Wanderers suffer crushing ACL defeat

Western Sydney Wanderers have slumped to their heaviest AFC Champions League defeat, beaten 6-1 at the hands of the Urawa Reds in Group F action in Japan on Tuesday night.

Just five days after their Hyundai A-League campaign came at the hands of Brisbane Roar in a heart-breaking penalty shootout loss, the Wanderers’ week took another hit at the hands of the classy Reds.

The Wanderers had no answer to Urawa’s slick passing and movement, with the defeat officially ending their hopes of progressing to the knockout stage.

Coach Tony Popovic decided to play three at the back but the move didn’t pay off as the home side raced to a 2-0 lead inside 18 minutes through goals to Takahiro Sekine and Zlatan Ljubijankic.

Brendon Santalab almost pulled one back when his header rebounded off the crossbar before Tadanari Lee added a third for Urawa just before the break.

Catch up with all the ACL action at the match centre here

It was a much improved showing from the Wanderers after the break and they deservedly pulled one back with a delightful individual goal from Jumpei Kusukami.

But there was still time for substitute Rafael Silva to score a brace before Shinzo Koroki got his name on the scoresheet for Urawa to cap a second big win over Western Sydney in the group stage.

The Wanderers ACL campaign concludes in a fortnight as they host Shanghai SIPG – and their Brazilian stars Hulk, Elkeson and Oscar – at Campbelltown Stadium on Wednesday, May 10. 

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1-0 Urawa Reds: Takahiro Sekine 14’

Yuki Moto had time to slide the ball beautifully into the box for Sekine, who measured his shot into the far corner.

2-0 Urawa Reds: Zlatan Ljubijankic 18’

Yoshiaki Komai was able to run at the Wanderers defence before a gorgeous defence-splitting pass teed up Ljubijankic who got a toe to ball to divert past Vedran Janjetovic.

Tadanari Lee celebrates after scoring the third goal in Urawa's big win over the Wanderers in the ACL.

3-0 Urawa Reds: Tadanari Lee 43’

Komai’s pace allowed him to get in behind the Wanderers defence again and the winger unselfishly squared the ball across to Lee to tap into an open goal.

3-1 Western Sydney Wanderers: Jumpei Kusukami 66’

The Japanese winger received the ball just outside the box, taking on two defenders before sensationally chipping the ball over the keeper. Individual brilliance for Jumpei

4-1 Urawa Reds: Rafael Da Silva 71’

Silva started and finished the move, combining with Tadanari Lee on the edge of the box before making no mistake with his finish.

The Wanderers were no match for Urawa in their AFC Champions League clash in Japan.

5-1 Urawa Reds: Rafael Silva 80’

A classic counter attack as a lofted ball over the top was controlled on his chest by Silva who then nonchalantly slotting the ball past Janjetovic.

6-1 Urawa Reds: Shinzo Koroki 90+4’

Another excellent, flowing move, with Silva’s clever back-heeled flick setting up Koroki for a simple finish past a stranded Janjetovic.

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