Western Sydney Wanderers dump disappointing Vitor Saba

January 27, 2015 – 10:04AM

Melanie Kembrey

Journalist

Import Vitor Saba failed to shine during his seven months with the Western Sydney Wanderers.

Import Vitor Saba failed to shine during his seven months with the Western Sydney Wanderers. Photo: Wolter Peeters

The Western Sydney Wanderers have terminated the contract of Brazilian import Vitor Saba just seven months after he signed it in a decision described as “mutual”.

In a statement posted on their website on Tuesday morning, the club said it had parted ways with the attacking midfielder so he could “pursue alternative playing opportunities”.

The 24-year-old donned the red and black hoops in June last year and made 15 appearances with the team in the  A-League, AFC Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup.

Fairfax Media reported earlier this month that Saba looked to be on the brink of an exit, with the playmaker’s off-field work rate and fitness not up to the standard required by coach Tony Popovic.

Club sources suggested there was little faith in his ability to cope with the intensity of the A-League. His match-day performance had also fallen below expectations.

The Wanderers were trying to offload Saba to several Asian clubs in the January transfer window, but had struggled to find a buyer.

Saba had been on the club’s wish list for more than two years and had eventually signed a two-year-deal in June 2014.

The termination of his contract is effective immediately.

Chief executive John Tsatsimas said the side wished him “every success in the next stage of his football journey”.

 

Source : The Canberra Times

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic backs Vitor Saba but warns of long road ahead

January 5, 2015 – 5:59PM

Keeping the peace: Ante Covic backs the club’s fans.

Keeping the peace: Ante Covic backs the club’s fans. Photo: Getty Images

Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic insists Vitor Saba has a future at the A-League club but warned the Brazilian playmaker not to expect to walk straight back into his side.

Saba joined the Wanderers in the off-season from Italian club Brescia but has failed to nail down a regular spot. His last starting appearance in the A-League was in November against Newcastle.

People remember the good parts but forget the initial settling in period. 

However, Popovic said he had no intention of shipping Saba  out of the club despite admitting it’s taken him  longer than  expected to get to grips with the physical approach of the A-League ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Melbourne Victory at Pirtek Stadium.

“He’s fit and available and will be in the squad,” Popovic said. “He’s got a contract and a future here, he is a talented player. We remember all the good moments from foreign players who have played for our club like Jerome Polenz, Youssouf Hersi, Iacopo La Rocca and Shinji Ono.

“But we forget that La Rocca sat in the stands for six weeks when he first arrived because he wasn’t fit enough. Jerome and Youssouf took about eight weeks to get going and we forget Shinji needed to lose seven kilos before he got going.

“People remember the good parts but forget the initial settling in period and that happens with all foreigners, and I am sure it won’t change.”

Popovic admits his side’s woeful start to the season just two months after winning the Asian Champions League has been the toughest period of his coaching career.

But he maintains his side are still good enough to qualify for the finals and are desperate to avenge the 4-1 hammering by the Victory in round one.

“They were far superior to us on the day,” he said. “We fancy winning in every game we play and expect to win but thus far we haven’t been able to achieve that.

“But that won’t change tomorrow night and we will go out there thinking we can get off the mark. As a coach I am learning all the time and in 20 years time if I am hopefully still doing this as a job, I will still be learning.”

Meanwhile, Wanderers goalkeeper Ante Covic claims the bond between the A-League club’s players and supporters hasn’t been damaged despite Shannon Cole’s altercation with a section of the crowd last week.

The defender was involved in an angry exchange with fans after last week’s 0-0 draw with Central Coast Mariners at Pirtek Stadium, a result that stretched the Wanderers’ winless streak to 11 games and leaves them at the foot of the table and the only side in the A-League without a victory.

But Covic believes the passion shown by Cole shows how much players care about the team’s dire situation. Covic said he is happy for fans to voice their opinions.

“I don’t think it was nasty at all,” Covic said. “I went and spoke to them, Shannon went over as well. Everyone wants to say there was a battle between us. But it was just the players being disappointed and the fans being disappointed.

