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Ono wonder strike helps Wanderers top group in ACL

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 10:09 PM
 

Western Sydney Wanderers eased into the AFC Champions League knockout stage in their debut campaign with a 5-0 win over an under-strength Guizhou Renhe at Parramatta Stadium in Sydney.

A flurry of late goals in the final 15 minutes added to Shannon Cole's early opener and, though the visitors provided some resistance, qualification for the home side was rarely in doubt.

A youthful Guizhou side contained few first-team regulars with a lengthy list of notable absentees headed by the suspended duo of experienced Bosnia-Herzegovina international Zvjezdan Misimovic and Chinese veteran Sun Jihai.

The equation was simple for the Wanderers, who needed just a point to progress while they could even advance if beaten, provided the other Group H match between Kawasaki Frontale and Ulsan Hyundai ended in stalemate.

Any nerves felt by the home side were soon eased as Cole netted after just six minutes. Left fullback Antony Golec was allowed far too much latitude and his dribble into the penalty area ended with the ball reaching Cole, who guided a volley in off the post.

However, the early portents proved deceptive and there were few gilt-edged openings in the first half for the home side, while for Guizhou there was little meaningful progress in attack until the half-hour mark when they won a succession of corners.

There were shots from Labinot Haliti, and some dangerous moments from Kwabena Appiah, but the best chance of the opening half came from the visitors in the final minute as captain Qu Bo adroitly ran onto a ball before flashing his shot narrowly wide.

The Wanderers had far more possession but struggled to truly assert their authority on the contest, and it wasn't until the midway point of the second half that the visiting goalkeeper was stretched, as Fan Yunlong pushed Tomi Juric's header over the crossbar.

However, the Wanderers finally cracked the resistance with a four-goal flurry in the final quarter-hour.

Haliti latched onto a wayward defensive pass to easily finish past an exposed Yunlong. Then substitute Aaron Mooy swept home from the penalty spot after the visitors were found guilty of an unnecessary push in the penalty area.

The goal of the match went to Shinji Ono as the Wanderers crowd favourite hit the sweetest of shots into the roof of the net from the edge of the penalty area.

There was still time for Nikolai Topor-Stanley to find the net with a close range finish as the Wanderers locked up first place in the group and recorded the biggest ever win by an Australian team in Asia's continental competition.

In Japan, Kawasaki Frontale defeated Ulsan Hyundai 3-1 leaving the Japanese second behind the Wanderers.

Western Sydney Wanderers 5 (Shannon Cole 6', Labinot Haliti 75', Aaron Mooy 81' pen, Shinji Ono 85', Nikolai Topor-Stanley 88')
Guizhou Renhe 0

 
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