Word of the Week : WOW!
By Vinnie Venezuela
There is a rumour that, after watching the Asian Champions League final between Al Hilal and our own Western Sydney Wanderers, both Edgar Davids and Bono gave each other one of those knowing nods that silently speaks volumes and then whipped off their coloured spectacles and had them mailed to Ante Covic … care of Paramatta.
Clearly no keeper in the history of ACL finals has had so much laser light shone in his face. But apart from being an outstanding shot stopper, Ante can also squint like a legend and that he did.
Wow, what a gutsy effort from the Wanderers! What a backline, what a keeper and what magnificent resolve. Sure, they won ugly, they were lucky, but they prevailed and are now the benchmark for every other A League team in this country. That is really exciting.
Kudos to the whole Wanderers set up. After such a short history, limited funds and the loss of several key players during the campaign they did it. Add to that the pressure of playing away from home in front of 60 thousand antagonistic fans against a club that clearly felt itself entitled and the wowness just keeps rolling in.
As coach Tony Popovic said at the press conference after the game: "We were called a small club yesterday. Today we are the biggest in Asia."
The other rumour, linked to the final is that Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura immediately entered the FIFA witness protection program and has been whisked to one of its benevolent committees that award World Cups to deserving nations. That one is clearly a lie as we all know Sepp works alone.
But Sepp, I want you to wow us by personally following up on the disgraceful antics of Nasir Alshamrani who head butted, spat and then just lost it at Matty Spiranovic after the final whistle. Shine a laser light in his eye, tell him what the world football community stands for and have him weep at your feet. Do it Sepp, you owe us that. (You could also give us our bid money back, if you wanted to.)
Meanwhile back home in Round 4 of A League games there were a few other events that also had us gasping in amazement.
Perhaps the biggest was the fact that David Villa, who had already wowed us with his brilliance and then with the revelation that he was only staying for 4 games played his last match with Melbourne City. While the result was not good, I’m told the dinner he shouted was tip top.
City needed to beat Adelaide, but didn’t despite scoring first and briefly looking very good. There is certainly a lot of pressure on the City boys who must show their fans they are more than just a new coloured strip and a bit of a rebrand. Now is the time to wow.
Adelaide United who beat them confidently have certainly moved up a notch or two this season and Bruce Djite was again potent putting away a perfect cross that came at the end of some magical build up play. Kamau forced a penalty, Carusca slotted it home - all exciting to watch.
Graham Arnold is also showing that his boys in blue will be a force to be reckoned with and the spectacular goal by Terry Antonis is a testament to the fact that Dowtown.com is where the Sydney boys currently like to do their best work.
Even though Sydney did well to defeat the Mariners, it’s fair to say that the Central Coast also had a few opportunities to shake up the game and Mitchell Duke’s sweet half volley that hit the crossbar is a sign that teams should remain wary of them.
Finally, you’d think that having four key players out of your squad would bring more pain than pleasure. Unfortunately, no one told Kevin Muscat that and the Victory was excellent against a plucky Wellington Phoenix.
The crowd at AAMI park was heaving with enthusiasm and Victory’s make shift back four were impressive. As was Fahid Ben Khalfallah who seemed to be in everything. Finkler again scored from a set piece and Connor Pain’s run to receive the ball from Archie and then slot it home was gold.
Wow, what a week in A League football.
The Four Diegos