Western Sydney Wanderers FC came back from a goal down to beat Al Jazira today 2-1 in the IPIC Championship today in Abu Dhabi.
Goals from Iacopo La Rocca and Kwabena Appiah earned the win following Jucilei’s opener.
In another steamy night the Al Jazira fans were out in force creating a great atmosphere for the final match in the tournament.
Both teams held their own in the initial sparring however it was the home side that found the early break.
Al Jazira’s new Argentinian recruit Lanzini’s clever through ball behind the Wanderers defence found Jucilei who cut inside Hamill and blasted the ball into the roof of the net.
The Wanderers hit back almost immediately through Iacopo La Rocca’s header at the back post off a beautifully floated Saba corner beating the keeper and an attempted last ditch bicycle kick off the line to get the equaliser.
Lanzini was busy throughout the match but was largely contained by the Wanderers defence.
Saba, who had a strong first half, again made the Al Jazira defence panic with a whipped cross in the 20th minute just out of reach of Haliti at the farpost.
Haliti was on goal again in the 30th minute but his tame shot was smothered by Khaled Al Sanani in goals.
With both sides creating good chances in the opening half no-one could break the deadlock going into the break at 1-1.
The Wanderers took control in the second half creating a number of good chances and in the 60th minute got their reward.
Bridge, deployed on the left wing, took the ball past two Al Jazira defenders before sliding a perfectly weighted ball across the 18-yard-box for Appiah to run onto.
With a controlling touch Appiah slotted the ball past Al Senani to get his first goal for the Club since scoring against Japan’s Shimizu S-Pulse in last season’s pre-season tour.
Chances came at both ends to change the scoreline and with minutes winding down the Wanderers held on for a the win while Al Jazira took out the IPIC title on goal difference.
International Petroleum Investments Company Championship (IPIC)
Sunday 7 September: Al Jazira FC v Western Sydney Wanderers FC
Sport Division Stadium, Armed Forces Officers Club, Abu Dhabi – 7.30pm (1.30am AET)
Al Jazira FC 1 (8. Jucilei 15’)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (18. Iacopo La Rocca 16’, 14. Kwabena Appiah 60’)
Western Sydney Wanderers starting line-up: 1. Ante Covic (gk) (20. Dean Bouzanis (gk) 46’), 4. Daniel Mullen (2. Shannon Cole 70’), 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley (c), 6 Antony Golec, 18. Iacopo La Rocca (23. Jason Trifiro 65’), 5. Brendan Hamill, 8. Mateo Poljak (31. Alusine Fofanah 80’), 14. Kwabena Appiah, 10. Vitor Saba (11. Brendon Santalab 46’), 19. Mark Bridge (34. Steve Kuzmanovski 70’), 7. Labinot Haliti (17. Romeo Castelen 70’)
Players not used: 13. Matthew Spiranovic, 30. Thomas Manos (gk)
Western Sydney Wanderers Dubai Pre-Season Tour
31 August – 10 September, 2014
Western Sydney Wanderers Hyundai A-League squad for 2014/15 season: 1. Ante Covic, 2. Shannon Cole, 3. Daniel Mullen, 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5. Brendan Hamill, 6. Antony Golec, 7. Labinot Haliti, 8. Mateo Poljak, 10. Vitor Saba, 11. Brendon Santalab, 13. Matthew Spiranovic, 14. Kwabena Appiah, 15. Yianni Perkatis, 17. Romeo Castelen, 18. Iacopo La Rocca, 19. Mark Bridge, 20. Dean Bouzanis, 23. Jason Trifiro, 31. Alusine Fofanah, Thomas Manos (NYL), Steve Kuzmanovski (NYL)
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Image courtesy of Western Sydney Wanderers FC