Western Sydney Wanderers have exacted revenge for last season’s Grand Final loss with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Champions Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.
Henrique netted his first goal for Adelaide to give the Reds a first-half advantage before substitute Brendon Santalab netted a second-half brace to snatch a thrilling victory.
The Wanderers started brightly but failed to trouble Eugene Galekovic in the opening stanza as the Reds slowly worked their way into the contest.
Jesse Makarounas and Henrique spurned gilt-edged chances for Adelaide midway through the first-half before the Brazilian redeemed himself with the opener just prior to the break.
The game opened up in the second stanza and the Wanderers were able to snatch a deserved equaliser through Brendon Santalab with just over 20 minutes remaining.
And with time almost up, some neat interplay between Jumpei Kusukami and Mitch Nichols allowed Brendon Santalab to net an unlikely winner to break the hosts’ hearts.
1-0 Adelaide: Henrique, 43’
Substitute Ryan Kitto showed great feet on the right flank before expertly cutting the ball back for the onrushing Henrique who took a touch before squeezing the ball home.
1-1 Wanderers: Brendon Santalab, 67’
A lightning counter-attack from the Wanderers saw Jack Clisby release Mitch Nicholls with the midfielder able to pick out Santalab who finished from close range.
2-1 Wanderers: Brendon Santalab, 90’+2
Japanese midfielder Jumpei Kusukami played Nichols in behind with his subsequent cross finding its way to Santalab who stroked the ball into an empty net.
-Brendon Santalab has now scored six goals in his last six games for the Wanderers.
Reds winger Sergio Cirio was forced off inside 10 minutes after being felled in a shocking challenge in the opening minute by Wanderers fullback Jack Clisby.
The Spaniard tried to play on but was eventually replaced by Ryan Kitto.
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