The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers’ wait for an opening round win is set to continue for at least another season after going down 3-1 to Brisbane on a frustrating night at Pirtek Stadium.Both sides traded early blows in a high-octane start that saw Jaushua Sotirio curl an early effort over the post.
Brisbane looked to exploit the rapid pace of Jamie Maclaren, a trend that would set the tone of the game. It was Maclaren who put the Roar ahead on just nine minutes, capitalizing on a poor defensive error from Brendan Hamill and scooping the ball over a stranded Andrew Redmayne.
However, the Wanderers hit back immediately through a former Roar player.
After winning the ball in midfield, Scott Jamieson released Mitch Nichols down the left hand side, who showed great composure to slide the ball past Theo and into the bottom right corner.
It was a swift, purposeful response from Tony Popovic’s side, but they found themselves behind again when Daniel Bowles rose highest to head past Andrew Redmayne, with technology confirming that the ball had crossed the line.
A frustrating and uncharacteristically poor goal to concede for the Wanderers, who should have been ahead seconds before when a loose ball fell to Federico Piovaccari in the penalty area.
The Wanderers looked surprisingly timid from set-pieces and Brisbane made them pay again in the 34th minute, Jamie Maclaren pouncing on a loose ball in the area to double the side’s advantage.
Several chances for the Red & Black followed with Piovaccari blasting a shot inches past the near post after good work from Mitch Nichols whilst Nikolai Topor-Stanley blazed over from a set-piece.
Whilst the Wanderers looked susceptible at the back, they did look positive going forward, which only added to the crowd’s frustration as the teams withdrew at half-time.
The second half began positively with the Wanderers eager to get on the front foot straight from the off. The lively Sotirio raced onto Dimas’ lofted pass, but his shot on the half volley ballooned over the bar.
One Spanish midfielder was brought on for another in the 54th minute when Andreu took the field in the 54th minute for Dimas whilst Dario Vidosic replaced Sotirio shortly after.
The former Brisbane man almost made an immediate impact, his curling effort deflected just past the post.
As the Wanderers forced Brisbane deeper into their own half, clear-cut chances began to dry out.
The change almost backfired when Thomas Broich clipped a delightful angled ball through for Brandon Borrello but Redmayne did well to stay on his feet and parry the ball to safety.
The Wanderers continued to surge forward but were unable to truly trouble Theo in the Brisbane goal, who commanded a packed final third of the pitch with authority, ensuring it would be another disappointing first day at the office for the Red & Black.