Sports / Soccer

Western Sydney wins Asian Champions League final

(Agencies) Updated: 2014-11-02 09:20

Western Sydney wins Asian Champions League final

Players of Australia's Western Sydney Wanderers hold the trophy as the celebrate winning their second-leg soccer match of the Asian Champions League final against Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh November 1, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

Western Sydney wins Asian Champions League final
 Growing success from the grassroots
Western Sydney wins Asian Champions League final
Sowing sporting seeds of growth 
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - The youngest of the Australian A-League clubs became the first to win the Asian Champions League title, with Western Sydney Wanderers holding Saudi powerhouse Al Hilal to a 0-0 draw in the second leg of the final for a 1-0 aggregate victory.

Western Sydney spent most of the game defending as Al Hilal poured forward in waves off attack in front of a frenetic home crowd, but goalkeeper Ante Covic made a string of saves to keep the two-time champions scoreless for a second straight game.

"The game was everything you expect from a final," Wanderers coach Tony Popovic said. "They are a very good team, they had fantastic support, but we are an excellent team and we showed over two legs how good we are."

Western Sydney was playing in the continental competition for the first time, and was only founded in 2012. Now the Wanderers will represent Asia at the FIFA Club World Cup next month in Morocco.

"We are extremely honored to be able to do that and we will certainly do our confederation proud," Popovic said. "We will go there to give it our very best, we will enjoy the experience, and it is a fantastic achievement for our club in such a short space of time."

The Saudi team was frustrated against a defense intent on not conceding, the Wanderers relying on Tomi Juric's goal in the 1-0 home win last weekend to hold up and deliver them the title.

Al Hilal appealed for a penalty shortly before halftime when Nawaf Al Abed appeared to be brought down by Antony Golec in the area, and continued protesting when leaving the field for the break.

The hosts had late chances to level the aggregate score and force extra time, but Covic saved an effort by Yasser Al Qahtani with five minutes remaining, and then denied Nasser Al Shamrani moments later.

Al Hilal's Romanian coach Laurentiu Reghecampf said his team played the better football and deserved a better outcome.

"We had bad luck and we had many chances. We were the best team over the two games," he said. "If you lose one game when you play bad, you can congratulate the other team. But when you play how we played and they play how they played, we feel very bad.

"I think the fans saw what we did in this match. The players tried their best. We didn't deserve to lose this game."

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