“That is healthy because inside [the ground] and out on the playing field we are not happy with the situation. If people are happy with where we are sitting then there is something wrong.”

 AAP

Source : The Canberra Times

Western Sydney Wanderers gallantly go down at Club World Cup

Head coach Tony Popovic of WS Wanderers WC looks on

A trio of penalty saves by Dean Bouzanis and two wonder goals were not enough for the Champions of Asia to defeat ES Setif as they fell 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out.
The Western Sydney Wanderers led both in the match and three times in the shoot-out but were unable to complete the victory.

Romeo Castlen gave the Red & Black the perfect start when he opened his Wanderers goal scoring account with an effort that will go down as one of the best of the season.

Collecting the ball from a Labinot Haliti lay-off, the winger hit it first time from well outside the box, drilling it into the top corner of the net in the process.

It was a stunning strike and an opening that the Wanderers desperately needed after Sunday morning’s farcical scenes in Rabat.

A second goal should have come just ten minutes later as Haliti thundered a header off the crossbar from a free-kick with Mullen smashing the rebound against the left hand upright.

If that wasn’t enough, danger man Castelen showed fancy football and vision to set-up Haliti but their combination for the goal could not be reciprocated with Labi hitting it high and wide after finding himself behind the defensive line.

After such a dominant first half none would have predicted the change of fortunes in the second stanza as Setif equalised just five minutes in after an innocuous cross was bundled into the Wanderers net by Daniel Mullen.

Replays show that he looked to be unsighted.

And seven minutes later the comeback was complete with Setif scoring to take a 2-1 lead.

The calm and dominant play of the first half seemed forgotten by the Wanderers with the African Champions controlling play more and more. Even Tomi Juric’s free header straight to the keeper seemed against play as Setif looked to be cruising to victory and fifth place.

Vitor Saba though had other ideas.

Freshly off the bench the attacking midfielder won a free-kick in the 89th minute before promptly dispatching it into the net to force the match to penalties.

The Brazilian capped off a memorable few minutes on the pitch by scoring the opening penalty of the shoot-out before Bouzanis made the first of his three saves.

Despite further penalty conversions by Jason Trifiro, Tomi Juric and Alusine Fofanah, each time Bouzanis made a save the Wanderers failed to convert through Haliti (post), Bouzanis himself (save) and Mullen (save onto crossbar).

When Seyi Adeleke’s miss gave Setif an opportunity to win with their eighth spot-kick they made no mistake and took the win.

The Wanderers now return to Australia having finished in sixth place at the FIFA Club World Cup and will return to Hyundai A-League action on Sunday 28 December when they travel to New Zealand to take on Wellington Phoenix.

Source : Football Federation Australia website

ES SÉTIF 2(5) X (4)2 WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS FC

Abdelmalik Ziaya of ES Setif celebrates

Foi no sufoco, após um frustrante empate sofrido no último lance de jogo e, sobretudo, depois de uma longa decisão por pênaltis, mas o ES Sétif encerrou sua participação na Copa do Mundo de Clubes da FIFA dando uma última alegria aos torcedores africanos no torneio disputado no Marrocos. No tempo normal, o duelo com o Western Sydney Wanderer terminou em 2 a 2, com golaço de falta do brasileiro Vitor Saba para levar a decisão para os pênaltis. Nela, os africanos ficaram duas vezes perto da derrota, mas conseguiram o triunfo graças às boas intervenções do goleiro Sofiane Khediairia.

Com a bola rolando, se faltou talento, ao menos sobrou raça para os africanos. Depois de ser derrotado pelo Auckland City praticamente sem criar chances de gol, o ES Sétif mostrou força para virar com duas jogadas pelas laterais. A primeira aproveitando a bobeada de Daniel Mullen, que de forma estabanada, marcou contra, e a outra com Ziaya, que recebeu da esquerda, dominou e chutou esquisito, mas sem chance para Bouzanis.

