Wanderers five star show against Guangzhou
An opening goal to Brendon Santalab and a brace each to Labinot Haliti and Youssouf Hersi sealed the result for the Red and Black.
In high temperatures at the Sanshui training base, it took time for Western Sydney Wanderers to find their feet in the testing conditions.
Coach Tony Popovic started the match with a relatively young side but they soon took control keeping possession well and limiting the Chinese side to a defensive passing game that produced few openings for the home side.
The Wanderers' pace down the wings through Tahj Minniecon and Kwabena Appiah proved a handful for the Guangzhou team and with Adam D’Apuzzo and Shannon Cole overlapping well, the Wanderers chances started to come.
Haliti and Santalab both had several half chances but the large Chinese defence cut out any aerial threat from crosses and added just enough pressure during some fast attacking moves from the Wanderers forward line to nullify any advantage.
However on 32 minutes the Wanderers broke the deadlock when 16-year-old NYL player Martin Lo dribbled between two players before playing a weighted pass into Santalab who coolly slotted the ball past the Gaungzhou goalkeeper.
With seven changes at half time the fresh legs for the Wanderers got straight to work putting the Guangzhou side immediately to task with Haliti scoring his first of two following an Aaron Mooy pass that cut through the defence allowing Haliti to tuck the ball into the bottom left of the Guangzhou goal.
Haliti was on the scoresheet again minutes later when Dean Heffernan, playing at centre half, played a slicing through ball into his path with the striker doing well to beat the rushing goalkeeper and score.
At the 60 minute mark, Popovic made his final changes, bringing on Mark Bridge, Michael Beauchamp, Tomi Juric and Hersi with the Red and Black now asserting complete dominance over the Guangzhou side.
With Mooy pulling the strings as the number 10, many chances were created and Hersi was soon on the receiving end, accepting a pass at the edge of the box before blasting one past the keeper from just inside the area.
While more chances presented themselves throughout the half, it was Hersi who closed out the scoring in the dying minutes with another well taken goal rounding the keeper and putting the ball in at his second attempt.
Again 22 players were used, and while playing conditions were draining, it was another good pre-season hit out for the reigning Premiers.
Goal scorer Hersi was pleased to make a mark on the game in the half hour he had on the pitch.
“I was lucky because I only came on for the last 30 minutes, it was really hot out there, and I got two goals,” said Hersi.
“The trip has been very good for our experience, first of all in Japan and now in China. While it is very hot it is good to be here in preparation for the Champions League.
“All the stuff on this trip, the travelling, meeting the new players, and seeing what it is like playing here. Everything is a new experience for us and we are learning; which is good.”
The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers play their final match of WanderTour 2013 in Tokyo at Tama City Stadium on Thursday against Tokyo Verdy.
Western Sydney Wanderers 5 (Santalab 32’, Haliti 51’/58’, Hersi 68’/88’)
Guangzhou R&F 0
8 September, 2013
Sanshui Training Base
Western Sydney Wanderers starting line-up: 20.Jerrard Tyson (1.Ante Covic 46’), 3. Adam D’Apuzzo (Nicholas Olsen 46’), 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley (18. Iacopo La Rocca 46’), 8.Mateo Poljak (10.Aaron Mooy 46’), 2.Shannon Cole (5.Michael Beauchamp 60’), 7.Labinot Haliti (9. Tomi Juric 60’), 11.Brendon Santalab (6. Jerome Polenz 46’), 14. Kwabena Appiah (17.Youssouf Hersi 60’), 15.Jake McGing (19. Mark Bridge 60’), 12. Tahj Minniecon (22.Dean Heffernan 46’), 16. Martin Lo (23. Jason Trifiro 46’)
Substitute not used: 21. Shinji Ono