'No excuses' as Wanderers thumped again in ACL

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Western Sydney centre-back Jonathan Aspropotamitis didn't shy away from his side's poor defending after yet another heavy continental loss

Western Sydney Wanderers' 2017 AFC Champions League (ACL) campaign effectively ended the way it began, with Urawa Red Diamonds showing up the A-League club in a 6-1 drubbing.

The loss in Japan on Wednesday night ended the Wanderers' slim hopes of reaching the ACL Round of 16 with Tony Popovic's side having lost four of their five games in Group F for a goal difference of minus 13.

Western Sydney have conceded three or more goals in each of their defeats and even a switch to a back three with Scott Neville and Jack Clisby playing as wing-backs made little difference at Saitama Stadium.

Urawa led 3-0 at half-time thanks to goals from Takahiro Sekine, Zlatan Ljubijankic and Tadanari Lee.

The visitors hit back after the interval through Jumpei Kusukami's clever chip but were blitzed in the final 20 minutes as Rafael Silva struck a brace and fellow substitute Shinzo Koroki added a goal in stoppage time.

Yoshiaki Komai Jonathan Aspropotamitis Urawa Red Diamonds v Western Sydney Wanderers AFC Champions League 26042017

Yoshiaki Komai, Urawa Red Diamonds and Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Western Sydney Wanderers

Wanderers centre-back Jonathan Aspropotamitis didn't shy away from his side's dreadful defensive showing, although he insisted Popovic's team had thought they could come back after Jumpei's 66th-minute strike.

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"There's no excuses from our part - as professionals we have to be able to adapt to any formation," he told AAP.

"We tried something new and it didn't quite come off... but there was that real belief and we never lost that.

"We said at half-time that we wanted to turn the game around, and that's what happened.

"When we went 3-1 I really thought we could have gone to 3-2 and 3-3."

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The defeat left Western Sydney bottom of Group F and six points adrift of Urawa and Shanghai SIPG with a game remaining.

The Wanderers' home match against SIPG on May 10 will be their final fixture of the 2016-17 season after being eliminated from the A-League finals last week.

"We're going to really come out and play and look to win against Shanghai," Aspropotamitis said.

"We've got a lot of pride to play for and in two weeks' time we'll play with passion and ambition."

 

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