The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers continued their pre-season with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Canberra United at Deakin Stadium on Wednesday night.
Early signs looked precarious for the ACT-based outfit but before long the match turned into a tight contest which Tony Popovic would have been hoping for; the perfect test before the Club’s FFA Cup match-up against Adelaide City on 12 August.
Ultimately it was a first-half goal from Jaushua Sotirio that split the two teams with the youngster displaying a dazzling bit of skill to open the scoring.
With Canberra FC failing to clear their lines, the ball found its way to Sotirio who flicked it over an oncoming defender before thumping a shot across the opposition keeper and into the far bottom corner.
It was a deserved goal for the striker, who made his Hyundai A-League debut against the Newcastle Jets last season, as it was his curling shot earlier in the game that gave the Wanderers their best chance of the match up to that point.
Daniel Mullen too had a chance to open the scoring though he poked his shot from six yards over the bar. With the ball off a corner with pace, and a crowded box, the chance was not as straight forward as it sounds.
The match evened out considerably following Sotirio’s goal and turned into a tight, midfield battle that failed to test the keepers until half time.
Chances were at a premium again in the second stanza with wholesale changes being made through the half as Popovic tested out his entire squad.
Sotirio had one last effort at goal to seal a solid performance but his shot went well wide.
With not long to go and some good football being played, Mateo Poljak had the final chance of the match with a fierce drive from range – one that is sure to excite fans for the upcoming season – though it was well saved by Canberra’s custodian.
All in all another solid hit-out for the Red & Black with another trial appearance for the popular Steve Kuzmanovski while Popovic also got a look at former Gold Coast United and Adelaide United attacker Jake Barker-Daish.
The Wanderers are next in action on Tuesday 5 August at Leichhardt Oval where they take on APIA Leichhardt at 7:30pm.
Western Sydney Wanderers: 20. Dean BOUZANIS (1. Ante COVIC 46’), 3. Daniel MULLEN (2. Shannon COLE 46’), 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (5. Brendan HAMILL 46’), 7. Labinot HALITI (17. Michael TRAJKOVSKI 46’), 9. Jake BARKER-DAISH (6. Martin LO 80’), 14. Kwabena APPIAH (22. Steve KUZMANOVSKI 46’), 15. Yianni PERKATIS (10. Alusine FOFANAH 60’), 23. Jason TRIFIRO (8. Mateo POLJAK 46’), 24. Sandro PASALIC, 26. Jaushua SOTIRIO (16. Thomas MILICEVIC 77’), 32. Daniel ALESSI (12. Ross COSTANZO 84’)