Castelen finds his scoring boots when it matters

Romeo Castelen said his stunning, hat-trick, performance for Western Sydney Wanderers in the A-League semi-final win over Brisbane Roar was the best game he had ever played and also the most exciting match he had ever been involved in.


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And that is coming from a veteran winger who played in top leagues in club football in Europe - for Feyenoord in the Eredivisie and Hamburg in the Bundesliga and represented the Netherlands 10 times.

The Wanderers were reeling at 3-0 down mid-way through the first half against the Roar at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday when they began their comeback with a thumping free-kick by Castelen.

Brendon Santalab cut the deficit to 3-2 before half-time and then after the break Castelen hammered home the next two goals to give the Wanderers a 4-3 lead. Roar fought back to 4-4 to force extra time, in which Dario Vidosic came up with the winner.

Castelen, who has had his problems finishing this season but still scored some important goals, was buzzing after this massive contribution from him. He could have easily had at least four goals, with one of his other shots hitting the post and staying out.

"Amazing, you know, to come back from 3-0 down and get a victory and go to the grand final is a great feeling," he said. "Amazing atmosphere today. I've played in big clubs in Europe and this atmosphere, you can compare it with that and this was an epic game.

"I've never been in a game like this before in my career and it's my first hat-trick as well.

"I've scored two goals a number of times, but this was special, you know, and the coach said we never gave up all through  the whole season and even the day before the game he said 'it doesn't matter how we win' and to come off with a win like this, it's unbelievable."

Asked if his own performance rated as his best ever, Castelen replied: "Out here for sure, and my whole senior career as well. I've never been in a game like this before.

"I mean, you check my records, I've played in big games, but this was a special game because it can bring you to the grand final. It's not like a league game, this is a massive game and also for the fans as well.

"I don't know in the A-league if there was a game like this before - you guys can tell me better.

"This is also a big win for football and it's great for people in Europe because I will get a lot of phone calls from Europe as well. People will like it and say it's amazing over there and people will watch it (the A-League) more, so it's a good outlet for Australia."

Castelen said he was pumped up going into what was his debut in Australian-style, finals football.

"I mean, I prepare like usual, but I was really driven this game," he said. "It's something we've worked on for so long and when you have a chance to play finals you want to be there.

"We had a week off and Brisbane's a very good team, we didn't take this team lightly, and we prepared very well but after 15-20 minutes we're 3-0 down.

"It was not the plan, but the boys showed really great character today, every single one of them. We really put it on otherwise this result wasn't possible.

"This is really the best game I've played in, score-wise that I do and how we came back as a team . I mean, it was the total package - the last game here at 'Wanderland'. It's an historical game and now we put this behind us and we go to the grand final and it's not finished yet.

"I didn't know what to expect (from finals football), but this game today is something special. You want to play finals if you get the opportunity, so today we are a step closer to our dream and now we have to regroup for Adelaide.

"They're a very good side on a good run and we will respect them, but we will be ready."

Adelaide United will host the grand final at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

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4 min read
Published 25 April 2016 at 12:21pm
By Greg Prichard
Source: SBS