ACL FINAL 1ST LEG: WSW 1-0 AL HILAL

2014-10-26

Parramatta: Tomi Juric came off the bench to secure Western Sydney Wanderers a slim advantage to take to Riyadh for the second leg of the AFC Champions League final next week, scoring the only goal of the game as the Australian side defeated Al Hilal at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday.

The 23-year-old made an immediate impact on his return from an injury-enforced absence to give the A-League side the lead after the first leg when he struck with a first time finish in the 64th minute following Antony Golec’s perfectly flighted cross from the left.

The home side created nothing of note before the 58th minute introduction of Juric, who gave their attack purpose as the home side punished an Al Hilal side that had dominated proceedings without causing Wanderers goalkeeper Ante Covic significant concern.

Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic included striker Brendon Santalab in his starting line-up, but left both Juric and Socceroos centre-half Mathew Spiranovic on the bench while Saud Kariri captained Al Hilal after shaking off the effects of a cold that saw him pay a visit to hospital earlier in the week.

Al Hilal had little response to Juric’s strike and coach Laurentiu Reghecampf will be looking for an improved performance in front of his side’s own fans next Saturday at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh if the AFC Champions League crown is to return to Saudi Arabia.