Western United will head into its first competitive match of the 2022/23 season, taking on Melbourne Victory in the Round of 32 of the Australia Cup.
Western United vs Melbourne Victory
Wednesday, 3 August
Kick-off: 7:30pm AEST
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on 10Bold and 10Play
United returns to the Australia Cup
Western United will take part in the cup competition for just the second time, having made its debut in the previously named FFA Cup in November.
After a 2-1 play-off win over Newcastle Jets, United entered the competition proper but a young side fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Wellington Phoenix.
The Green and Black will be out to go at least one better than last season and advance to the last 16, with a trophy and potential qualification for continental football in Asia on the line.
After claiming the Isuzu UTE A-League Men Championship in May, John Aloisi and his players will be back in action chasing down more silverware to add to the cabinet.
This clash will be a rematch of the thrilling A-League Men Semi-Final tie from last season, where United scored a tremendous come-from-behind win.
After losing 1-0 in the first leg, Aloisi’s men bounced back in the return fixture to secure a 4-1 win and advance to the Grand Final, where history was made with a 2-0 victory over Melbourne City.
Prior to that, Victory had largely controlled the head-to-head battle with four matches unbeaten after United had won four of the first five meetings.
There have been two draws between the two sides, but that won’t be possible this time around with this set to be the first clash between the two Victorian rivals in the Australia Cup, where a winner must prevail to move on to the next round.
United Head Coach Aloisi will have a strong squad at his disposal, with the majority of the wider playing group reporting for pre-season training in fine condition.
Pre-season training has presented a number of opportunities to some of the Club’s NPL stars to be in and around the first team, and many of them have hopes of being included in the matchday squad.
What the players are saying
Dylan Wenzel-Halls on using the Grand Final win as extra motivation
“We all loved the moment [Grand Final], the feeling, and it was a special occasion for everyone involved.
“For us to get a sniff of that success only makes us more determined and motivated to get more success. It was a special feeling lifting that trophy, so I think we’re all motivated to have more of those memories and make the most of this opportunity tomorrow night.”
Josh Risdon on the prospect of the semi-final rematch
“Given the semi-final, obviously we beat them over two legs last year, they’ll be wanting to get revenge on us and knock us out of the cup, so it’s going to be a big occasion.
“Playing against Victory at AAMI Park, they get a very big crowd, so it’s going to be a tough game. It’s definitely going to have that finals feeling about it, and that semi-final win will give us a lot of confidence coming into this game.”