Western Sydney Wanderers are the Champions of Asia after defeating Al-Hilal in the AFC Champions League Final!The 1-0 win over two legs means that the Red & Black are the first Australian team to achieve this feat, an incredible story for a club that is yet to celebrate its third birthday.
Fans were promised that they would witness history and the Wanderers did not disappoint, claiming another clean sheet and disposing of yet another Asian powerhouse.
Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal was just the latest in a long line of victims that include the 2013 Champions, 2012 Champions, J-League Champions and 2013 Runners-Up.
While the story of the Wanderers’ rise from humble beginnings has been recounted many times, a Champions League title takes the narrative to another level and with the FIFA Club World Cup just around the corner the journey is far from over.
It was fitting too that Ante Covic was awarded Player of the Tournament with a number of crucial saves throughout the knockout rounds keeping the Red & Black in the box seat.
But, football is a team game and the match was won – and celebrated – as a team with Tony Popovic carried off the field on the shoulders of his players.
The full time whistle was met with jubilant scenes across all of Western Sydney as the enormity of what had just been witnessed began to soak in.
Battling salary caps, out-of-season matches and high player turn-over, the Wanderers were fighting against the odds from the very start but it mattered little as Nikolai Topor-Stanley hoisted the trophy high into the air.
It was just reward for the football fans of Western Sydney, from the supporters of the original district clubs, to the ensuing state league, through to the National Soccer League and up to the current day fans clad in Red & Black, this win was for each and every one of them.
To put Western Sydney on the world map. To represent Australia with pride. To fear none and to conquer all.
In the words of Tony Popovic, “Dreams do come true”.