench by firing in a low cross to the Glory near post, Reddy made a complete mess of the ball, allowing himself to be pressured by Kamau into spilling it onto the goal line, where Yeboah was the man on the spot to complete the finish from an inch from goal making it 2-1 to the visitors. Perth huffed and puffed but weren't capable of making a clear cut chance and the reigning A-League Premiers were bundled out, following Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory out the Cup door on the night.
The Wanderers progression into the Round of 16 was immediately followed by the draw and the fixture list is as follows: Brisbane Roar vs Central Coast Mariners, Moreland Zebras vs Magpie Crusaders, Adelaide Olympic vs Hume City, Brisbane Strikers vs Manly United, Marconi Fairfield vs Melbourne City, Olympic FC vs Adelaide United, Edgeworth Eagles vs Newcastle Jets and Sydney United vs Western Sydney Wanderers.