Topor-Stanley still grieving after Grand Final loss

While the Reds are celebrating their maiden A-League title after a 3-1 win in front of 50,000 people at Adelaide Oval, Western Sydney Wanderers Captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley says only time will ease the pain a third Grand Final loss.  

Both the Reds and the Wanderers had two previous Grand Final losses to their name before Sunday’s title decider.

After coming back from 3-0 against Brisbane, Western Sydney again went behind.

The Wanderers fought back in the second half but Adelaide were crowned Champions of the A-League for the first time in their history in front of their rapturous home fans.

Topor-Stanley has been involved in three of the Wanderers defeats in the A-League Championship decider and says it will take a while to get over this setback.

“For me it is still quite raw obviously,” he said.

“Being in three Grand Final losses now doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. Talking about it isn’t really going to bring the opportunity back. I just have to live with that disappointment and only time will heal that.”

It’s the Wanderers third Grand Final loss in four seasons and Topor-Stanley feels that compared to the other two occasions this one stands out because of the chances that they generated during the game.

“They’re all very, very tough,” he said. “I guess, if I was going to reflect on the chances that we created in all of the three games I think we created the most stuff this year. 

“But on the day we got punished for our mistakes. Give credit to Adelaide too, they defended very resolutely and I guess they were efficient in converting their chances and really punishing us for our mistakes.”

Topor-Stanley added, “I don’t really think we matched their physicality especially in the first half an hour.  They were quite dominant and came out very hard. The key when that is happening is to not concede and we conceded two. So it was our mistake. 

“We didn’t kind of really batten down the hatches when we needed to and were under the pump there. Games always turn and we had the lion’s share of possession in the second half. We still believed we going to get it, we got one back. But the third goal was a bit of a dagger.”

One of the errors that Topor-Stanley refers to is the foul that led to the brilliant free kick that made the score two nil.

“Look that was a mistake by me,” he said. “You never give away a foul on purpose, unless it’s a professional foul. I didn’t mean to bring him down in the box and give him the opportunity. But he put it in the top corner. He just executed and it was a pretty unstoppable shot. 

“There was a lot of build-up work to get into the box in the first place. That’s why you can’t just look at the end. You’ve got to take it for what it is which is probably four or five moves ago we could have stopped him. I did what I thought was right to try and get a foot in there and poke it away. But you know, so be it.”

  • Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Click here to see more of his work and check out the latest episode of his A-League Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.