The Western Sydney Wanderers were handed a painful football lesson by Urawa Red Diamonds in the way of a 4-0 drubbing at home. It was the opening match of their ACL group stage, Tuesday night at Campbelltown in front of just over 5,500 fans.
It was a tight contest in the first half, with a (rightfully) disallowed goal to debutante Majok, and the teams went to the break at 0-0.
Image credit: FourFourTwo
The second half, however, saw the class of Urawa shine and the frailties of WSW exposed. Urawa tucked away a tidy 4 goals, seemingly at ease, whereas the Wanderers didn’t even register a shot on goal until the 93rd minute. It was a harsh lesson in being punished for simple mistakes and for wasting valuable possession while the game is in the balance.
Even apart from the result, the performance was extremely troubling. The Wanderers looked several classes below their opposition and a shadow of the team that ended Sydney FC’s unbeaten run just 3 days prior, in the Sydney Derby. The Wanderers looked sluggish in possession, struggling to maintain the ball. In ‘attack’ they were toothless and hesitant. Every time the Wanderers looked to have created space or got into a good area, they would put their foot on the ball and pass it back, eventually losing possession. This happened far too often to be anything but a clear direction from coaching staff and a very poor ‘tactic’.
Image credit: Mark Evans, Daily Telegraph
The squad selection has also come under fire. However, as I’ve said above, the main issue was the play style and errors. Apart from Lustica, who looked terribly out of place and offered nothing but turn-overs in possession, it is difficult to blame any of the selected players. Majok was threatening, Baccus played some great football and was by far a standout and Clisby had a brilliant game in defence and on the ball. Considering the short turn around from the last match and the upcoming game against Perth, the squad rotation was expected and cannot be blamed for the result or performance.
In the end, the Wanderers were outclassed by a strong side that exploited errors, took their chances and punished their opposition for a passive style on the ball.
Image credit: Daily Telegraph
The only positive spin is that this is not the first time WSW have received a football lesson at home in an opening ACL match. Ulsan Hyuandai did the same at Parramatta, 1-3, in the ACL campaign in which the Wanderers went on the finish 1st in the group stage and take out the title.
Also helping the Wanderers, FC Seoul also went down 0-1 at home, to Shanghai SIPG on Tuesday night. Shanghai’s Guan He received a red card (2 yellows) during the match and will be suspended for their clash with the Wanderers next Tuesday.
All in all, it was an extremely disappointing and worrying result and performance for the Wanderers but is not the death of the campaign just yet.
Result – WSW 0-4 URA