The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers are into the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 16 after Oriol Riera’s 120th minute header gave the Red & Black a 1-0 extra-time win against Wellington Phoenix at Campbelltown Stadium on Tuesday night.
Just as the game looked certain to head to penalties, Riera nodded home the winner from a Roly Bonevacia corner to send the Phoenix out of this year’s cup.
It was a deserved result for Tony Popovic’s side on the balance of play, though Wellington held their own with what was a young, depleted side.
In a game of few chances, it was the Wanderers who threatened first as Riera threaded a sensational ball in behind Wellington’s defence to Bonevacia, though the former Phoenix man couldn’t get enough purchase on his finish.
Bonevacia and Baccus would then try their luck from distance as an organised Phoenix outfit gave little away.
In his first official game as captain, Robbie Cornthwaite almost found himself on the scoresheet after the break but his volley was denied by Lewis Italiano in goal.
It was the closest either side would get in the second half as the game limped into extra time.
With just seconds remaining until the dreaded penalty shootout, the Wanderers’ number 9 popped up at the back post to mark his official debut with a match-winning goal.
The Wanderers will now have to wait until the conclusion of next week’s games to find out who there opponent in the Round of 16 will be.
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Oriol Riera 120')
Wellington Phoenix 0
Western Sydney Wanderers: 20. Vedran Janjetovic (GK), 4. Josh Risdon, 5. Brendan Hamill, 7. Steven Lustica (11. Brendon Santalab 105'), 8. Roly Bonevacia, 9. Oriol Riera, 14. Jumpei Kusukami (49. Abraham Majok 45'), 15. Kearyn Baccus, 16. Robert Cornthwaite (C), 25. Chris Herd (6. Jacob Melling 74'), 33. Michael Thwaite
Unused substitutes: 3. Jack Clisby, 30. John Hall