Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder Kwabena Appiah says his side’s A-League grand final loss to Brisbane Roar is extremely upsetting but they must now shift their focus on to their Asian Champions Group of 16 clash with Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Wednesday.
Western Sydney led the Roar 1-0 in the second half thanks to a Matt Spiranovic goal just before the hour mark, but Besart Berisha equalised in the 86th minute before Henrique secured the dramatic win for Brisbane in extra-time.
The Wanderers attention is now firmly on the ACL as they play Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the first leg in Japan in just three days time.
“We’re gutted,” Appiah told FourFourTwo. “It hurts… we had it in our hands. It was extremely close.”
Appiah was selected in the Wanderers’ initial 19-man squad for the grand final but did not make the match-day squad with the inclusion of Mark Bridge.
The 21-year old, who played in last season’s 2-0 grand final defeat to the Mariners, hailed his teammates effort.
“The boys played fantastic, not one player could be faulted for their work ethic,” Appiah said.
“It’s extremely upsetting for all the hard work put in. It’s been a great season none the less - two grand finals, the top two spots in two seasons, you can’t ask for more really apart from lifting that trophy.
"But it’s time to knuckle down and go again next season.”
In Sanfrecce Hiroshima the Wanderers face a team that finished second in Group F, recording two wins, three draws and one loss from their six ACL group games.
The Japanese team are currently fourth on the J-League table after 11 rounds, just one point behind league-leaders the Urawa Reds.
The Wanderers will host Sanfrecce Hiroshima at Pirtek Stadium in the return leg on May 14.
Western Sydney could face the J-League outfit without key defender Nikolai-Topor Stanley, after he was forced from the field in the second half on the grand final with a knee injury.
“We have to quickly shift our focus onto Hiroshima, it’s going to be an incredibly tough game,” Appiah said. “They’re a quality team.”comments