Wanderers restore Australian football pride with Shanghai win

By Emma Kemp, Emma Kemp is a Roar Guru

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    Western Sydney have salvaged some pride from their dead-and-buried Asian Champions League campaign, defeating big-spending Shanghai SIPG 3-2 in their final group game.

    Jaushua Sotirio scored the 89th-minute winner to break a 2-2 deadlock that lasted more than an hour on Wednesday night and give the Wanderers their second win of the tournament.

    In a frantic start, the hosts found themselves down 1-0 after just 21 seconds, before racing back to a 2-1 lead five minutes later.

    It was a remarkable turnaround for Tony Popovic’s men, who copped the third-fastest goal in ACL history when Wu Lei struck from just inside the area from the kick-off.

    By the third minute Jumpei Kusukami had brought the hosts level, latching onto a Terry Antonis ball and firing home before the Japanese import set up Steven Lustica for the Wanderers’ second in the sixth minute.

    It sent the small Red and Black Bloc contingent into flare-ignited raptures at Campbelltown Stadium, where 5271 had turned out for the dead-rubber match that doubled as a farewell to departing foundation player Shannon Cole.

    “This game shows how good a group we have,” Popovic said.

    “We had nothing to play for, we lost 6-1 in our last match (against Urawa Red Diamonds) and the players could easily have taken it easy in this period.

    “But they deserved that tonight. To concede so early against such opposition and come back and win in the end is a credit to all of them.”

    Predictably, SIPG coach Andre Villas-Boas didn’t risk his star Brazilians Oscar and Hulk given his Chinese Super League giants are already safely through to the knockout stages.

    And with nothing on the line for either side, the contest was played with a jaunty freedom underpinned by brittle defence at both ends.

    Perth-bound Scott Neville was a late pullout, leaving Jonathan Aspropotamitis to play out of position at right-back.

    Aritz Borda plugged the gap in central defence, where he botched a tackle on Elkeson to concede a 23rd-minute penalty that the Brazilian striker duly converted.

    A cagier second half allowed for few openings but Jumpei notched another assist late, chipped over SIPG’s onrushing goalkeeper for Sotirio to prod home and leave their opponents to finish second in Group F.

    “The game started in a crazy way, totally unexpected,” Villas-Boas said.

    “Eventually it evened itself out. We didn’t deserved to lose. The game was coming to a finish at 2-2 and I thought that result would give us first place.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • May 11th 2017 @ 7:04am
      Paul said | May 11th 2017 @ 7:04am | ! Report

      Well that gives the Red & Black the highest points (6) of all the A-League teams ahead of the Roar (5) and Adelaide (4).
      Poor defending resulted in a very negative goal difference but was the same as Brisbane.
      Both Wanderers wins off the back of 7-10 day breaks.

    • Roar Guru

      May 11th 2017 @ 10:20am
      Kaks said | May 11th 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

      It’s funny what a decent starting line-up that play’s to the strength’s of players like Nico and Jumpei can do.

    • Roar Rookie

      May 11th 2017 @ 5:01pm
      Stevo said | May 11th 2017 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

      I’m assuming this was the warm-up game before the AFL blockbuster?

      • May 11th 2017 @ 6:30pm
        Paul said | May 11th 2017 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

        Bit hard to ne a warm-up for “Australian Rules Handball” when the game was held in western Sydney (Campbelltown).

        I’m just waiting for the Chinese to laugh them out of Shanghai.

        • May 11th 2017 @ 7:29pm
          BigAl said | May 11th 2017 @ 7:29pm | ! Report

          Durrrhhh!! ???

          • May 11th 2017 @ 7:48pm
            punter said | May 11th 2017 @ 7:48pm | ! Report

            One mere mention of the game that discovered women’s sport or the game that took pro sport to China for the first time & the fanboys come a running.

            • May 11th 2017 @ 8:51pm
              BigAl said | May 11th 2017 @ 8:51pm | ! Report

              . . . I am your personal trainer !

    • May 11th 2017 @ 7:23pm
      marcel said | May 11th 2017 @ 7:23pm | ! Report

      …and 11 players out the door today.

      Just how will long the club be able to accept Poppa burning down the house at the end of each season

      • May 11th 2017 @ 8:09pm
        Realfootball said | May 11th 2017 @ 8:09pm | ! Report

        Been wondering that for some time.

      • May 11th 2017 @ 8:57pm
        Nemesis said | May 11th 2017 @ 8:57pm | ! Report

        Just out of interest.

        Which of the 10 ALeague clubs, or which ALeague coach, has a better performance over the past 5 years than WSW?

      • May 12th 2017 @ 8:27am
        pauly said | May 12th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

        1st season – premier’s plate and grand finalist
        2nd season – qualify for knockout rounds of ACL on debut and grand finalist
        3rd season – Asian champions though lowly finish in HAL
        4th season – grand finalist
        5th season – elimination final

        Yeah that’s mediocrity alright. Newcastle fans would give up their eye teeth for that kind of “rubbish”.

        • May 12th 2017 @ 3:05pm
          Josh said | May 12th 2017 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

          It isn’t acceptable pauly, we believe we are football heartland so the results aren’t reflecting the area.

          3 gf losses is unacceptable.

          • May 12th 2017 @ 5:00pm
            Nanco said | May 12th 2017 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

            And now 8 players have left the club and the last 2012 foundation member has gone – and I thought RL had a significant player churn – this game must be tough…

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