Alessandro Diamanti produced a magical moment to crown the perfect day in Hobart as Western United defeated Sydney FC 1-0 on Saturday evening.
After the Liberty A-League Women side had defeated Brisbane Roar earlier, John Aloisi’s men followed suit in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men to cap United’s first ever trip to Hobart.
United’s talisman had the final say, scoring a superb long-range chip to clinch an important three points for the team.
There was just the one change to the starting XI from last week’s draw with Newcastle Jets, with Noah Botic coming in for his first start in the Isuzu UTE A-League.
Aleksandar Prijovic dropped out of the side with a shoulder injury but James Troisi returned to the bench after missing the last three games.
In new surroundings, both sides sought to find the early supremacy in the contest, trading spells of possession and forward territory.
United thrived in wide areas with the pace of Lachie Wales and Connor Pain looking to stretch Sydney’s defence, resulting in a couple of early set pieces and balls into the box.
One out-swinging corner from Neil Kilkenny picked out an unmarked Josh Risdon at the back post, but there were too many bodies in the way as the right-back leapt to thump a diving header towards goal.
Robert Mak came closest for Sydney when he won the ball just outside the box and worked his way into a one-on-one situation with Jamie Young, but the United keeper stood tall to make a strong save.
Tongo Doumbia was inches away from scoring his first Western United goal when a loose ball bobbled into his path on the edge of the area, the Malian’s half volley whistling just wide of the post as the sides went into half-time with the deadlock unbroken.
Sydney came out of half-time with immediate intent, fashioning a good opening for Anthony Caceres in the box but Young was again on high alert to clear the danger.
United quickly responded with a big opportunity at the other end as Dylan Pierias found space on the right, but his shot stung the palms of Andrew Redmayne and went over the crossbar.
Pierias was involved again soon after, but this time his left-footed shot crept under Redmayne and into the net, but the assistant referee’s flag halted celebrations as the No.5 was well offside.
Young continued to be a key presence at the back for United and Leo Lacroix and Nikolai Topor-Stanley were resolute in front of him, repelling a number of balls that Sydney swung in the box looking to create chances.
One scramble saw a series of shots saved and blocked by United’s defence, and that moment proved pivotal as the game wore on.
With the match seeking to find a diamond in the rough in either final third, Western United’s very own diamond entered the fray and produced a sparkling moment.
Picking up the ball just in front of halfway after a routine Redmayne goal-kick, Diamanti controlled, swivelled and launched an arrowed drive back over Redmayne’s head and into the net, wheeling off in celebration as the Hobart crowd watched on in awe.
The goal was fit to win any game and did so for Western United, seeing Aloisi’s men leapfrog Sydney and move to within two points of the Finals places.