Wanderers finish 2nd in A-League behind Brisbane
SYDNEY (AP) Western Sydney Wanderers beat Melbourne Heart 3-2 to clinch second place in the A-League and a bye in the first round of the playoffs as well as an Asian Champions League berth next season.
The Wanderers and first-place Brisbane Roar will get next weekend off when the other four teams begin the finals series.
Central Coast beat the Roar 2-0 to finish third, equal on points with the Wanderers but behind on goal difference. The Melbourne Victory’s 4-1 win over Wellington moved them into fourth place.
On Sunday, Sydney FC took the final playoff spot with a 2-1 win over Perth, moving into fifth place. Richard Garcia scored the winner in injury time, although Sydney needed only a draw to advance and knock out Newcastle.
Next weekend, Sydney plays the Victory and Central Coast plays Adelaide in the elimination round.
The Western Sydney win spoiled Hearts captain Harry Kewell’s final match before retiring. The former Socceroo, Liverpool and Leeds forward announced two weeks ago that injuries over the past five years have forced him to quit.
The Sydney-born Kewell hadn’t played for three weeks with a rib injury.
”I was always going to go out there,” Kewell said. ”With all the stuff that I’ve played through the whole career it wasn’t going to stop me for my last game. I’m disappointed we didn’t come off with the win.”
Sydney FC may have played its final regular-season home match with former Juventus star Alessandro Del Piero.
Del Piero, who has played for two seasons in Sydney as the A-League’s marquee attraction, has not signed a contract for next season.
Some Australian media have reported the 2006 World Cup winner with Italy, who turns 40 in November, has not been offered a new one.