Shinji Puts Victory To The Sword


Japanese superstar Shinji Ono celebrated the New Year in magnificent fashion by scoring both goals as the NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers beat Melbourne Victory 2-1 at Parramatta Stadium.

Japanese superstar Shinji Ono celebrated the New Year in magnificent fashion by scoring both goals as the NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers beat Melbourne Victory 2-1 at Parramatta Stadium.

The win leapfrogged the Wanderers over the Victory to third place on the ladder, and squared the ledger after the Melbourne club had beaten them 2-0 at the same ground in round eight.

And Ono, the marquee man who just keeps getting better and better, was the hero, with brilliant strikes for goals in the 42nd and 79th minutes.

For the first goal, he accepted the ball low on the volley, knocked it up with his second touch and then drove it home low on the turn with his left foot.

For the second, he received the ball on the edge of the penalty box, looked around for support, decided that shooting himself was the best option and smashed the ball past goalkeeper Nathan Coe with his right foot.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was naturally delighted with Ono-s contribution, saying: “Two great goals. He-s a special player – he has been since he first arrived.

“We saw from the first moment the talent that he had – it just took him time to get his match fitness.

“Now, he can play at a high level for much longer periods in games.

“Shinji is a great player, a great man – and he has proved to be a perfect fit for this football club.”

This was Ono at his dynamic best, and the crowd of 13,659 was in raptures at his performance.

When Ono was substituted in the 84th minute he received a standing ovation.

The Wanderers had much the better of the first half against a strangely ineffective Victory.

Good scoring chances started coming as early as the eighth minute, when a header across the goal from Youssouf Hersi found Mark Bridge unmarked, but he volleyed his shot way over the top.

Shannon Cole shot just wide in the 18th minute, and Iacopo La Rocca forced Coe to palm a shot wide in the 20th.

The Wanderers were building pressure, and when Coe lost an Ono corner in the sun in the 32nd minute the ball came off his side and dangerously across to the other side of goal for another corner.

The Victory weren-t coming up with much in return, and a shot from Marco Rojas in the 34th minute – held comfortably by goalkeeper Ante Covic – was as dangerous as they got in the first half.

Inside the last 10 minutes of the first half the Wanderers ramped the pressure up even more, and Ono looked more likely to score than most.

When the Victory made the mistake of allowing him too much time on the ball on the edge of the box, he made them pay with a deadly shot to give the home side the lead.

The Wanderers would have expected the Victory to come back strongly after halftime, and they did.

But the Wanderers lifted as well, and continued to control the match.

Everyone was making a contribution, and Ono needed treatment for an injury after he tracked back to make an important tackle in the 56th minute.

Midway through the second half, the Wanderers produced their most substantial spell of pressure for the entire game, with two shots going close and a decent call for a handball penalty rejected by referee Lucien Laverdure – all in the space of three minutes.

The Victory rallied again, with Archie Thompson and Marco Rojas prominent in trying to get something going in attack, and eventually equalised through substitute Spase Dilevski, in the 72nd minute.

But the Wanderers sat the visitors on their backsides for good when Ono struck a second time.

Popovic is making sure he keeps a lid on the excitement, though, and when asked if the Wanderers were capable of winning the competition he said it was too early to answer in the affirmative.

The Wanderers- next home game will be against Central Coast Mariners on January 6 at Parramatta Stadium at 6pm.

Kids will be allowed in for free and there will be a “Wander and Kick” opportunity held on the pitch after full time.