O Western Sydney, que entrou com time bem modificado após o duro tropeço diante do Cruz Azul nas quartas de final, havia saído na frente, em belo chute de Romeo Castelen. No segundo tempo, o brasileiro Vitor Saba entrou em campo e definiu o empate em lance de grande categoria, no melhor estilo Ronaldinho, que marcara neste mesmo estádio no ano passado um golaço contra o Raja Casablanca.

O lance, no entanto, não foi suficiente. Nos pênaltis, o ES Sétif se recuperou, virou duas vezes e garantiu uma saída mais honrosa da competição. Para o Wanderers, o conto de fadas do título asiático chegou ao fim da maneira mais dura.

 

FIFA.COM

Camisa 10 do Western Sydney Wanderers, Vitor Saba dorme com a taça da Champions

A conquista da Liga dos Campeões da Ásia não sai da cabeça dos jogadores do Western Sydney Wanderers, da Austrália (mesmo na Oceania, a federação do país disputa os torneios asiáticos). Um exemplo é a foto publicada pelo brasileiro Vitor Saba, ex-Flamengo, nas redes sociais: o camisa 10 até dormiu com a taça antes da viagem de volta para casa.

O troféu da Champions asiática foi bastante disputado pelos jogadores depois do empate por 0 a 0 com o Al Hilal, no estádio King Fahd, na Arábia Saudita (na ida, vitória australiana por 1 a 0). Os atletas publicaram fotos até com a taça na piscina.

A conquista inédita classificou o Western Sydney Wanderers para o Mundial de Clubes da Fifa, que será disputado em dezembro no Marrocos. Os outros seis times do torneio já estão definidos: Entente Sétif (Argélia/África), San Lorenzo (Argentina/América do Sul), Real Madrid (Espanha/Europa), Cruz Azul (México/Concacaf), Auckland City (Nova Zelândia/Oceania) e Moghreb Athletic (Marrocos/país-sede).

Vitor Saba com a taça da Liga dos Campeões da Ásia (Foto: Reprodução / Instagram)
GLOBO ESPORTE.COM

 

Sasa Ognenovski under fire for alleged swipe at Vitor Saba

October 20, 2014

Dominic Bossi

Sports repórter

Sasa Ognenovski of Sydney FC scuffles with Wanderers players.

Sasa Ognenovski of Sydney FC scuffles with Wanderers players. Photo: Getty Images

Sydney FC defender Sasa Ognenovski must enter a submission to the A-League Match Review Panel explaining his swipe at Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder Vitor Saba before learning whether he will face any suspension.

Ognenovski was cited by the MRP for potentially violent conduct in the ensuing chaos following Saba’s red card and must enter his submission before midday on Tuesday in response to the notice. The veteran defender was seen to have allegedly slapped the back of Saba’s head after the Brazilian was sent-off for a wild lunge on Terry Antonis around the 69th minute of the Sydney derby on Saturday night.

Any suspension Ognenovski may face will prevent him from playing in Sydney FC’s FFA Cup match against Adelaide United on Tuesday at Allianz Stadium.

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold threw his support behind Ognenovski who also faced some criticism for intervening when his teammate helped an opponent stretch out a leg cramp.

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When asked whether he thought Ognenovski’s actions were improper, Arnold said; “It’s a derby, No. I will always support my players and look, there’s a lot of emotion that goes through every player in the derby and every supporter. It just shows you the desperation of what it takes to win a derby. There have been other things that have happened before in other derby games and it’s just another thing in the history of Sydney derbies…I think there’s plenty more things to look at. A little flick on the back of the head is nothing.”

Saba received an additional one-match ban for his dismissal, the minimum sanction for a serious foul play offence, and will miss the Wanderers next game away to Wellington Phoenix on November 7.

 

Source : The Canberra Times

 

Sasa Ognenovski under fire for alleged swipe at Vitor Saba

October 20, 2014 – 6:15PM

Dominic Bossi

Sports reporter

Sasa Ognenovski of Sydney FC scuffles with Wanderers players.

Sasa Ognenovski of Sydney FC scuffles with Wanderers players. Photo: Getty Images

Sydney FC defender Sasa Ognenovski must enter a submission to the A-League Match Review Panel explaining his swipe at Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder Vitor Saba before learning whether he will face any suspension.

