For the third time in as many Champions League games, Western Sydney Wanderers scored a goal in the first ten minutes. And for the second straight game, the Wanderers made that early goal stand in a 1-0 victory. On Wednesday night at Parramatta Stadium, Western Sydney held off Kawasaki Frontale thanks to Labinot Haliti's third minute goal and added three more points to an impressive debut Asian campaign. Ulsan Hyundai and Guizhou Renhe drew 1-1 in Korea in Group H's other Wednesday game.
Kwabena Appiah and Tomi Juric combined to set up Haliti in a remade Wanderers line-up. Tony Popovic was forced to make changes with five games in barely more than two weeks, and those changes paid off against Kawasaki. Juric came closest to doubling the lead when his overhead shot was dramatically saved by Yohei Nishibe in the second half, but it was Western Sydney's defensive mettle that was most impressive over the duration of the game.
Now on six points, the Wanderers are done with Champions League until the return match at the Todoroki Athletics Stadium in Kawasaki on Tuesday April 1. Back in the A-League, Western Sydney will try to get back into second place (and a return to the Champions League next season) with a home game against Perth Glory on Sunday March 23.