Tony Popovic‘s Western Sydney Wanderers soared to the top of the Hyundai A-League table with an emphatic 2-1 win over John Aloisi‘s Brisbane Roar at Parramatta Stadium in Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia.
Early on in the first half, the crowd of about a few thousand were fully aware that a victory by either side or even a draw would see them ahead of Melbourne Victory on points. But as far as the home fans were concerned, a little bit of the “as you were” was what they fancied. Henrique was already frustrating the Wanderers in the first minute. Mitch Nichols took all of three minutes to get into the books.
After a lively ball possession battle, Andrew Redmayne made a desperate save in the fifth minute, but the battle continued, the Wanderers netminder giving directions. As a matter of fact, the real drama was going on in the stands, with some Brisbane traveling supporters sympathizing with the Red and Black Bloc. In the 11th minute, Dimas’ set piece was butchered by Dutch winger Romeo Castelen wide left. Shane Stefanutto entered the book one minute prior.
Jamie MacLaren fancied a chance in the 13th minute but his shot was a shocker. Daniel Bowles was unfortunate to be denied by Dario Vidosic in the 21st minute. In the 23rd minute, Mitch Nichols was denied by Jack Hingert in the final third. In the 29th minute, Mark Bridge finished off a easy chance inside the box to make it 1-0 Wanderers. Andreu and Castelen teamed up to find a streaking Bridge to make it three goals in as many games for Western Sydney’s No. 19.
Brisbane had a chance to equalize in the 31st minute through Corona, but the Wanderers held sway. In the 34th minute, Castelen could not dial in but he came close. In the the 35th minute, the fans paid tribute to the RBB in absentia. In the 36th minute, MacLaren broke loose and eluded Nikolai Topor-Stanley to make it 1-1. Game on…in front of nearly no one, and absolutely no one…from the RBB.
Meanwhile, Bridge was denied at the last second by Bowles in the 40th minute of play. The home fans, at the 42nd minute, decided to chant the “Who We Sing For” Chant in tribute to the fans not showing up. Corona fancied a chance off a corner in the 45th minute but it failed to materialize. Spaniard Dimas was cautioned in the first minute of first half injury time.
Early on in the second half, the hunt for the breakthrough was on. Brazilian Henrique, the Slippery Fish, was offsides in the 49th minute. The next several minutes were a ball possession battle, with Western Sydney consolidating the touches. Brandon Borrello came in for Henrique at the hour mark. Meanwhile, Bridge came out for Brendon Santalab at the 62nd minute. MacLaren was offsides on a breakway at the 64th minute.
At the 72nd minute, the “Who Do We Sing For Chant” broke out again, perhaps out of boredom. Vidosic came out for Jaushua Sotirio in the 73rd minute. A series of deflections in the 75th minute forced a dangerous corner for the Roar that didn’t materialize. And that chant broke out one more time a minute later.
Nichols broke the deadlock in the 79th minute with a curling strike that hit the top right corner after he gave Hingert the “don’t argue.” After that, the remaining fans did the Poznan, thus fulfilling a prediction earlier this week. Stefanutto came out for Devante Clut in the 83rd minute and Jacob Pepper came in for Nichols.
The chant was belted out again in the 85th minute, and it was clear that the remaining home fans decided to don the power of the RBB and become the RBB for this match. Brisbane were trying to make one final push in stoppage time, but to no avail. Sotirio and Santalab also got cautioned in the third minute of stoppage time.
Western Sydney Wanderers Player Ratings
Andrew Redmayne 6, Scott Jamieson 6, Scott Neville 6, Alberto Aguilar 7, Nikolai Topor-Stanley 7, Dimas 6.5, Andreu Mayoral 7, Romeo Castelen, Dario Vidosic 5, Mitch Nichols 9, Mark Bridge 8, Jaushua Sotirio 3.5, Brendon Santalab 2.5, Jacob Pepper NR
Brisbane Roar Player Ratings
Jamie Young 4, Jade North 5, Daniel Bowles 5, Jack Hingert 1, Shane Stefanutto 4.5, Corona 5, Dimitri Petratos 5, Matt McKay 4, Jamie MacLaren 7, Thomas Broich 5, Henrique 3, Brandon Borrello 2, Devante Clut NR