Ognenovski was cited by the MRP for potentially violent conduct in the ensuing chaos following Saba’s red card and must enter his submission before midday on Tuesday in response to the notice. The veteran defender was seen to have allegedly slapped the back of Saba’s head after the Brazilian was sent-off for a wild lunge on Terry Antonis around the 69th minute of the Sydney derby on Saturday night.

Any suspension Ognenovski may face will prevent him from playing in Sydney FC’s FFA Cup match against Adelaide United on Tuesday at Allianz Stadium.

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold threw his support behind Ognenovski who also faced some criticism for intervening when his teammate helped an opponent stretch out a leg cramp.

When asked whether he thought Ognenovski’s actions were improper, Arnold said; “It’s a derby, No. I will always support my players and look, there’s a lot of emotion that goes through every player in the derby and every supporter. It just shows you the desperation of what it takes to win a derby. There have been other things that have happened before in other derby games and it’s just another thing in the history of Sydney derbies…I think there’s plenty more things to look at. A little flick on the back of the head is nothing.”

Saba received an additional one-match ban for his dismissal, the minimum sanction for a serious foul play offence, and will miss the Wanderers next game away to Wellington Phoenix on November 7.

 

Source : The Canberra Times

Asian Champions League preview: Western Sydney Wanderers FC v FC Seoul

With a huge audience across the region, this is one of the biggest games in the history of any Hyundai A-League club. Poised at 0-0 after the first leg, something’s got to give in the deciding second leg at Wanderland tomorrow night. Here’s what you need to know.

Fixture details

Squads:  

Wanderers: Ante Covic, Daniel Mullen, Daniel Alessi, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Antony Golec, Brendan Hamill, Shannon Cole, Alusine Fofanah, Mateo Poljak, Yianni Perkatis, Jason Trifiro, Iacopo La Rocca, Kwabena Appiah, Labinot Haliti, Vitor Saba, Mark Bridge, Tomi Juric, Brendon Santalab, Dean Bouzanis, Jaushua Sotirio

FC Seoul: Yong-Dae Kim, Sang-Hoon Yoo, Du-Ri Cha, Jin-Kyu Kim, Hyo-Jin Choi, Osmar Barba, Woong-Hee Lee, Seung-Jo Kang, Myong-Jin Ko, Yo-Han Ko, Sang Hyup Lee, Everton Santos, Hee-Seong Park, Kwang-Min Ko, Hyun-Tae Choi, Sergio Escudero, Mauricio Molina, Joo-Young Kim, Dong-Suk Kim, Jung-Han Choi, Je-Hyuk Sim, Nam-Choon Kim

Hashtag: #ACL2014 #WSWvSEO

Broadcast coverage: Fox Sports 3, Wednesday, October 1 at 7pm (kick off 7.30pm)

Bluffer’s guide

It promises to be another tense and tight evening as the Wanderers aim to become just the second Australian side – since Adelaide United in 2008 – to make the ACL final.

If the first leg is anything to go by, there is very little between the two sides and goal-scoring chances could again be limited.

It means the first goal on Wednesday night will be vital to deciding the winner of the tie. Seoul, one of the biggest and most successful clubs in the K-League, are aiming to make the final for the second straight year.

Route to goal

The Wanderers will be boosted by the return of attackers Tomi Juric and Brendon Santalab, as well as the versatile Shannon Cole.

It will give Tony Popovic a few more options and a great deal more firepower in the front third.

Juric offers a different presence to Labinot Haliti – who started in the first leg – which will allow the home side to be much more direct and put greater pressure on Seoul’s back three.

The first leg was the only time in 11 ACL games the Wanderers have been kept scoreless but with Juric, Santalab and Cole back and a huge home crowd behind them it’s hard to see them not putting one past Seoul ‘keeper Yong-Dae Kim.

Seoul is without Yun Il-Rok who was injured on Asian Games duty, while Spanish defender/midfielder Osmar Barba is racing the clock to be fit. Sergio Escudero – who wasted a couple of great chances in the first leg – will again be the visitor’s best outlet for a goal while Colombian playmaker Mauricio Molina could be the x-factor.

