WANDERERS REIGN AS PALM SPRINGS
WESTERN Sydney’s joy at reaching the FFA Cup quarter-finals last night was tempered by a potentially serious groin injury suffered by experienced forward Mark Bridge.
The Wanderers ended Queensland’s representation in this year’s Cup, with a 2-0 win over Palm Beach Sharks at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast.
The A-League club was clearly superior last night against the NPL Queensland side, which failed to match its efforts of last year when it reached the last eight of the Cup.
The Wanderers, who were upset last year by NPL South Australia club Adelaide City in the round of 32, were rarely troubled by the Sharks, with not even a first-half malfunction of the stadium’s sprinkler system causing them any problems.
Spanish midfielder Dimas Delgado opened the scoring in the 28th minute, profiting from a dozing Sharks defence.
Left totally unmarked at the far post, Delgado scored from close range after getting his head to a Jaushua Sotirio cross.
The Wanderers domi- nated the second half and were rewarded with a second goal in the 86th minute through defender Brendan Hamill, who finished sweetly from inside the penalty area after the Sharks failed to clear a corner.
But it was Bridge’s injury that was a cause for concern for Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic.
Bridge was forced off in the 49th minute after clutching at his groin when chasing a Delgado pass.
“The doctors are checking him now … I’m not sure how bad it is,” Popovic said.
“It’s a little bit disappointing, that, to come out of this game.
‘‘Apart from that it’s fantastic to go through. I never felt we were threatened.”
The Wanderers will meet Perth Glory for a spot in the Cup semi-finals.