The Western Sydney Wanderers have continued their astonishing journey as they defeated FC Seoul 2-0 to reach the AFC Champions League Final in their debut season; a first for an Australian club.
Playing at Parramatta Stadium, a ground where the Red & Black have never lost a knockout match in any competition, a Mateo Poljak scremer gave the perfect start before a Shannon Cole header settled nerves in the second half.
The goals and wins continued a remarkable effort of having not conceded a goal at home since Round 1. It is a remarkable achievement for a Club less than three years old who are in their third final having already made two in the Hyundai A-League.
After a 0-0 stalemate in the first leg it was always going to be a tense night with the first goal going along way to deciding who would win the tie.
And the Wanderers couldn’t have dreamed of a better start as Poljak scored his first ACL goal inside the first three minutes.
Seoul keeper Yu Sanghun punched Cole’s free-kick right into the path of the Croatian waiting just outside the box.
Poljak showed great control and awareness to keep his first-time volley down, finding its way through a slew of players and into the back of the net to get Wanderland jumping.
And the home side should have doubled their lead just four minutes later when Brendon Santalab was sent through by Iacopo La Rocca but his effort bounced just the wrong side of the post.
Chasing the goal needed to get them through, the visitors lifted their intensity at the start of the second half but struggled to penetrate the well-structured and at times desperate Wanderers defence.
Cole’s brilliant sliding challenge to block Osmar Barba’s effort epitomized the home side’s commitment.
But as Seoul kept coming, the Wanderer’s got the vital second goal through Cole almost midway through the half.
Labinot Haliti hung up a left-wing cross to the far post with Cole, who missed the first leg through suspension, outmuscling Chiwoo and diverting his header past Sanghun.
The home side then saw out the match comfortably, snuffing out any hope of a late Seoul fightback to continue their remarkable run in their debut Champions League campaign.
Tony Popovic’s side will face Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia over two legs in the final, with the first match in Sydney on October 25, followed by the second leg away a week later.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (Poljak 3′ Cole 64′)
FC Seoul 0
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