Stunners galore as Western Sydney Wanderers defeat Sydney Olympic

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Report by Tim Gibson.

Western Sydney Wanderers got up 3-2 in an all-action encounter with Sydney Olympic on Saturday night at Wanderers Football Park. 

Sydney Olympic went in front four minutes in through Michael Vakis before goals to Alexander Badolato and Anthony Pantazopoulos for the Wanderers rounded out a thrilling first 10 minutes.

Teng Kuol equalised for Olympic with 20 regular minutes to play but Nathanael Blair grabbed the points for Western Sydney in stoppage time.

The hosts had the first chance of the match three minutes in when Aydan Hammond jinked into a shooting position on the edge of the area and fired just over.

Olympic went down the other end moments later and took the lead.

Roy O’Donovan received the ball in the right of the box and struck the crossbar with a fierce effort. The ball came out to Vakis on the left edge of the box. He cut inside and unleashed a right-footed curler that nestled in the far side of the goal.

Olympic’s lead lasted less than two minutes.

Zachary Sapsford was played in behind down the right and slid a low cross across the box that dropped to Badolato, who slotted the ball past Noah James in the Olympic goal. Western Sydney kept their momentum going and, seconds later, took the lead.

Ryley Hollingdale’s left-sided corner fell to Pantazopoulos in the box, and the defender passed an accurate, low finish inside the right post.

Sydney Olympic sought to respond over the next 15 minutes as they got dangerous deliveries into the box, but the Wanderers pulled off some last-ditch clearances.

The best chance in this period fell to O’Donovan, who latched onto a ball over the top and nodded beyond an onrushing Wanderers goalkeeper Taiga Harper.

However, the goalkeeper raced back and retrieved the ball that was rolling towards his goal.

Sapsford could have extended Western Sydney’s advantage in the 20th minute when he received the ball in the right of the box but blazed his shot over. In the 36th minute, the lively Kuol nearly got Olympic back on level terms firing a powerful shot on the turn in the right of the box that was well repelled by James.

Marcus Younis took the ball down the Wanderers’ right a few seconds later and hit a swerving shot that just missed the right post.

Western Sydney went into halftime with a slender lead after an exhilarating first half at Wanderers Football Park.

The side almost made a dream start to the second period as Hammond found the net within two minutes but was flagged offside.

Olympic came close twice over the next 10 minutes.

In the 55th minute, Sam McIllhatton lined up a long-range strike that Harper was forced to palm over the top for a corner.

Two minutes later, O’Donovan curled an effort that dropped onto the top netting.

The Wanderers returned fire 64 minutes in when substitute Adam Bugarija made room for a shot from outside the area that flew narrowly over.

Six minutes after this latest Western Sydney attack, Sydney Olympic restored parity.

Kuol arrowed a sensational left-sided free-kick into the top right corner to get his team back into the game against his former club.

As the game ticked into the final five regular minutes, both teams had chances to win it.

In the 85th minute, Western Sydney’s Badolato danced his way into the right of the box before rifling a low shot that fizzed across the face of goal.

Three minutes later, Olympic’s O’Donovan had even better opportunity when a left-sided cross found the forward at the far post, but he headed over.

Deep into stoppage time, the hosts were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box.

Nathanael Blair took responsibility and picked out the top right corner to snatch the points at the death for the Wanderers. The goal triggered scenes from the home fans as they celebrated the team’s winner.

The Wanderers remained resolute in the final moments to secure the points in a super match on Saturday night as well as maintaining top spot on the league ladder while it was yet another disappointing result for Olympic, a team littered with stars, currently languishing in mid-table

Source: Football NSW.

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