Abu Dhabi: Wanderers win the game but lose the trophy

The Western Sydney Wanderers signed off in Abu Dhabi with a win overnight but were denied the silverware on goal difference.

Tony Popovic’s men came from a goal down to beat the eventual IPIC Champions, Al Jazira 2-1, with goals from Iacopo La Rocca and Kwabena Appiah.

The tournament has been used by the Wanderers to prepare for the AFC Champions League semi-final against FC Seoul on September 17.

Al Jazira fans were out in force on another steamy night in the Persian Gulf for the final match of the tournament and it was the home side that found the early break.

The Spider’s new Argentinian recruit Manuel Lanzini’s clever through ball behind the Wanderers defence found Jucilei who cut inside Hamill and blasted the ball into the roof of the net.

The A-League outfit hit back almost immediately. La Rocca’s header at the back post, off a beautifully floated Saba corner, beat the keeper and an attempted last ditch bicycle kick off the line.

Lanzini was busy throughout the match but was largely contained by the Wanderers defence.

Saba, who had a strong first half, again threatened the Al Jazira defence with a whipped cross in the 20th minute, just out of reach of Labinot Haliti at the far post.

The teams went into the break deadlocked at 1-1 and it was the Wanderers who took control in the second half creating a number of good chances.

The breakthrough came on the hour when Mark Bridge, deployed on the left wing, went past two defenders before sliding a perfectly weighted ball across the 18-yard-box for Appiah to run onto.

With a controlling touch Appiah slotted the ball past Al Senani to get his first goal for the club since scoring against Japan’s Shimizu S-Pulse in last season’s pre-season tour.

Chances came at both ends but the Wanderers held on for a the win while Al Jazira took home the trophy.

Al Jazira 1 (Jucilei 15’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Iacopo La Rocca 16', Kwabena Appiah 60’)