Western Sydney Wanderers eliminated 2013 AFC Champions League winners Guangzhou Evergrande in the quarterfinals of the 2014 tournament on a 2-2 aggregate score, despite losing the second leg 2-1 in China. Tomislav Juric's 59th minute penalty for Western Sydney to advance on away goals, but just making it to the stadium was something of a victory for the Australian side.
The Western Sydney players were subjected to the customary prank phone calls and pounding on their hotel room doors the night before the match, but they're also accusing some fans of Marcello Lippi's team of trying to orchestrate a traffic accident on the way to the stadium.
"A car swerved in front of our bus and who knows if it was a set-up to do with the football or not," 21-year-old defender Brendan Hamill said. "We slammed on the brakes and someone ran up the back of the bus. We had a spare bus following us, fortunately.
"It worked to their disadvantage if it was a set-up. It gave everyone in the team more belief and hunger to get the job done."
And defender Shannon Cole was even more certain of foul play than Hamill.
"Someone purposely swerved in front of the bus, slammed the brakes on and the bus hit them and then another bus hit us from behind," Cole told Sydney radio program Big Sport Breakfast. "Then we had a back-up bus and five minutes later, another accident.
"They did everything possible. At the ground, hundreds of bottles being hurled at us. But we got there in plenty of time - the coaching staff planned it very well."
Whoever decided to bring the spare bus probably deserves to win Man of the Match. Misinterpreting Jose Mourinho's strategies has never worked out so well.
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