Western Sydney Wanderers FC’s Hyundai A-League campaign is now officially in crisis after they were beaten 1-0 by Brisbane Roar on Wednesday night.
An early penalty to Roar attacker Henrique – his sixth goal of the season – proved the difference in front of more than 10,000 fans at a rain-soaked Pirtek Stadium.
The defeat means the Wanderers – crowned kings if Asia just over a month ago – are still without a win after eight games and remain on the bottom of the ladder.
But Brisbane have now secured a draw and a win under new boss Frans Thijssen to jump up into the top six for the first time this season.
WHAT THEY SAID
"It's a big result for us, we had our backs to the wall in that second half. It's been tough times for our club for what transpired in the past few weeks. The players have been professional, that's all we can do and we just play our game. Tonight wasn't the best game we've ever played but the three points will help us obviously." - Roar midfielder Matt McKay
"At the end of the day we have to take responsibility, we had all the ball but we didn't do anything with it. We've just got to better, we made one mistake and we got punished for it." - Wanderers skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley
0-1 Henrique (5’) – Brisbane won a penalty when Mensur Kurtishi was brought down in the box by Seyi Adeleke. Roar’s leading scorer Henrique stepped up, sending it straight down the middle past a diving Ante Covic.
Substitute Nikita Rukavytsya struggled to make much of an impact when he came into the match just before the hour mark but almost proved a hero for the Wanderers in stoppage time. The speedy winger picked up the ball just outside the box and went on a slalom run past three Roar defenders before cannoning a shot onto the crossbar and over. It was the home side’s last chance to salvage something from the contest and with the Brisbane held on for victory.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
Brisbane have now gone five games unbeaten against the Wanderers since the start of last season, having previously lost their first four matches against Tony Popovic’s side.
The Wanderers finished the first half on top and would have been on level terms in stoppage time if not for a stunning full-stretch save from their goal-keeper Jamie Young. Romeo Castelen hit a pile driver from the left which looked destined for the top corner only for Young to fly through the air and palm it around the post for a corner.
With both sides desperate for victory it was imperative to get off to a good start but Seyi Adeleke put the Wanderers under pressure with some naïve defending. The left-back originally did well to block Dimitri Petratos’ goal-bound effort but then undid the good work by lunging in on Mensur Kurtishi, with the Brisbane attacker bundled over to win his side a crucial penalty and the opening goal inside five minutes.
THE FINAL WORD
The winless Wanderers have just three days to recuperate and regroup to take on high-flying Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Saturday night, while the champions head to Melbourne for a battle with a wounded City on Sunday afternoon.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC: Covic, Cole (Hamill 67’), Spiranovic, Topor-Stanley, Adeleke, Baccus (La Rocca 71’), Poljak, Castelen, Saba (Rukavytsya 58’), Bridge, Haliti
Brisbane Roar: Young, Bowles, North, Smith, Brown, Brattan, McKay, Petratos, Borrello (Danning 64’), Kurtishi (Solorzano 46’), Henrique
Scorers: Henrique 5’
Red cards: none
Yellow cards: Smith 36’, Cole 49’, Brattan 53’, Brown 57’, Borrello 64’, Poljak 86’
Conditions: 21C, Wet
Attendance: 10,252 @Pirtek Stadium