A stunning comeback has given Western Sydney their place in the 2016 A-League Grand Final as they managed a 5-4 extra-time win over Brisbane Roar at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday afternoon. After going 3-0 down in 23 minutes, the Wanderers powered back and got the win, sending them to Adelaide next week.
Western Sydney Wanderers started the match well, putting pressure on Brisbane but they couldn’t take advantage of all that possession. And in the 15th minute they were made to pay for missing those opportunities as Andreu gave away a penalty from a handball. That allowed Dimitri Petratos to step up, and slam the ball in to the top left corner of the net, away from Andrew Redmayne to give Brisbane a somewhat undeserved win.
The poor run for Andreu continued just five minutes after he gave away the penalty as he gave Brisbane their second goal. Corona’s free-kick was sent in, and the ball deflected off of Andreu and in to the back of the net for an own goal.
The horrible passage for Western Sydney continued and in the 23rd minute they found themselves 3-0 down. Jamie McLaren was able to gather the ball in the box and turn, taking a shot that deflected past Redmayne to put Brisbane firmly in charge of the semi-final.
Looking like they would already be eliminated, Western Sydney pulled a goal back in the 26th minute to get back in to the match. A free-kick allowed Romeo Castelen to step up and send in a powerful free-kick which left Jamie Young with no chance, making it 1-3.
After such a frantic opening period, some respite was almost welcomed, as Western Sydney dominated the possession for the next 20 minutes. Part of that was because Brisbane Roar were sitting back, determined to absorb the pressure and look forward on the break.
In the 39th minute Western Sydney somehow pulled the game back to a one goal deficit going in to half-time. Brendan Santalab was able to beat James Donachie and then beat Young at the near post, making it 3-2 at half-time.
Western Sydney came out determined to get back on level terms, and in the 53rd minute their dramatic comeback was completed. Mitch Nichols saw his shot saved, but the rebound fell for Castelen who smashed home the rebound to put Wanderers’ finally back on level terms.
What seemed impossible in the first 20 minutes of the match was completed in the 59th minute when Western Sydney hit the lead. A corner came in from Dimas and found Castelen, who hit a powerful low shot past Young to give Wanderers an unexpected 4-3 lead.
That goal seemed to take the win out of the match as Brisbane looked flat, deflated after now going behind. That allowed Western Sydney to hold out, managing their defence well as they stopped Brisbane who put up little attack.
But ten minutes from time Brisbane pulled a goal back as they were able to get a goal, after a Tommy Oar mis-hit. Oar’s ball fell to MacLaren who was left with a simple tap-in to get Brisbane back on level terms and send the match to extra-time.
The Wanderers were looking the stronger side through the first half of extra-time and in the 102nd minute they finally broke through. Dario Vidosic’s shot was blocked, but it fell to Mark Bridge, who was able to cross it back to Vidosic for a tap-in to put the Wanderers on top.
Following that goal the action faded through the rest of the match, with Western Sydney content to sit back and absorb pressure. Brisbane came out for the second half of extra-time desperate to get back on level terms and force a shoot out but the chances just weren’t there, keeping it 5-4 giving Western Sydney a thrilling victory.