Wanderers’ new dynamic duo tear Reds apart with emphatic Cup statement

Western Sydney Wanderers booked their place in the Quarter Finals of the Australia Cup with an emphatic 5-1 win over Adelaide United.

Talk about sending a statement.

Western Sydney Wanderers thumped Adelaide United 5-1 at Marconi Stadium in their Round of 16 Australia Cup clash on Tuesday night, helped in part due to the performances of their new strike duo Marcus Antonsson and Brandon Borrello who scored a brace each.

Antonsson and Borrello started together for the first time together since the Swede arrived from Saudi Arabia this off-season and didn’t miss a bit, forging an incredible partnership which gave the Reds defence headaches from the off.

The duo combined for four goals, with Antonsson adding an assist as Western Sydney sealed their place in the Quarter Finals in style.

Antonsson opened the scoring inside the opening two minutes and another on the brink of half-time, either side of Borrello’s first of the game in the 38th minute.

The Socceroo added a second to round out the stunning victory as they piled on five goals in the opening 56 minutes; a far cry from the thrilling contests between the two sides last year that ended in a 4-4 draw and 3-2 victory to the Reds.

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“It wouldn’t be hard to fit in alongside someone like Borrello in the way that he plays,” Network 10’s Alex Brosque said.

“He just compliments everyone around him and for a guy like him (Antonsson) who will be judged on his goals, to start in this fashion getting two goals on his debut.

“They’re a very well rounded squad. They’ve lost a lot of players, a lot of good attacking quality midfielders from last year, but they brought in some very good players. He looks a very good find in terms of goal scoring to help Borrello.”

Network 10 pundit Daniel McBreen praised the service for Antonsson’s opener and Borrello’s second from fellow new arrival Jack Clisby and versatile defender Tom Beadling respectively.

“Talk about the service there,” he said.

“We talk about the first ball from Clisby that was put in in the second minute of your debut for your club as a striker, that’s a dream.

“But that ball there (Beadling’s) from deep it was put through for Borrello to run onto that strikers’ dreams, like that really creates the opportunity.”

Antonsson’s performance on his starting debut would certainly give coach Marko Rudan and the Wanderers faithful plenty to be optimistic about going into the new season – especially after fellow new arrival Lachlan Brook also scored five goals in the Round of 32 victory over Floreat Athena.

Western Sydney lost a host of attacking talent in the off-season, including Amor Layouni, Kusini Yengi and Yeni Ngbakoto, and have had to essentially re-tool much of their attack with Antonsson, Brook and Dylan Pierias among the inclusions.

Rudan candidly spoke about their recruitment difficulties in wake of the influx of players heading to Saudi Arabia and other leagues across the world on Monday, saying it’s been “the toughest” recruitment drive in his five seasons coaching in the A-Leagues.

However, the performances of Borrello, Antonsson and Brook – who was missing due to Olyroos duty – throughout the Australia Cup aren’t the only reasons for optimism in the Wanderers camp.

Milos Ninkovic was at his brilliant best on Tuesday night, providing silver service for the attacking duo and adding a goal of his own.

The 38-year-old’s second-half strike was his first goal in Wanderers colours since making the highly publicised move across the divide from Sydney FC last year. Ninkovic popped the ball past Reds keeper Joe Gauci with inch-perfect precision, essentially passing it into the back of the net to add a fourth goal after the half-time interval.

It was a vintage performance from the two-time Johnny Warren Medallist, who showed no signs of slowing down against the Reds.

“It was just a typical ‘Ninko’ finish,” Brosque said.

“Just calm, waiting for his moment through the legs into the post. It was just a pass.”

McBreen added: “Any other player you would think as the ball comes in and they might try to hit it first time, but he took his touch and you knew instinctively he was going to wait for the defender to come across and just pass it.

“You know he’s going to do it but you can’t stop it because it’s timing and the execution is just excellent.”

In the other games, Football NSW League One outfit Inter Lions’ incredible run to the quarters came to a heartbreaking conclusion as Ren Nagamatsu fired home a late winner for NPL South Australia premiers MetroStars.

And over in Melbourne’s west, NPL Victoria’s Melbourne Knights also secured their place in the quarters with a comfortable 2-0 win over Campbelltown City.

They join Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City in the final eight of the competition, with the draw to take place tomorrow after the remainder of tomorrow’s Round of 16 contests come to an end.

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Western Sydney Wanderers 5-1 Adelaide United
Venue: Marconi Stadium

Melbourne Knights 2-0 Campbelltown City
Venue: Knights Stadium

MetroStars 1-0 Inter Lions
Venue: TK Shutter Reserve