Football 2 years ago

Wanderers comeback not surprising: skipper

  • Wanderers comeback not surprising: skipper

    SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES - APRIL 01: Brendon Santalab of the Wanderers is congratulated by Nikolai Topor-Stanley of the Wanderers as acknowledges the crowd while he celebrates scoring a goal during the round 26 A-League match between the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Central Coast Mariners at Pirtek Stadium on April 1, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Western Sydney skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley laughed every time he heard someone call Brisbane the A-League's comeback kings.

Because he knew every member of his team had been painstakingly instilled with the Tony Popovic traits of a calm mind and unmatched fitness.

The Wanderers' season appeared certain to be over when they trailed 3-0 to the Roar 23 minutes into Sunday's semi-final at Pirtek Stadium.

You might also like

But a Romeo Castelen hat-trick inspired an historic revival, and Dario Vidosic's 5-4 extra-time winner sent the young club to their third grand final in just four years of existence.

While Topor-Stanley admitted shock at the astonishing triumph, there was nothing unexpected in the method.

"I know the mentality of these boys, and everyone's talking about Brisbane being comeback kings, but we let our football do the talking," Topor-Stanley said.

"We never, ever think we're out of the game.

"We work on having a clear, calm mind when things aren't going for you.

"The Roar are still a good side so credit to them. They've put in the hard yards this year as well, but I knew we had them in the back pocket."

The Wanderers will need all their mental and physical strength when they face Adelaide in Sunday's decider at Adelaide Oval.

There's not much between the two sides who have played out three draws this season, the most recent a goalless stalemate at Parramatta.

However the Reds have let in the fewest goals of all 10 teams, and the Wanderers will want to tie up some defensive weaknesses that allowed Brisbane to infiltrate unnecessarily.

"They're very strong defensively, but the way we played them here last time shows that we're capable against them," Topor-Stanley said.

"We completely dominated that game without actually putting it in the back of the net.

"We've got to go away this time, but home or away we've got to play the same way."

Topor-Stanley has waited two long years for another grand-final moment after he limped off Suncorp Stadium in the 2013-14 decider.

His knee injury was a significant turning point in that capitulation to the Roar, and the foundation centre-back said it's been a big ambition to get another shot.

"You never know when the next opportunity is going to be," he said.

"You try not to get caught up in the whole emotion of it, but that's the hallmark of Tony Popovic."

0 0
please wait...