Western United Head Coach John Aloisi hailed a “huge” semi-final appearance for the Club after Saturday night’s Elimination Final win over Wellington Phoenix.
Aleksandar Prijovic struck the crucial goal in the 10th minute before United’s defence saw out the rest of the game, leading to a win that Aloisi said is priceless for the Club.
“We were really happy with the win – first home final and we won as a football club. We know we’re on a journey, we’re trying to create history with the Club and the players again were exceptional,” he said.
On Prijovic, Aloisi detailed a conversation he had with his Serbian talisman after the disappointment of defeat against Adelaide United and said he knew the No.99 would step up when needed.
“He was very disappointed after the Adelaide game because he had some clear chances, and he was down,” he said.
“I spoke to him and you just know that these players with that experience – (he) played Champions League football and scored important goals for not only the club’s he’s played for, but also for his country qualifying for the World Cup. These games – they enjoy it, they step up. He was so calm the way he took it (his goal).”
Aloisi also highlighted a stellar individual performance from Jamie Young, with the Western United goalkeeper once again proving crucial in holding onto the clean sheet.
Young made a number of crucial stops, with the pick of the bunch coming on 71 minutes as he made a miraculous dive to push away a header from James McGarry.
The United boss likened it to Gordon Banks’ legendary save against Pele in the 1970 World Cup, a stop that remains one of the most iconic in football history.
Up next for the Green and Black is a huge two-legged tie against rivals Melbourne Victory, with United’s home leg set to kick it off on Tuesday night at AAMI Park.
“It’s huge for the club. Another home final against Victory – that’s massive,” Aloisi said.
“The players deserve it, and the Club deserves it. It’s massive for the game in Melbourne and we’re excited to be there.
“We know it’s going to be difficult because Victory are a good side, but we also believe in ourselves and believe we can match it with anyone. It’s huge, over two legs, both at AAMI Park, so it’s another two home finals for us really.”
Aloisi said nobody at the Club is getting ahead of themselves with the prospect of a Grand Final appearance less than a week away, but he did send one simple message – “we’re here”.
Tickets are on sale now for Western United members. Join the Green and Black family behind the goal and help to create an historic occasion with the Club. Unite for the West and get ready to Go Harder for the semi-finals.