Flashback: Wanderers v Roar
Ahead of Western Sydney's top of the table clash with league-leaders Brisbane on Friday night, we look back at the last time the two sides met at Pirtek Stadium.
Ahead of Western Sydney's top of the table clash with league-leaders Brisbane on Friday night, we look back at the last time the two sides met at Parramatta on what was an historic night for the Wanderers and Hyundai A-League.
After a dream debut season saw Western Sydney finish with the Premiers' Plate, Tony Popovic's side still had one more goal to tick off when they hosted the Roar in the grand final qualifier last April.
The Wanderers had defeated the defending champions on all three occasions during the regular season and started warm favourites to be the first side into the A-League decider.
And they made the better start in front of a raucous home crowd, with Dino Kresinger conjuring up the first chance of the match on 15 minutes, drawing a fine save from Michael Theo.
While he was denied on that occasion, the big Croatian wouldn't be denied a minute later.
Youssouf Hersi's darting run released Mark Bridge down the left and his low cross was brilliantly tucked home by Kresinger with a clever back-heel.
Kresinger had a chance to double the lead just eight minutes but couldn't get enough on his header to direct it towards goal.
While the visitors continued to probe without luck, it was the Wanderers who were asking most of the questions and Bridge forced another sprawling save from Theo shortly before the break.
The only moment of concern for Popovic's side in the first half came when youngster Yianni Perkatis tangled with Luke Bratten as the Roar midfielder surged into the box, but their appeals for a penalty were turned down. The second half followed a similar path to the first with the Wanderers continuing to make the play, before desperation saw the Roar finally get a foothold in the contest.
Their task got harder when Thomas Broich – who had battle injury in the lead up to the match – hobbled off 20 minutes from time before some Shinji Ono brilliance settled the outcome.
The Japanese maestro controlled Kresinger's flick-on before steadying and producing a stunning chip over an awestruck Theo.
Only a late red card to Hersi spoiled a superb night for the Wanderers, who booked their maiden grand final berth before being presented with the Premiers' Plate in front of almost 20,000 fans.
Ahead of Friday night's return, Roar midfielder Bratten admits the finals defeat still stings hard.
'It's in the back of our heads,' Bratten said this week.
'That was hard to take. You move on, (but) we'll go down there supremely determined.
'That's the first time I played there and it was a massive game. It's like a 12th man for them. We know what's coming.'
Wanderers boss Popovic added of the clash with Brisbane: 'We've had some great battles with (them)...we've been playing some very good football of late. We feel we can win. That's the main thing for us.
'We do know we're up against a very good opponent, a side that's in great form, playing some great football. We certainly respect that.
'We're very confident playing at home that we can beat anyone and we go into this game believing we'll get the three points. We want to be the best team in the league and we can achieve that.'
The biggest match of the Hyundai A-League season will be simulcast on all three SBS channels - SBS ONE, SBS 2 and SBS HD as well as FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports HD this Friday.
Chat with representatives from your local club and meet Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League stars at Play Football Day this Saturday & Sunday at Westfield centres.
Westfield Kotara Saturday 8 February, 11am-2pm
Westfield Woden Saturday 8 February, 11am-2pm
Westfield Penrith Sunday 9 February, 11am-2pm
Westfield Chatswood Sunday 9 February, 11am-2pm
Westfield Tuggerah Sunday 9 February, 11am-2pm