Match Preview: Wanderers v Brisbane Roar

The Wanderers return home on Friday night as they look to win a third match in a row against the Brisbane Roar at CommBank Stadium.

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After a difficult run of form during March, the Wanderers found great spirit and resolve to record two wins on the road, one in a gritty win in Perth, and the other on Easter Monday against Macarthur FC.

Western Sydney had to weather the storm during a first half where their opponents had more of the ball and a number of chances, but the introduction of Nicolas Milanovic from the bench just after the break changed the game completely.

He opened the scoring moments after coming on with a howitzer of a shot into the roof of the net, before his brilliant cross field pass found Sonny Kittel, who showed great composure to slot the ball past Filip Kurto.

The Wanderers then scored one of the best team goals of the season, as Aidan Simmons and Kittel combined to give Jorrit Hendrix a shooting chance on the edge of the area, and the Dutchman duly smashed home a first time effort into the top corner; the three goals in 13 minutes sunk the Bulls, who were unable to fight back despite scoring a consolation late in the game.

Kittel and Hendrix’s goals were their first for the club, and Kittel gave his best performance to date, and now has three assists and a goal in his short time at the club.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 01: Sonny Kittel of the Wanderers celebrates with his team after scoring a goal during the A-League Men round 22 match between Macarthur FC and Western Sydney Wanderers at Campbelltown Stadium, on April 01, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The star of the show was undoubtedly Milanovic, who now has eight goals and four assists in the league this season in what has been a breakout year for the 23-year-old.

The win gave the Wanderers a four point buffer between themselves and Melbourne City who are currently in seventh place, and they now only sit a point outside the top four.

They also sit eight points ahead of their opponents this weekend, who have had a season of inconsistency and upheaval at times.

It started well with Ross Aloisi at the helm, as they reached the Australia Cup final and lost only one of their opening nine games.

The season turned just before Christmas as Aloisi surprisingly departed, with their first game without him being an 8-1 drubbing at the hands of Melbourne City.

Ben Cahn was appointed in his place, but he himself had to step aside after just five games for health reasons, with Ruben Zadkovich taking charge on an interim basis.

The stats make for grim reading, as the Roar have won just three of their last 16 games, meaning their finals chances are looking slim with just four games left in the season.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 01: Aidan Simmons of the Wanderers competes for the ball during the A-League Men round six match between Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers at Suncorp Stadium, on December 01, 2023, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Two of their victories were impressive home wins over Melbourne City and the Melbourne Victory, with their win over City seeing the Roar go ahead 5-0 after 46 minutes in a 5-1 victory.

Captain Jay O’Shea, who has become a stalwart for the Queenslanders – has once again led by example with seven goals and three assists, whilst youngster Thomas Waddingham has had a season to remember, as he has netted six times.

The two sides played out an entertaining game in the reverse fixture in December, as Brisbane scored two goals in two minutes to rush out to an early lead, with Wanderers’ captain Marcelo leaving the field soon after due to injury.

The Wanderers rallied in the second half as Milanovic halved the deficit, before Marcus Antonsson scored a late equaliser to earn the Wanderers a share of the points.

With the final Sydney Derby of the season looming on the horizon, the Wanderers would love to continue their good momentum with a victory in front of their own fans.