Top 4 Wanderers ACL moments

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After the monumental achievement of the Western Sydney Wanderers becoming the Asian Champions in the AFC Champions League, it is fair to say that a reflection is required to truly understand what the club has achieved in their first every attempt at the competition.

Here are the top four moments of the Wanderers’ AFC Champions League campaign.

4. Marcello Lippi
There was a naked streaker against Al-Hilal in the home leg of the AFC Champions League final but he was nothing in comparison to the storm of Marcello Lippi that also caused havoc on the field, except he was wearing clothes.

Coaches shouldn’t ever enter the field but Italian World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi, coach of Guangzhou Evergrande, clearly thought he was the exception.

In one of the most controversial games of the Champions League, Lippi sprinted onto the field arguing a red card given to his player for kicking Wanderer Vitor Saba in the face.

You would have thought at this point that such an exceptional coach would perhaps come to his senses and get off the field, but clearly this was not an option for Lippi. He then proceeded to threaten Saba and try to fight him post-match.

Lippi was then banned for the away leg of the match, but he clearly didn’t care as he sat in the stadium smoking a cigar and sending orders to his players from far away.

3. Progression into the Round of 16
The Wanderers’ journey in the group stages was a roller-coaster ride which saw them lose their very first game at home. This caused them to be written off by many individuals at the start of the campaign as it was perceived to be almost out of reach and out of depth for a football club only in its second year.

Yet the first game provided them with the harsh learning curve they needed and the incentive to improve themselves so that they can progress further into the competition.

This knock-out round displayed the belief that the players had in themselves to not only reach this point of the competition, but also the belief that they could extend their campaign.

Such sense of belief was paralleled by many of the supporters, with many finally realising what the Wanderers could achieve after their 2-1 win against Sanfrecce Hiroshima at the home leg, consequently proving that nothing was impossible for the Wanderers.

2. The Great Wall of Covic
From his elbow that pushed out a penalty against Chinese football giants Guangzhou Evergrande to his spectacular save pushing the ball from behind him and out of the goal in the away leg final, almost every attack on goal by prevented by Ante Covic.

Not even multiple lasers that made him look like an 80s disco ball during the AFC Champions League Final could prevent Covic from saving goals.

Without question, Covic was extremely important in the Wanderers’ lengthy progression in the Champions League, with many fans now calling for a statue of him outside of Pirtek Stadium, which certainly seems like a reasonable suggestion after his epic saves.

1. Campione, campione, ole, ole, ole!
Without question, the Wanderers’ defeat of Al-Hilal at home and the maintaining of a nil-all draw in the away leg was by far the most spectacular achievement by the team from Western Sydney.

Being crowned as the first Australian team to ever become the champions of Asia is a blessing on its own without noting the fact that this was the club’s first attempt at the competition.

With the main question from many supporters now being asked if there will be a gold star added above the club’s logo on Wanderers’ jerseys this season, it is understandable that this is an achievement that will be permanently carved into Australian sporting history.

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Jessica Csaszar
Jessica joined the team for 2014 covering Western Sydney Wanderers in the Westfield W-League and Hyundai A-League.

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