Western Sydney Wanderers have claimed Australia’s first ever Asian Champions League title as they managed a 1-0 aggregate win in the final. The result came thanks to a scoreless draw in the second leg against Al-Hilal at King Fahad Stadium on Saturday night.
Coming in to the match with a 1-0 lead Western Sydney Wanderers were able to be even more defensive than in the first leg. That surrendered plenty of possession to Al-Hilal who were able to play almost the entire first half which saw them create plenty of chances.
Al-Hilal were just absolutely dominant, they kept on going for the match, having chance after chance. It wasn’t really the Western Sydney Wanderers defense keeping Al-Hilal out, but rather poor shooting, but it didn’t bother the Wanderers at all.
The Wanderers defense was having an impact, as they seemed content to park several busses putting almost all their team in to the box for large chunks of the half. That closed down space for Al-Hilal which made life difficult for the Saudi’s keeping it scoreless at the break.
Al-Hilal had a good penalty shout in the early stages of the first half as a closs from Al-Hilal was blocked by a defender. That block came off of the arm of Brendan Santalab, very clearly, but the referee continued play, letting Western Sydney off the hook.
That did not see Al-Hilal get their heads down and they kept on the attack, bringing on Yasser Al-Qahtani who almost instantly scored. First he had an incredible shot from the edge of the area before his next effort was quickly shut down by Ante Covic who was putting in a man of the match performance.
Ante Covic could easily have gone from hero to villain moments later as he was guilty of taking out the onrushing striker. It was a smart move as the ball was played away Covic, forcing the foul, but again the referee did not side with the Saudis.
In the final 20 minutes a corner presented a rare opportunity for Western Sydney Wanderers as they sent the ball in. But a foolish foul, allowed Al-Hilal to clear, as the hosts got increasingly desperate.
Al-Hilal poured forward for a corner and had three running on to the ball, but again poor shooting cost the hosts. It was a phenomenal run and the header was powerful but just wide, as chance after chance went begging for Al-Hilal.
That was the trend all match and at it just kept going, while the five minutes of stoppage time proved to be stressful Western Sydney got the win. And so the match ended scoreless, which allowed Western Sydney to claim the 1-0 win on aggregate.