Parramatta Stadium

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Western Sydney FC

  • Dino Kresinger 16'
  • Shinji Ono 72'

2 - 0


Wanderers on brink of miracle

Western Sydney Wanderers captain Michael Beauchamp holds the Premiers' Plate after the victory over Brisbane Roar

They've already created history and worldwide headlines and now the Western Sydney Wanderers are just 90 minutes away from completing a sporting miracle.

Just over 12 months after they were hurriedly thrown together, the Wanderers surged into the A-League grand final after knocking out defending champions Brisbane with a 2-0 win in front of a delirious 19,369-strong crowd at Parramatta Stadium.

Now they'll face the victors from Sunday's Central Coast and Melbourne Victory clash in the April 21 decider at Allianz Stadium.

The Wanderers came into Friday night's semi-final on the back of a 12-game unbeaten run which included a record 10 straight wins, having secured the Premiers' Plate to become the first expansion club in Australian sporting history to win silverware in their inaugural year.

But some wondered if the rookie club would be able to overcome the pressure-filled finals atmosphere and beat seasoned campaigners and back-to-back champions the Roar.

First-time head coach Tony Popovic and his unstoppable charges had no such doubts.

Croatian striker Dino Kresinger opened the scoring but it was Japanese star Shinji Ono's goal that will feature in highlight reels for years to come.

The marquee signing displayed his sublime skills to catch Roar 'keeper Michael Theo completely off guard with an audacious left-foot chip into the back of the net from outside the box.

Roar coach Mike Mulvey was left in awe of Ono, calling his strike "a moment of genius".

Mulvey, whose side has lost all four encounters with the Wanderers, offered little advice to whichever team faces them in the final.

"There's no team that's pressed us and pressured us like they have," he said.

"I think they've got the meanest defence in the league and, if you give goals to a team like that who have such self belief in terms of the way they're structured defensively, they're going to be hard to break down.

"But on any given day, any team is beatable.

"I think the biggest thing in the opposition's favour next week will be that the game won't be here (Parramatta Stadium)."

Nicknamed 'Wanderland', Parramatta Stadium has become a real fortress for Western Sydney but Popovic isn't fazed by the change of venue for the final, having won their only match at Allianz Stadium - a 2-0 win over Sydney FC in December.

Nor is he fazed by either possible opponent.

"I'd be happy to win it anywhere," he said.

"It's nice that it's in Sydney. Our last match there was a victory and we hope to do it again.

"You've got two top sides with two excellent managers and whoever we go up against will be worthy of being there.

"I'll enjoy watching that game on Sunday knowing that we're already there."

Popovic feels confident key midfielder Aaron Mooy (knee) will be fit for the grand final but isn't too certain about defender Jerome Polenz, who was substituted off after aggravating his quad injury.

However, a huge blow will be the loss of crafty midfielder Youssouf Hersi, who will be banned from the grand final after being sent off for a second yellow card on Friday.

Youngster Kwabena Appiah-Kubi seems like the most likely replacement

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Scoring Summary

  • Western Sydney FC
  • Brisbane Roar

Match Stats

  • Western Sydney FC
  • Brisbane Roar
11(6) Shots (on goal) 12(3)
15 Fouls 14
7 Corner kicks 8
0 Offsides 1
0% Time of Possession 0%
2 Yellow Cards 3
1 Red Cards 0
3 Saves 4


  • Western Sydney FC
  • Brisbane Roar
Yellow Cards
Red Cards