Western United will take on Melbourne Victory on Boxing Day in another instalment of a rivalry that has produced so many memorable moments in the past.
Isuzu UTE A-League Men Round 9
Western United vs Melbourne Victory
Monday, 26 December
Kick-off: 6:00pm AEDT
AAMI Park, Melbourne
*Only Western United members or United fans that had purchased a ticket prior to 11am on Friday December 23 will be permitted into the match. Read more.
John Aloisi will welcome Josh Risdon back into the side for this game, with the right-back serving his one-match ban for accumulation of yellow cards last week.
That is the only change to the extended 20-man squad from the 1-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers nine days ago.
Aleksandar Prijovic scored his second goal in three matches and will hope to have a similar impact again, while Tongo Doumbia will hope to build on his first start for the Club.
Western United squad: 1. Jamie YOUNG (gk), 5. Dylan PIERIAS, 6. Tomoki IMAI, 7. Tongo DOUMBIA, 8. Lachlan WALES, 9. Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 11. Connor PAIN, 14. James TROISI, 17. Ben GARUCCIO, 19. Josh RISDON, 23. Alessandro DIAMANTI (c), 26. Nicolas MILANOVIC, 27. Jacob TRATT, 33. Ben COLLINS, 37. Ryan SCOTT (gk), 38. Noah BOTIC, 42. Rhys BOZINOVSKI, 44. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 88. Neil KILKENNY, 99. Aleksandar PRIJOVIC
Last time out
Prijovic’s early strike earned United its second win of the season with a 1-0 triumph over Western Sydney Wanderers.
The Serbian converted from close range before United defended stoutly to keep out the Wanderers’ advances, securing three points and a maiden clean sheet of the campaign.
Western United vs Melbourne Victory has been a marquee fixture in the past, with goals, drama and controversy galore through the previous 11 Isuzu UTE A-League meetings.
United have enjoyed thrilling 3-2 and 4-3 wins over Victory in the past, as well as last season’s famous 4-1 semi-final second leg triumph. The Green and Black narrowly holds the head-to-head advantage, with five wins to Victory’s four to go along with two draws between the sides.
Key Matchup: Tongo Doumbia vs Jake Brimmer
Starting in Green and Black for the first time last week, Doumbia looked immediately assured at the base of midfield and was a key part of the United structure.
The Mali international will have his work cut out against reigning Johnny Warren Medalist Jake Brimmer, who has scored three superb goals in each of the last three meetings between the two sides.
Doumbia will need to use all of his defensive acumen to limit Brimmer’s creative threat, and if he can nullify Victory’s star man he could go a long way to helping United claim the win.
Player to Watch: Jamie Young
At times an immovable object in United’s goal last season, Young was integral to United’s clean sheet and victory against the Wanderers.
Two particularly important stops from Young helped the Green and Black shut out Western Sydney’s attack, and Young will hope to keep that form against Victory’s forward threats.
The United No.1 has a history of strong performances against Victory – particularly in United’s 1-1 draw in March – and will be under the spotlight again as he looks to help his team to success.
Words from John Aloisi
On hoping to see a big crowd despite sanctions on attendance
“First of all I want to see a big crowd, and I know we’ll make sure it’s very safe for everyone. Boxing Day is a big day in Australia for a number of reasons, and we want to make it a big event for our game.”
On the win against Western Sydney and the continued confidence within the team
“It’s a massive win for us. We got a win in Wellington, but it was really important to keep that clean sheet and make sure we get back to what we’re really good at, and that’s making it hard for teams that play against us to actually score any goals or get any chances.
“We believe we can go all the way again. We know it’s a process, it’s a long season, there’s plenty of games to be played. We definitely can go on a run, we’ve got no doubt about that.”