ALM Match Preview: Western United vs Perth Glory

Western United A-League Men

Western United will bid farewell to Mars Stadium in Ballarat when it takes on Perth Glory in Round 19 of the 2023/24 Isuzu UTE A-League Men season.

Match Details

Isuzu UTE A-League Men Round 19

Western United vs Perth Glory

Saturday, 2 March

Kick-off: 5:00pm AEDT

Mars Stadium, Ballarat

Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+


Western United Team News

John Aloisi is set to welcome two key players back into his side, with Ben Garuccio and Daniel Penha named in the extended squad.

Garuccio has missed four games with a hamstring strain while Penha sat out last week’s draw with Brisbane Roar due to an ankle issue.

Matt Sutton is set to start for the second straight week with Tom Heward-Belle still sidelined by a finger injury. Sutton will be looking to build on a solid performance in his Western United debut last week.

Aloisi will have a tough decision to make up front – Nikita Rukavytsya scored his first Western United goal last week and will hope to start again, while Noah Botic found the net off the bench in that game and will be eager for a return to the XI.

Matthew Grimaldi will be hoping for a third straight start, while fellow youngsters Kane Vidmar, Luke Vickery, Khoder Kaddour and Charbel Shamoon will all be hoping to continue their development.

Western United squad: 6. Tomoki IMAI, 8. Lachie WALES, 9. Michael RUHS, 10. Steven LUSTICA, 11. Daniel PENHA, 13. Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, 17. Ben GARUCCIO, 19. Josh RISDON, 21. Sebastian PASQUALI, 22. Kane VIDMAR, 29. Charbel SHAMOON, 32. Angus THURGATE, 33. Matt SUTTON (gk), 37. Luke VICKERY, 38. Noah BOTIC, 39. Matthew GRIMALDI, 42. Rhys BOZINOVSKI, 43. Khoder KADDOUR, 70. Michael VONJA (gk), 77. Riku DANZAKI

Full Western United squad

Last time out

Western United played out another thriller against Brisbane Roar but were twice pegged back in a 2-2 draw at Suncorp Stadium last Friday.

Rukavytsya opened the scoring and Botic regained the lead heading into the final stages, but Brisbane scored a stoppage time equaliser to ensure both sides left with a point.

Previous Meetings

Perth Glory is the team that Western United has had the most joy against in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men with seven wins, one draw and two defeats in 10 previous meetings.

Two of those victories came in the most recent matches between the sides, one of which was at Mars Stadium almost a year ago to the day.

United’s 6-0 win over Perth in Tasmania in April 2022 remains a club record winning margin, level with the Liberty A-League Women side’s triumph of the same scoreline over Newcastle Jets.

Key Matchup: Noah Botic vs Darryl Lachman

With three goals in his last five matches, Botic is hitting a purple patch of form and will hope to repeat his heroics against the same opponent and at the same ground from last season.

The young star scored a splendid goal against Perth in Ballarat in 2023 on the way to helping Western United secure victory, and a similar performance would go down a treat for both Botic and the team.

United has scored at least one goal in every match against Perth except for one, so Botic will be hoping to continue that good run and be the one to break past Oli Sail on Saturday.

Darryl Lachman will be standing in his way, remaining one of the most consistent defenders in the Isuzu UTE A-League.

Lachman’s athleticism makes him extremely difficult to navigate for opposition attackers, but Botic will be eager to get the better of him and keep adding to his personal goal tally.

Western United Player to Watch: Ben Garuccio

Garuccio was in form resembling his 2022 Western United Player of the Season-winning run before he succumbed to injury last month.

The left-back brings high energy and supreme quality with every action down the left-hand side and had even found himself popping up amongst the goals.

Scoring twice in a three-game stretch from January to early February, Garuccio has been a key part of United’s fluidity in attack.

His commitment defensively is as sturdy as ever and his return will provide a significant lift for the entire team on Saturday.