Wanderers' ACL win a Bridge over troubled water

Goal-scoring hero Mark Bridge hopes Western Sydney Wanderers FC’s winning start to their ACL title defence will now spark a change of fortunes for the club.

The Wanderers gave another example of why they are kings of Asia, knocking off J-League giants Kashima Antlers 3-1 in Japan on Tuesday night.

Bridge played a huge role in the victory, setting up the first two goals before putting the result to bed with one of his own in stoppage time.

“I’m coming back from injury so I’m always happy to get 90 minutes under my belt,” Bridge told Fox Sports after the match.

“The boys played well. Kashima are a very good team.

“I know there season hasn’t started yet but you can see they are going to be quality coming later into the Champions League as well.

“It’s good to get three points away from home. Now it’s a matter of carrying on with it.”

And that starts with the small matter of a Sydney derby at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday night when fierce rivals Sydney FC come to town.

It will be interesting to see how the Wanderers recover from this match, not getting back into Sydney until Friday morning.

Coach Tony Popovic spared the likes of Ante Covic, Nikita Rukavytsya, Romeo Castelen, Brendan Hamill and Iacopo La Rocca the trip to Japan to ensure he will have at least a few fresh players for the challenge of the Sky Blues.

“It’s a very short turnaround for us - we land Friday morning and play Saturday night,” Bridge conceded.

“We’ve got some players that didn’t travel and should be fresh so I’m sure there’s going to be a bit of chopping and changing leading into the weekend.”

The Wanderers are next in action in the ACL next Wednesday night when they host Chinese giants Guangzhou Evergrande, one of the sides they beat on the way to last year’s title.