After a bright start from the Asian champions through Romeo Castelen, Setif took control of the match in the second half as Abdelmalik Ziaya starred for the Algerian side, though it was goalkeeping heroics in an eight-round penalty shootout that finally won it for Setif.
A shocking sequence 13 minutes later saw Western Sydney hit the crossbar and post from two headers within five seconds, Popovic looking on from the touchline in disbelief his side did not double their lead.
Midway through the first half, Abdelmalik Ziaya’s spectacular overhead kick looked to have Wanderers’ goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis beaten but the acrobatic effort sailed barely over the bar. Ziaya had another good chance for Setif to equalise with a long-range show but this time he missed wide.
Setif set the tone
After Wanderers controlled a majority of the first half, Setif dominated the second 45 minutes. An own goal five minutes after the break brought matters level when Daniel Mullen redirected a cross off his thigh and into his own net.
Three minutes later Sofiane Youness missed a chance to put Setif ahead when his first touch let him down and the No3 could not salvage what was a clear goal scoring opportunity. Setif took the lead on 57 minutes through Ziaya, who finally found his mark, firing into the top corner from 12 yards out.
Wanderers looked defeated after Ziara’s strike but the Australian side hit back with a last-minute free-kick to send the match into penalties. Vitor Saba struck the dead ball in the 89th minute perfectly, leaving Khedairia flat-footed and Western Sydney back on level terms.
Setif would have the last laugh, though, as Khedairia came up with two saves, while Haliti hit the post and Seyi Adeleke missed high and wide, allowing Toufik Zerara to step up and bury his penalty in the top corner to seal the 5-4 shootout win in the eighth round for Setif.
Bouzanis did even better in goal for Western Sydney, making three saves of his own, but the goalkeeper - making only his second appearance with the club - missed his chance to win the shootout when Khedairia saved his counterpart's penalty.