The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers have made a winning start to their Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season after a 2-1 win over Perth Glory at Spotless Stadium on Sunday night.
Two late first half goals from Oriol Riera and Jumpei Kusukami were enough to hand the Red & Black all three points despite the Glory pulling one back after a Brendan Hamill own goal.
It was the first time the Wanderers’ have won a Round 1 fixture in the Hyundai A-League and comes after a tumultuous week in which inaugural head coach Tony Popovic left to pursue an opportunity abroad.
Caretaker head coach Hayden Foxe would’ve been pleased with the way his side began the match, as the attacking quartet of Riera, Kusukami, Álvaro Cejudo and Roly Bonevacia were all combining to good effect.
The first real opportunity came the Wanderers’ way in the ninth minute, as Bonevacia played Kusukami in behind the Glory defence, only for the latter to be denied by a last ditch challenge from Jacob Poscoliero.
Bonevacia then tested Liam Reddy with a powerful effort from the edge of the box before Cejudo skied a half-chance over.
The Wanderers’ slick passing would eventually unlock the away side two minutes from the break when Cejudo delightfully threaded Riera through on goal, the number 9 sliding it home past Reddy to score on his Hyundai A-League debut.
The goal was Riera’s fifth in four games following his sparkling pre-season form in the Westfield FFA Cup.
The Wanderers weren’t done just yet as they added a second in first half stoppage time.
A neat counter-attacking play saw Brendan Hamill charge down the right and feed Kusukami through on goal, with the Japanese player lifting it over Reddy for his fourth Hyundai A-League goal.
After the break, Glory began to weather the storm as Vedran Janjetovic was on hand to deny an Adam Taggart strike.
Janjetovic again kept the Glory at bay with an incredible triple save sequence as Perth began to work their way back into the match.
The match was set for a nervy finish when the Glory pulled one back eight minutes from time, Andy Keogh’s header deflecting off Hamill and leaving Janjetovic no chance.
The Wanderers held on though to record a deserved win in what was a watershed week for the club.
The Red & Black will look to do it again when they welcome Central Coast Mariners to Spotless Stadium on Saturday 14 October.