Tomi Juric's first leg penalty for Western Sydney Wanderers turns out not to have been just a formality. Thanks to a 2-0 defeat of Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Wednesday at Parramatta Stadium, the Wanderers advance to the quarterfinals of the Champions League on away goals.
Second half goals from substitute Shannon Cole and Brendon Santalab secured the aggregate 3-3 score line and sent the Wanderers on to the round of eight at Hiroshima's expense. Western Sydney, who had lost in the A-League Grand Final in extra time on May 4 and then in Japan to Sanfrecce on May 7, got a win for the first time since beating Central Coast Mariners in the A-League semifinal round on April 27. Though the Wanderers certainly would have liked to have recorded a victory in the Grand Final, winning on Wednesday propels the club into the Champions League quarterfinals where an A-League club (Adelaide United) last played in 2012.
With Shinji Ono and Youssouf Hersi appearing for the final time with the Wanderers, the team will look very different by the time the quarterfinal first leg takes place on August 20. The May 28 draw will dictate whether Western Sydney play Pohang Steelers, last season's runners up FC Seoul or the competition's holders, Guangzhou Evergrande. Meanwhile, the offseason now begins in earnest with a three-month break between competitive games for the Wanderers.
WSW Cole 55'
WSW Santalab 85'
Western Sydney Wanderers: Covic; Beauchamp, Polenz, Spiranovic, Golec (Cole 52'); La Rocca, Ono, Trifiro (Appiah 79'); Haliti (Juric 63'), Santalab, Hersi
Unused substitutes: Tyson, D'Apuzzo, Perkatis, Fofanah
Sanfrecce Hiroshima: Hayashi; Hwang, Mizumoto, Shiotani; Aoyama, Takahagi (Takuma 78'), Yamagishi (Chiba 82'), Kashiwa, Notsuda (Kawabe 88'), Shibasaki; Ishihara
Unused substitutes: Masuda, Minagawa, Shimizu, Marutani