2017 AFC Champions League, Group Stage
  • Takahiro Sekine (14')
  • Zlatan Ljubijankic (18')
  • Tadanari Lee (43')
  • Rafael Silva (71', 79')
  • Shinzo Koroki (90'+4')
  • Jumpei Kusukami (66')

Western Sydney thrashed by Urawa, eliminated from ACL

Urawa Reds celebrate ACL goal v Western Sydney KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images

Western Sydney's AFC Champions League (ACL) campaign is effectively over after a 6-1 thrashing on Wednesday night at the hands of Urawa Red Diamonds, their biggest loss in Asia.

Five days after their A-League season ended in Brisbane, the Wanderers were outclassed in Japan, repeatedly ripped apart at Saitama Stadium in reminiscent fashion of their opening 4-0 loss in Campbelltown.

Despite a mini second-half fightback underpinned by Jumpei Kusukami's first goal since January, Tony Popovic's side remain tied to the bottom of Group F, with one match remaining against Shanghai SIPG.

The 2014 ACL winners needed not only a win against the group leaders but a hatful of goals to remain even an outside chance of progressing as one of the top two teams.

The goals did come on Wednesday, just not at the right end, as Popovic's experimental three-man defence proved no match for the ruthless attack of the J-League leaders.

So pinned down were the Wanderers in the first half they didn't register a single shot until the 35th minute, by which time Urawa had 11 including two goals.

The first was a clean 14th-minute strike from Takahiro Sekine, found by Yuki Muto in far too much space.

Four minutes later, Yoshiaki Komai was afforded equally generous time and territory to deliver a precise through ball that Slovenian striker Zlatan Ljubijankic poked home to double the lead.

There was little answer from the visitors bar one of numerous blazing runs by Scott Neville, deployed as a wing-back, to set up Brendon Santalab for a header that smacked into the crossbar.

The moment was all too fleeting, and before the half-time whistle Komai was on the assist again for Tadanari Lee in a smooth play made to look all too easy.

Santalab could have had a hat trick by the time he spurned another opportunity after the break, but Jumpei pulled one back in his home country via a delightful chip over Reds goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa.

That sparked life in the visitors and they briefly got back in the match, until Rafael Silva put away a late brace with superb control.

With the result already beyond doubt, Silva combined beautifully with injury-time scorer Shinzo Koroki to finish off the massacre and take the Wanderers' goals conceded tally to 20 from five games.