The Western Sydney Wanderers are through to their second straight A-League Grand Final.
The Wanderers qualified for next weekend’s season decider with a 2-0 trumping of the Central Coast Mariners in front of a sellout crowd at Pirtek Stadium tonight.
In the process, coach Tony Popovic’s rotation policy was vindicated and Shinji Ono had the perfect home farewell.
Facing a Mariners side that was forced to take a mid-week trip to Japan, the Wanderers looked good early and broke the deadlock in the 30th minute when Youssouf Hersi found the back of the net off a beautiful Brendon Santalab pass.
For Hersi, qualifying for the Grand Final is extra special as he missed last year’s season decider through suspension.
Bouyed by their passionate supporters, the Wanderers confirmed Grand Final qualification with an 80th minute goal through Iacopo La Rocco, which sent the crowd into raptures (well, those who saw it – the goal happened to come during the famous ‘poznan’).
The Wanderers will play either the Brisbane Roar or Melbourne Victory in next weekend’s Grand Final. If the Victory manage to upset the Roar, the game will be played in Sydney, but if the Roar win, the match will be played at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Sunday afternoon.
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was thrilled with the result.
“It’s been a special week and it ends on a real high – I’m very proud to be the head coach of this club and for our fans to experience another grand final is tremendous for them,” he told Fox Sports.
“We’ll take this in tonight and the planning will start to take place tomorrow morning.”