WSW skipper injured in chaotic ALM draw

·3-min read

Western Sydney have copped a massive hit to their A-League Men campaign after captain and former Socceroos defender Rhys Williams suffered a serious hamstring tear in their dramatic 3-3 draw with champions Melbourne City

Sunday's brilliant, end-to-end game was soured when a distraught who has a lengthy injury history, pounded the ground in frustration then was taken off on a stretcher in the 78th minute, having hurt his hamstring as he attempted to chase down a ball.

"He's a great leader, we wish him a speedy recovery," Wanderers assistant Labinot Haliti said.

"It didn't look good but I'm sure the medical staff will look after it and we'll get more of an update as we go along."

Both teams were playing their first game since December 18 after having games postponed due to COVID-19 cases.

Western Sydney were without under-pressure coach Carl Robinson through illness, with assistant Haliti taking the reins.

In the fifth minute, Keanu Baccus teed up Troisi, who unleashed a fizzing strike into the bottom corner.

Four minutes later, Dimi Petratos slipped a pass through to Rodwell, who charged onto the ball and smashed home his first ALM goal.

"We're a big club, so it's (taking an early lead) no surprise. All we need is a bit of belief and we'll get on with it," Haliti said.

"We showed tonight what we can do."

City hit back in the 16th minute.

After a clever build-up, Scott Jamieson skidded the ball across the face of goal and Galloway tapped home, with the ball deflecting off Petratos.

City levelled in the 36th minute when Florin Berenguer played a short corner to Jamieson, who whipped the ball into the mixer for Maclaren to rise highest and head home.

In the 60th minute, Marco Tilio handed City the lead when he cut onto his left and ripped a delightful strike inside the near post.

Eight minutes later, Steven Ugarkovic masterfully released Keijiro Ogawa, who controlled the ball and coolly scored the equaliser past Tom Glover.

In the 85th minute, Western Sydney were dismayed not to receive a handball penalty when Rostyn Griffiths appeared to move his arm towards a Terry Antonis strike.

"At the end of the day, it's the referee's decision. In my opinion he got it wrong," Troisi told Paramount Plus.

Glover brilliantly denied Ogawa with his legs in the 94th to preserve a point.

"We could do better over the 90 minutes but I think we showed some good character, especially in the first half coming from behind," City coach Patrick Kisnorbo said.

Kisnorbo expected players to take time to build fitness after the club's COVID-19 outbreak.

"We don't know how this virus attacks the respiratory system. Sometimes it's the unknown and obviously we played 120 minutes the other day," he said.

"It's something that we just need to manage it day by day. Some days the players are feeling great and obviously at the end the players were really fatigued.

"So we have to manage that situation well."

Defender Curtis Good is yet to return after contracting the virus and Kisnorbo said he was improving "little by little" but not ready to play.

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