Western Sydney Wanderers more than made up for their inability to close out a pre-season friendly against Shimizu S-Pulse last week by routing Chinese Super League side Guangzhou R&F 5-0 at the Sanshui Training Base. Brendon Santalab opened the scoring before a pair of braces from Labinot Haliti and Youssouf Hersi gave the Australian visitors a comprehensive victory.
Sven-Göran Eriksson's team are up to fifth place in the CSL, currently just five points out of qualifying for the Asian Champions League. Yet Western Sydney dominated the big spending Chinese club throughout. 16-year-old Martin Lo, who is part of the Wanderers' National Youth League set-up assisted on Santalab's opener before Haliti got going. Once the 27-year-old could take advantage of substitute Aaron Mooy's passing in the second half, Haliti took over the game offensively. Goals in the 51st and 58th minutes ensued, the latter assisted by new boy Dean Heffernan, put the game well out of reach just before the hour.
A second group of substitutes entered at the 60th minute, including Tomi Juric and regular starters Hersi, Michael Beauchamp and Mark Bridge. Of the key players to enter with just thirty minutes left, it was Hersi who left the biggest imprint on the Wanderers' short stay in China. Two goals came in the game's final third as Western Sydney finished with a dominant score line to go with the complete performance.
Said Hersi afterward, in a club press release:
"I was lucky because I only came on for the last 30 minutes, as it was really hot here, and I got two goals. The trip has been very good for our experience, first of all in Japan and now in China. While it is very hot it is good to be here in preparation for the Champions League.
"All the stuff on this trip, the traveling, meeting the new players and seeing what it is like playing here, everything is a new experience for us and we are learning, which is good."
Western Sydney conclude WanderTour 2013 back in Japan with a game at the Tama City Stadium against J-League 2 side Tokyo Verdy on September 12 before returning to Australia two days later.
WSW Santalab (Lo) 32'
WSW Haliti (Mooy) 51'
WSW Haliti (Heffernan) 58'
WSW Hersi (Juric) 68'
WSW Hersi (Mooy) 88'
Western Sydney: Tyson (Covic 46’); D’Apuzzo (Olsen 46’), Topor-Stanley (La Rocca 46’), Cole (Beauchamp 60’), Minniecon (Heffernan 46’); Poljak (Mooy 46’), Appiah (Hersi 60’), Lo (Trifiro 46’); Santalab (Polenz 46’), Haliti (Juric 60’), McGing (Bridge 60’)
Unused Substitutes: Ono