Wanderers brace for hellish Riyadh

They played a near perfect first leg but Western Sydney Wanderers FC goalkeeper Ante Covic says his side will have to find even more if they are to lift the ACL crown in front of an intimidating crowd in Riyadh this Saturday night (Sunday morning AEDT).

Covic played a starring role for the Wanderers on Saturday night, repelling a raft of Al Hilal chances as the Hyundai A-League club won 1-0 at Parramatta Stadium.

The result means Tony Popovic’s side only need to draw the second leg in Riyadh next week to become the first Australian club to win the biggest trophy in Asian club football.

But Covic is well aware of the challenge that lies ahead, with more than 65,000 fans to pack out the King Fahd International Stadium.

“We want to take it up another notch,” Covic said. “Over there we’re going to have 65,000 fans giving us hell.

“It’s much more intimidating and we’re going to have to step up to the occasion. They’re going to have a lot more confidence so for me, what we did [on Saturday] night), we’re going to have to step it up even further.”

After keeping Al Hilal scoreless in the opening leg, the Wanderers know if they can score an away goal next week the home side would need to get three to clinch the title.

The Wanderers have shown right through the ACL they can score on the road, hitting the back of the net in all but one of their six away matches in the competition so far.

A key part of that impressive record has been the form of striker Tomi Juric, who delivered the vital winner on Saturday night just six minutes after coming off the bench.

“I was confident I could do the job and it was a fantastic achievement for myself to score,” said Juric, who was making his first appearance in seven weeks due to a groin injury.

“I am happy and very proud of it but I don’t look at tonight’s win as a done job at the moment because we have to go over there and pull out a good result.

“Until we do that, the smartest thing is to keep calm and go there and do the best we can. I’m proud of every goal I score and this one tonight was just the same as every other goal.

“Tonight was a bigger occasion and I must admit this is something I dreamed of as a kid and which gives me goosebumps but the main thing is we’re going into the second leg with a big advantage. Keeping a clean sheet was crucial for us.”

The Wanderers will hold an open training session at 11am on Monday, with fans welcome to come and watch Popovic put the squad through their preparations ahead of the second leg.

The squad then flies out for Riyadh on Tuesday night.

The Wanderers face Al Halal in their away leg of the AFC Champions League final on Sunday morning, with the match being broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports 1 and 1HD from 3.55 am (AEDT).