Who’s been in the spotlight this week?

Wanderers skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley has been rewarded for his consistent form over the last couple of years by earning a recall to the Socceroos squad for next month’s friendlies against UAE and Qatar.

But before he can focus on grabbing a green and gold jersey he will have his work cut out trying to keep the likes of Sergio Escudero, Everton Santos and Mauricio Molina quiet.

If the Wanderers are to continue their fairytale run to the final, Topor-Stanley and the rest of his defence will need to be at the top of their game.

Mistake and master-stroke?

It could be a master-stroke for Seoul coach Yong-Soo Choi to use Mauricio Molina from the start. The Colombian was only a second half substitute in the first leg but they immediately looked a better side when he was on the pitch.

It would be a mistake for the Wanderers to go all-out for the goal which would put them through to the final, with Seoul knowing an away goal would put them in the box seat to progress.

Form lines

The Wanderers haven’t played a competitive match since the first leg. With the Hyundai A-League season still over a week away from starting, Tony Popovic’s squad have been able to focus solely on the clash and they should be physically and mentally fresh enough to produce their best.

Seoul had the weekend off in the K-League, allowing them to arrive in Australia early to prepare for this game. The Koreans shouldn’t be short on confidence, currently on an unbeaten run of 13 games in all competitions. They are hitting their straps at just the right time of the season.

Prediction

Result: Wanderers 2-1 FC Seoul

Back in front of a raucous home crowd, the Wanderers will be confident of getting the victory to get them through to the final.

They have been sensational in the knockout stages at Parramatta and with Juric back in the side look a far more dangerous outfit.

It could very much come down to which side gets the first goal. If it’s the Wanderers you would back them do enough to get a victory but if Seoul strikes first the home side might find it hard to break down their defence at least twice.

It will be a cracking atmosphere at Wanderland and that could be what helps get the Wanderers over the line and keep the club’s fairytale run into an ACL final.

 

Source : Football Federation Australia

Vitor Saba in line to start Western Sydney Wanderers’ ACL showdown with FC Seoul

September 16, 2014 – 8:49PM

Dominic Bossi, Seoul

Spite night: The Wanderers' quarter-final first leg was marred by red cards and a pitch invasion by Guangzhou coach Marcello Lippi.

Spite night: The Wanderers’ quarter-final first leg was marred by red cards and a pitch invasion by Guangzhou coach Marcello Lippi. Photo: Getty Images

Brazilian attacking midfielder Vitor Saba is set to start his first game for Western Sydney Wanderers in the first leg of their Asian Champions League semi-final clash with South Korean heavyweights, FC Seoul on Wednesday.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic is yet to reveal his starting lineup, even to his players, but it’s understood he will go with an offensive game plan in the first leg by starting the more attacking Saba instead of central midfielder, Jason Trifiro.

Popovic is not prepared to deploy defensive tactics away from home despite the fact the Wanderers depth will be tested with several players missing through injury and suspension.

Strikers Tomi Juric and Brendon Santalab are both suspended alongside Shannon Cole while central defender Matthew Spiranovic is yet to return to full training due to injury.

The media was given a glimpse of the Wanderers final training session before the doors were closed at Seoul’s World Cup stadium as Popovic keeps his cards close to his chest. He plans to return to Parramatta with the lead in the tie.

“We won’t go into detail about our strategy because I’m sure the heir head coach won’t,” Popovic said.

“We haven’t played a game yet that we don’t go out to win and I’m sure the players will vouch for that. Every match we play, we try to win and tomorrow will be no different.

“Of course the first leg is away, it’s a good advantage to be playing the second leg at home but if we come tomorrow with a negative mindset, then we will be in trouble.”

The Wanderers are still someway off their peak match fitness but will be more finely tuned for the match against Seoul after a 10-day training camp in the UAE where they played two games against Al Jazira and East Riffa.

There was a buoyant mood among the players during their session and Popovic says they’re mentally strong as a result of their form in the competition.

