After scoring a contender for goal of the season, Western Sydney Wanderers marquee Shinji Ono revealed he was not all that happy with his finishing and he hoped to do better in the grand final.
The Japanese superstar is the toast of Parramatta after he helped the Wanderers reach the A-League decider with a goal of supreme skill and beauty on Friday night.
Seventy-two minutes into a pulsating major semi-final against Brisbane Roar, the home side was leading 1-0 and bracing itself for a final assault by the defending champion.
This is when Ono settled the issue with a dipping shot from just outside the penalty box that stunned goalkeeper Michael Theo and nestled in the top corner of the net to send the 19,369 crowd at Parramatta Stadium wild with delight.
Ono has been one of the finest performers in the eighth A-League, which is widely regarded as the best of the lot.
His amazing shot was a collector's item and will go down as one of the highlights of the season.
Ono came out of the Western Sydney dressing room to a rapturous applause from Wanderers fans who wanted to prolong another historic night in the club's short history by getting up close and personal with their heroes.
He had every reason to be pleased with his display after coming back from an injury that kept him out of the game for three weeks.
”My performance was okay but I am disappointed I did not score more,” he said.
”It was a good goal but I should have scored another which was easier so I am not that happy.
”The important thing is that we won for our fans and we are in the grand final.
”Hopefully my finishing will be better next week.”
Ono was being too hard on himself but the two rival coaches said they had no doubt the Japanese magician had made a massive impact on the game.
”When you see goals like that, it is special,” Wanderers coach Tony Popovic said.
”That is why marquees are still special in this league.
”We've seen all the marquees produce this season.
”Ono has been out of the team for a few weeks now and to come into a pressure game with that intensity and produce like that is why he's such a special player.
”We are just delighted to have him at our club.”
Popovic's Brisbane counterpart Mike Mulvey was similarly impressed with the former Samurai Blue star.
”What an outrageously brilliant goal from Ono … that was the nail in our coffin,” he said.
”We were coming back into it and making chances then he scores a goal like that.
”It was a moment of genius and it's not the first time he's done it.
”You cannot legislate for that. We did not back off too far and he just picked his moment.
”It was a terrible thing to witness for my team but it was great for Australian fans to see someone do something like that in that moment of the match.”
Ono, who has re-signed with the club for another season, said he felt no ill-effects of the hamstring injury that forced him out of the Premiers' Plate-clinching victory over Newcastle Jets two weeks ago.
”I feel alright and I think I will be okay for the grand final,” he said.
With the Wanderers qualifying for the grand final, Football Federation Australia announced the decider for the championship against Central Coast Mariners or Melbourne Victory will be played at Allianz Stadium on Sunday 21 April at 4pm.
The Mariners and Victory meet at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday.
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