After 45 minutes, it looked like goalkeeper Vedran Janjetović was going to be the saviour of the Western Sydney Wanderers.
But it was a different story in the second half when the Japanese visitors, Urawa Red Diamonds, turned a 0-0 scoreline into a 4-0 rout in the first Asian Champions League group match at Campbelltown Sports Stadium earlier tonight.
It was still 0-0 after 55 minutes, but then the Japanese split open the Wanderers defence to score two quick goals in the 56 and 58th minute to stun the small but vocal crowd of just over 5,500 fans.
Two more goals in the 67th and 86th minute added insult to injury, but the visitors deserved the win and the three vital points from an away fixture.
It could have even worse except for Janjetovic’s first half heroics in stopping several shots with some spectacular goalkeeping.
It’s only one game but the Wanderers will now need to reply in kind if they are to have any chance of progressing to the knockout stage of the 2017 ACL.
Tony Popovic’s team looked a little fatigued, no doubt as a result of the mighty effort in beating Sydney FC 1-0 on the weekend.
A lot of the passes failed to find their mark, which meant a lot of possession was turned over.
And you can’t do that against such quality opposition, especially one that executed a brilliant game plan.
In the first half Urawa kept mistakes to a minimum and relied on counterattack to put the Wanderers under pressure.
But emboldened by the sight of tired legs among the home side, Urawa went on the attack in the second stanza and it paid off with what was in the end a comfortable victory.
What must be of concern to Tony Popovic, other than the heavy defeat at home, was the failure of his players to take a shot when they were within striking distance of the goal.
If you don’t score goals you don’t win in football – it’s as simple as that.