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United’s fighting spirit on show again against Wanderers: Rudan 

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Western United proved once again that they have resilience and character after coming back from a late goal on the road to snatch a 1-1 draw at Western Sydney Wanderers.

The Green and Black conceded a 79th-minute set-piece to Patrick Ziegler at Bankwest Stadium after Andrew Durante was poleaxed by a shot that smashed him in the face and forced him off the ground. 

But a superb cross from Connor Pain was headed home by one of United’s stars on the night, Aaron Calver, to level it with three minutes left of regulation time.

United head coach Mark Rudan told reporters this was a gutsy draw and display by a strong group of players.

“We’ve won more points than anyone else in the league from giving away a goal… that says a lot of the spirit of this team,” Rudan said after the game. 

“Everyone thought we were probably done and dusted when we conceded. But great resilience and great character [was shown].

“With ten minutes to go, we found a way [to get back in the game]”

Durante was later subbed off in the second half with Rudan saying the defensive leader didn’t appear well and appeared dizzy.

“‘Dura’ is durable. He’s a strong character [but] he wasn’t in a good place [when taken off]. But he’s a tough cookie,” said Rudan. 

Meanwhile attacking midfielder Panagiotis Kone suffered a lower hamstring strain which forced him off the park, while midfielder Dario Jertec played on after going down with what appeared to be a leg injury.

Rudan said with Max Burgess and Scott McDonald, there’s more than enough cover in midfield. But he did lament an early miss which could have changed the game.

“It’s a game of moments. And if Kone had scored early on… we went down one but we got back into the game,” he said. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Western United’s next home game is against Wellington Phoenix in Ballarat on December 28 at Mars Stadium. Kick-off is 5:00 pm.

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