The Western Sydney Wanderers have reached the Asian Champions League final after beating Korean side FC Seoul 2-0 in the second leg at Pirtek Stadium in Sydney on Wednesday night. The Wanderers went through 2-0 winners on aggregate to meet Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia in the final.
With the first leg ending in a 0-0 stalemate, the Wanderers home ground advantage didn’t take long to have an impact. A dangerous ball was punched out by FC Seoul keeper Yu Sang-Hun in the 3rd minute that fell into the path of Matteo Poljak whose strike was poorly flapped at by Sang-Hun giving the home side an early 1-0 lead.
Only 2 minutes later and Iacopo La Rocca chipped the Seoul defence to find Brendon Santalab alone in a scoring position. But Santalab’s chest control forced him to lunge and scuff his half volley attempt, letting FC Seoul off the hook by not doubling the lead.
The Wanderers were looking solid in all areas and were commanding in general play. FC Seoul for their part looked very dangerous from set pieces. Their attacking down the flanks where they were creating crosses also had the Western Sydney defence on notice. The majority of the first half was played at a very sharp pace, making for a very entertaining although at times very nervy affair: 1-0 to Western Sydney at half time.
The second half started with Western Sydney continuing to dominate in possession. They also continued to create attacking efforts, but the opposition remained resolute and even managed to pressure the Wanderers with a couple of balls into their opponent’s box.
After another foray by the Wanderers deep into the FC Seoul last third, a 61st minute cross by Labinot Haliti from the left was met by a powerful header at the far post by Shannon Cole to put it past Sang-Hun and make it 2-0 to the Wanderers.
The delivery of Molina’s crosses was just as dangerous; as FC Seoul got in attack their lack of creativity going forward was looking very disappointing. There wasn’t enough huff and puff in their game to trouble goalkeeper Ante Covic.
Time was slipping away for the Korean side even though two quick goals would see them go through on the away goals rule. But it was another magical night at Wanderland as fans and players celebrated another milestone for not only the Wanderers but also Australian football history.
The Wanderers now meet Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia in the final with the first leg to be played on October 25 in Sydney while the return leg will be played on November 1 in Saudi Arabia.
Western Sydney Wanderers 2
FC Seoul 0
Man of the match: Iacopo La Rocca
Final score: 2-0 on aggregate