Western Sydney Wanderers avenged their A-League Grand Final defeat to Adelaide United with a 2-1 victory at Coopers Stadium on Friday.
The champions triumphed 3-1 in the season showpiece at Adelaide Oval in May but suffered just a second defeat in 10 matches against Wanderers thanks to a double from Brendon Santalab.
United, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle Jets last week, took the lead just two minutes before half-time when Henrique blasted the ball high past goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne following Ryan Kitto’s cut-back.
The hosts continued to enjoy the better of the chances until Santalab struck the equaliser on 67 minutes, steering the ball beneath Eugene Galekovic from six yards out after a cross-cum-shot from Mitch Nichols.
Santalab was fortunate to stay on the pitch in the closing stages after a heavy lunge on James Holland, though referee Shaun Evans felt the foul warranted only a yellow card.
And United’s frustration at that decision was compounded in the first minute of injury time, when the 34-year-old striker swept home the winner at the far post after Nichols picked him out in acres of space.
The victory comes as a relief for head coach Tony Popovic, who saw his side thrashed 4-0 in the derby at home to Sydney FC last Saturday following a 4-1 FFA Cup defeat at the hands of Melbourne City.
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