ALM Pre-Season Match Report: Western United 3-1 Melbourne City

Western United A-League Men

Western United defeated Melbourne City 3-1 over 135 minutes of football on Wednesday afternoon in the side’s first proper pre-season friendly.

John Aloisi gave opportunities to new signings and Academy prospects to impress as the team continues to prepare for next week’s Australia Cup Round of 32 clash against Edgeworth Eagles.

Riku Danzaki got his name on the scoresheet in his first chance for minutes in the Green and Black shirt while Max Bisetto and Jake Najdovski added goals later on in the contest.

First period

The first of three 45-minute periods saw Aloisi begin with a strong line-up including new signings Angus Thurgate, James Donachie and Danzaki, while Tom Heward-Belle and Matt Sutton split goalkeeping duties across the day.

Danzaki was in the thick of the action early on, drawing a good save from Jamie Young after Thurgate had played him in on the left wing.

The Green and Black continued to push forward and hit the woodwork soon after before eventually opening the scoring 13 minutes into the game.

After working the ball down the right wing, Lachie Wales shaped a cross into the area which Danzaki met with a powerful header into the bottom corner.

After that, both sides settled into the game and City began to have the better of possession, but United’s defensive structure remained solid and Noah Botic and Michael Ruhs were able to press effectively from the front.

Thurgate found plenty of the ball in midfield and linked up well with Wales and Josh Risdon on the right flank, but City found an equaliser just past the half hour after Marin Jakolis capitalised on a defensive mix-up.

Both sides continued to test the other’s defensive resolve but both goals remained closed for the remainder of the opening 45 minutes.

Second period

Just like the first period, Western United came charging out of the gates from the restart and, fresh from the bench, Ramy Najjarine fired narrowly wide of right-hand post with a strong left-footed drive early on.

Neither side really created any major chances through the second 45-minute term and Aloisi shuffled his pack with around 20 minutes to play with a number of Western United Academy stars given their chance to impress.

While Melbourne City remained with a largely senior team on the pitch, United’s youngsters stood up well to the reigning Isuzu UTE A-League Men Premiers and very nearly went ahead in the 85th minute.

After a brilliant bit of anticipation, Matthew Grimaldi won the ball in midfield and burst forward before playing Bisetto in behind. Bisetto’s effort beat Jamie Young and was destined for the back of the net until a goal line clearance ridded the danger for City at the final moment.

Third period

Both sides began the third period with young squads on the pitch and United once again began swiftly, scoring twice within the opening 15 minutes.

After Oliver Lavale pinched the ball in midfield, Najdovski played a superb through ball to Bisetto on the break and Bisetto did the rest with an unerring finish across the goal into the bottom left corner.

Najdovski then had one of his own mere minutes after being denied by the goalkeeper, firing into the roof of the net after United once again won the ball high up the pitch.

Bisetto and Najdovski each came close to scoring again and Jacob Tratt tried his luck from beyond halfway as the Green and Black ended the hit out strongly.