Tony Popovic says his team’s 4-0 capitulation at home to a sparkling Urawa Red Diamonds on Tuesday night was a sharp reminder of the high level in the Asian Champions League.
On a disappointing night for the 2014 ACL champions, Wanderers held out till half time before the J-League powerhouse smashed four past Vedran Janjetovic to register a convincing win in their matchday 1 Group F clash.
“You realise very quickly the level of this competition, and you get punished for your mistakes,” a deflated Popovic told Fox Sports.
“It makes you realise what can happen here [in the ACL].”
A relatively inexperienced Wanderers side was put out in Campbelltown with six changes to the derby winning side of last Saturday night.
One fresh face was beanpole teenage striker Abraham Majok, who gave it his all up front with his pressing.
“It’s something he’ll never forget, playing in the Champions League. He held his own and I’m sure he’ll learn from it, ” Popovic said of the youngster’s debut.
Whilst the new names had plenty of energy in the red and black, the guile and class of the Japanese outfit was too much for the A-League side in front of a modest crowd in western Sydney.
“At 0-0 we were in the game but just as we were having a few good moments and getting on top, we got punished,” Popovic added.
“And that’s what you get at this level and they are a very good side.”
Wanderers head to Perth this weekend to face the Glory in the Hyundai A-League, then travel to China for a clash with Shanghai SIPG on Tuesday Feb 28.
Urawa next host FC Seoul on the same night.
In the group's other game on Tuesday night, SIPG won 1-0 on the road in Korea.