Western Sydney Wanderers have achieved the seemingly impossible to become the first Australian champions of Asia. A club that didn't exist three years ago has now clinched the greatest result in Australian club football history by toppling Asia's club of the century to win a historic champions league title.
The Wanderers hung on by the skin of their teeth, with a mixture of desperation and luck denying their hosts, who looked destined to win a third ACL title. It was exhausting just to watch as the suburban club from Sydney's western suburbs braved wave after wave of attack from the club of the Saudi kingdom. They survived the heat of the Arabian desert, the intimidation from nearly 70,000 passionate male fans, laser pointers directed into their eyes and most importantly a match against a team that feels aggrieved not to be on the podium.
Celebration time: the Western Sydney Wanderers on the victory podium. Photo: AFP
The Wanderers didn't arrive at the King Fahd Stadium to outplay Al-Hilal, they weren't even here to match them on the field and if no other team in Asia could up until this point, how can you blame them? They saved their most desperate defending for their hardest test and with the luck of seeing four penalty claims waved away.