“Mentally, we will be very strong from getting through the quarter-final and I think we can put the improvement on the pitch, we have to be confident.” Popovic said.

They will be in for a much calmer match on Wednesday night after FC Seoul coach Choi Yong-soo condemned dirty tactics and says his side is aiming to progress to the final through “sweat” rather than fouls.

After surviving a barrage of abuse from fans and on-field turmoil in their quarter-final against Guangzhou Evergrande, the Wanderers are in for a contrasting fixture in their last-four clash against last year’s runners-up on Wednesday night.

Choi prides himself on the clean-cut reputation of his FC Seoul team, which is yet to receive a red card throughout this campaign, and ruled out resorting to the dark arts to win a first title.

“For FC Seoul, we have played very clean soccer, we have a very good record of fair play so I think … we will play a very fair play. I think soccer is about sweat, so I don’t think we have to worry about that,” Choi said.

Source : The Sydney Morning Herald

Fans’ hostility fails to upset new Wanderer Vitor Saba

September 16, 2014 – 8:54PM

Dominic Bossi, Seoul

Hard to handle: Vitor Saba  on the attack.

Hard to handle: Vitor Saba on the attack. Photo: Getty Image

If Vitor Saba had to name the one trait that binds himself with the Wanderers, it would be fearlessness. It’s the reason Western Sydney are about to play in an Asian Champions League semi-final just three years after their birth, confident of going further and even clinching silverware. For Saba, it is perhaps why he has never cared about critics.

The Brazilian playmaker has been at the Wanderers for little more than a month but has already identified with what he sees as the core of the club. Much like the ambitions of those responsible for its shaping, Saba has a calm demeanour contrasted with a ruthless desire to win and approaches everything with consistency, stability and patience.

Even before their final training run in Seoul in preparation of their biggest match of their Asian Champions League campaign, he sits with a surprising sense of calm.

“I think I match this environment because we really are a fearless squad and I’m a fearless guy,” Saba said. “We’ve developed a mental strength here that is big, I’ve never been like this.”

Whether it’s his long beard, tattoos or his attitude, Saba has already become a hit with the fans despite still awaiting his first start. He has not scored or created an assist in the infancy of his career in Australia but believes his impact in the ensuing chaos of the quarter-final first leg victory over Guangzhou may have furthered his notoriety.

 

He caused havoc to the defence of the Asian champions in a cameo from the bench and played a key role in Evergrande’s second dismissal, so much so that he was the target of an enraged Marcello Lippi. The Italian coach reacted heatedly and allegedly tried to fight Saba in the tunnel. He never landed a punch. Critics raised  allegations of diving though it did not penetrate Saba’s thick skin. .

“I don’t know why, I did nothing wrong but I told you, I don’t mind what other people say,” Saba said. “It doesn’t change the way I play. I’m going to play like I do all the time. They can say whatever they want to say but in my conscious, I do my conscious exam and I did nothing wrong. Ok, maybe the fans in Guangzhou were like this because they lost, that’s why. I’m OK with that.”

He received violent threats from Chinese supporters after that and allegations of diving from pundits in Australia but he says growing up in a “hostile” environment in Brazil made it easy to handle any criticism that arrived.

“I always handle pressure well … maybe it was the way I was raised, back in Brazil, growing up it was a hostile environment since we we were kids. This pressure, it just doesn’t affect me,” Saba said. “The fans are different, the coaches are different. Football is our passion so since we are kids there’s fans, parents who are crazy so you learn from when you were a kid the pressure to play and I have my mentality.”

Suspensions to key strikers Tomi Juric and Brendon Santalab forces a reshuffle in the forward line that will probably give Saba his first start for his new club. It will not be in an arena as intimidating as Guangzhou because of a temporarily reduced capacity of Seoul’s World Cup stadium yet the calibre of their opponent – five-time Korean champions – holds another sense of pressure. But just as an enraged Lippi discovered, FC Seoul are unlikely to see a reaction.

“[We are] calm, fearless, concentrated and prepared. It’s always the same. I think it is a point of strength,” Saba said.

Source : The Sydney Morning Herald