Western Sydney coach Markus Babbel has urged his side to find that killer instinct after the Wanderers blew a two-goal lead against Brisbane to leave Glen Willow with a draw on Saturday.
A double to big Spaniard Oriol Riera inside the first 20 minutes of the A-League community round clash at Mudgee shot the Wanderers out to a 2-0 lead, and another goal for the Western Sydney outfit would have gone a long way to securing the club an all-important second win of the 2018-19 season.
But that third goal never came, and as a result neither did the crucial three points.
Forced to watch on as Brisbane edged its way back into the contest, and eventually netted two goals through Alejandro Lopez Sanchez and Adam Taggart either side of half-time to draw level with his Wanderers, Babbel said the red and black has to find the hunger to finish opposition sides when they’re on the ropes.
The veteran German coach said Saturday’s 2-all draw with Brisbane, in front of 5067 people at Mudgee, was the Wanderers’ worst of the A-League season to date.
“If you’re 2-0 up and you smell it, the opposition side is struggling, if we push in the next 10 minutes ... more energy in the game maybe can score the third one and the game is finished,” Babbel said.
We looked not fresh ... for me, not 100 per cent in the game.Wanderers coach Markus Babbel
“We brought Brisbane back into with our body language. We dropped. We weren’t attacking anymore, we weren’t pressing anymore we lost many challenges and many, many mistakes with the ball.
“We looked not fresh, even in the first 20-25 minutes we weren’t, for me, not 100 per cent in the game.”
Babbel said his side’s poor passing and sudden stray from structure invited the Roar back into the contest.
He’s happy the Wanderers still managed to salvage a point, one that pushes his side up to five competition points after the first month of the season.
“I know they can play a good style of football, unlucky we couldn’t play that way today,” he added.
Riera owned the opening stages of the first A-League clash at Mudgee.
The towering centre-forward banged home the opening goal, cleaning up after Bruce Kamau’s shot ricocheted off the cross bar and into his possession.
He then had a second come the 19th minute when Kamau’s electric footwork was brought to a halt by a tackle referee Johnathan Barreiro deemed illegal inside the box.
Reira’s spot kick was saved briefly by Roar stopper Jamie Young, but the Brisbane keeper didn’t nab it cleanly allowing the Wanderers’ ace to nudge home the deflection and hand the hosts a two-goal advantage.
With Riera and Kamau seemingly unstoppable, and Jordan O’Doherty, Nick Fitzgerald and Alex Baumjohann controlling the mid-field, Western Sydney looked every bit a side capable of piling on the goals.
But as Babbel said they virtually went to sleep.
And that was all the invitation the Roar needed.
The Roar’s chances weren’t frequent, but John Aloisi’s Brisbane boys certainly made the most of them when they came.
Five minutes before the break, Lopez Sanchez’s long range effort hit the right-upright and went in while just after half-time Frenchman Eric Bautheac was brought down in the box by Baumjohann.
The resulting penalty was converted by Taggart, and the scores were locked.
Both sides had chances thereafter, the best off the boot of Western Sydney substitute Jaushua Sotirio, who hit the post with a thundering attempt on goal.
The Wanderers have now hit the post 18 times throughout the opening four games of the season, and the incredibly unlucky trend has resulted in Babbel’s side winning just once in a month.
While not in the Wanderers’ corner, luck was certainly with the Roar – and Aloisi said such fortune could help kick-start Brisbane’s campaign.
“It was a great comeback from the players. We started poorly, we know that,” Aloisi said of his winless Roar side.
“Wanderers put us on the back foot and deserved to go two goals up and we found our way back into the game and began to control the game.
“The comeback is going to give us a massive boost. Wanderers are a good side. They won away from home last week, 3-0, they’ve got quality players going forward … we started to get on top.”
- WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 2 (Oriol Riera 2) drew with BRISBANE ROAR 2 (Alejandro Lopez Sanchez, Adam Taggart)