The Wanderers edge past Roar in nine-goal thriller


Western Sydney Wanderers staged a remarkable fightback from 3-0 down to set up a grand final trip to Adelaide after a 5-4 extra-time win over Brisbane Roar at Pirtek Stadium.

Castelen’s hat-trick inspired a memorable Western Sydney fightback, taking the lead in the 59th minute, before Maclaren sent the match into extra time with an 81st minute equaliser. 

However it was Vidosic in extra time who sent the home crowd into raptures and booked Tony Popovic’s side a spot in the grand final against Adelaide United.

The Wanderers carved out the first chance of the match in the eighth minute, when Nichols found Castelen with a clever flick, but the winger sprayed his first-time strike high and wide.

Brisbane Roar broke the deadlock in the 15th minute, when Andreu was penalised for a handball in the box. Petratos stepped up to the penalty spot and made no mistake, sending Redmayne the wrong way to put Roar in front.

Western Sydney were left stunned when Roar doubled their lead just five minutes later, and Andreu was in the thick of it again, this time Corona’s cross deflected off the midfielder’s back and into his own goal.

The Wanderers’ capitulation continued after conceding a third goal in eight minutes when Borello broke down the right hand side and cut it back for Maclaren, whose strike deflected off Alberto and looped over Redmayne.

Castelen pulled one back for the Wanderers in the 26th minute with a stunning free kick from the top of the box to get his side back into the match.

Santalab continued his hot-streak in front of goal and reduced the Wanderers’ deficit to one goal just before half-time. 

Remarkably, the Wanderers leveled the scores in the 54th minute after Young parried Nichols’s strike in to the path of Castelen, who rifled the ball in from close range to complete a remarkable comeback.

Castelen came within inches of completing his hat-trick three minutes later after following up on Bridges strike, only to be denied by the post.

The winger’s persistence paid off in the 59th minute after latching onto Young’s clearance and scoring a delightful half volley from the top of the box.

The drama wasn’t through and Roar found the equaliser in the 81st minute when Henrique took it to the byline and squared it for Maclaren who passed the tapped it in from close range.

Both sides looked for the winner in the dying stages, but by the end of regular time both sides couldn’t be separated and the match went to extra time.

The Wanderers carved out the first opportunity in extra time when Cole surged to the byline and clipped it up for Bridge, whose header forced Young into a comfortable save.

The home side broke the deadlock in the 102nd minute when Vidosic got on the end of Bridge’s driven cross and turned it past Young.

“It’s amazing the character of the boys today. We came out victorious today,” Hat-trick hero Castelen said.

“It’s something we’ve worked on. We never give up. We always believe we’ll come out on top and today we showed it again.

“We didn’t lose our spirit and we came out on top again.”

In front of over 20,000 fans it was a fitting way to say goodbye to Wanderland before the knockdown-rebuild which will see the venue morph into a state-of-the-art 30,000 all-seater. 

The stadium was rocking from start to finish with most observers saying it was one of the greatest nights in league history.

“You can compare it to a big game in Europe. It’s a pity the stadium is a little bit small but the atmosphere feels like 50,000 in the stadium,” Castelen said.

“They really support the club. If there could be 50,000 [at the stadium] they’d be here.

“Credit to the fans.”

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