The Western Sydney Wanderers’ hopes of qualifying to the knockout stage of the Asian Champions League were boosted by a gutsy 3-2 win against FC Seoul at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Wanderers found themselves up 3-0 thanks to first half goals from Lachlan Scott and Terry Antonis, and a second half Jaushua Sotirio strike, before a quick-fire from Seoul’s Yun Il-lok threatened to spoil the party.
The Red & Black would hold on though to register their first win of the tournament, a result that sees them move to within three points of second-placed Urawa Red Diamonds in Group F, who lost 3-2 to frontrunners Shanghai SIPG on the same night.
Having had the weekend off in the Hyundai A-League, the Wanderers started brightly, enjoying much of the midfield possession yet it was Seoul who had the first sight on goal when striker Dejan’s header clipped the top of Janjetovic’s crossbar.
Midway through the first half the game sparked to life when Lachlan Scott, making his Champions League debut, latched on to a clever through ball from Terry Antonis and lifted the ball over the keeper to break the deadlock.
The Wanderers would double their lead just before half time when they were awarded a penalty after a Jack Clisby cross struck the arm of a Seoul defender.
Terry Antonis stepped up with a cheeky panenka to put the Red & Black 2-0 up going into the break.
After the restart, the Wanderers could’ve had a third when Scott broke through on goal; however the striker played the ball across the box to an out-of-reach Mitch Nichols when a shot at goal would’ve perhaps been the better option.
The Wanderers wouldn’t have to wait long for a third as Nichols released Jaushua Sotirio in behind the defence; the latter lobbing the onrushing goalkeeper for the 3-0 advantage.
Seoul responded well and clawed back two goals in six minutes courtesy of a brace from Yun Il-lok, setting the scene for a nervy last 20 minutes.
The Wanderers managed to weather the storm to record an invaluable three points and keep their unbeaten record against the South Koreans intact.
Tony Popovic’s side now sits third in Group F ahead of Seoul’s visit to Campbelltown Stadium on Tuesday 11 April.
The Wanderers will return to Sydney on Friday morning to prepare for Sunday night’s crucial Hyundai A-League clash against Wellington Phoenix at Spotless Stadium.