First-leg clean sheet leaves Covic proud

27 October 2014 11:13:16 UK

Ante Covic was proud of his performance in Western Sydney Wanderers' win over Al-Hilal, but says the big test is still to come.

Wanderers will take a 1-0 lead into the second leg of their Asian Champions League final in Riyadh next weekend.

That is in part thanks to substitute Tomi Juric's second-half striker at Parramatta Stadium, but also down to the excellence of keeper Covic.

The 39-year-old was able to deal with all the Saudi Arabian side could throw at him on Saturday, making several vital saves particularly late on.

Wanderers have already proved they can cope with pressure situations, having knocked out defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande in the quarter-finals and last year's beaten finalists FC Seoul in the semi-finals.

They will have to be at their best to go on and lift the trophy, but will travel with confidence after impressing in the first game.

Covic keeping a clean sheet could prove vital, and he was delighted to have played his part. "I was able to step up, especially towards the end there," he said. "It felt good to do that, but that's what we hope for from individuals in the team…I'm proud of myself and I'm proud of what the team did."

Western Sydney's vocal and passionate fans played their part in spurring Tony Popovic's side on to victory, but the players know they will face a very different situation in the return leg where Al-Hilal will be backed by a crowd of more than 60,000.

Wanderers are 5/1 to win the second leg, with Al-Hilal 4/7 and the draw 11/4.

Covic said: "Over there it's going to be much more intimidating. They're going to have 60,000 of their fans giving us hell and we're going to have to step up to the occasion.

"They're going to have a lot more confidence than they did here. They're very sharp, very quick, skilful players. They created space for themselves and they've got a couple of guys that can probably change a game."

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