Gallery: U20s Grand Final Victory
The Western Sydney Wanderers Academy have won their second consecutive NPL 2 U20 Grand Final after a convincing 4-1 victory over Hills United on Saturday afternoon.
An early strike from Alexander Lopez sent the Red & Black on their way before a second-half hat-trick from Dylan Ruiz Diaz confirmed the win.
The Wanderers started brightly with the Hills defence getting in the way of shots from Ruiz-Diaz and Jacob Vasiliou.
With just under 20 minutes played, the Red & Black took the lead when Daniel Wilmering did brilliantly to beat a defender and pick out Lopez, who calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
The Red & Black pushed for a second goal and Vasiliou's shot was blocked by the defence, while Rory Jordan was inches away from making it 2-0 when his curling shot went just past the post.
After a close call when Jarrod Carluccio couldn't quite reach a great cross from Vasiliou, the Wanderers doubled their lead ten minutes after the restart with Ruiz-Diaz running onto a nice pass from Jordan before tucking the ball away.
However, the Red & Black didn't have it all their own way and Hills made it 2-1 a few minutes later thanks to Peter Xenos.
Despite conceding, the Wanderers were still in control. Vasiliou was unlucky to see his attempted lob come back off the crossbar and Lopez almost scored in an acrobatic fashion on the rebound.
After further chances for Carluccio and Noah Pagden, the pressure finally paid off with the Red & Black restoring their two-goal lead in the 81st minute.
Lopez did well to turn a defender and force a save from Hills United goalkeeper Jordan Geddes with Ruiz-Diaz reacting quickest to drill the ball into the net.
Ruiz-Diaz then produced a moment of magic to round off the soring and complete his hat-trick a couple of minutes later.
Once again Lopez was involved, playing the ball to Ruiz-Diaz, who weaved his way past two opponents and poked the ball past Geddes.
The victory makes it two wins from three Grand Final appearances for the U20s, following on from the 6-2 triumph over Northern Tigers in last year's decider.
Hills United 1 (Peter Xenos 58’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 4 (Alexander Lopez 18’, Dylan Ruiz-Diaz 55’, 81’, 83’)
Western Sydney Wanderers: Daniel Axford, Bailey Rule, Thomas Aquilina, Noah Pagden, Daniel Wilmering (Billy Nunes 88’), Lochlan Constable (Michael Joseph 86’), Rory Jordan, Dylan Ruiz-Diaz, Jacob Vasiliou, Jarrod Carluccio (c), Alexander Lopez (Samuel Shepherd 88’)
Unused Substitutes: Elliot Carwardine, Thomas McPherson