Western United. A-League Men Champions.
The Green and Black defeated Melbourne City 2-0 in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men Grand Final on Saturday night to clinch the Club’s first piece of silverware in just its third season.
Aleksandar Prijovic was the key man as he flicked on a header that ended in a Nuno Reis own goal before scoring a second goal on the half hour mark.
John Aloisi’s men went into the break 2-0 up and put in an outstanding defensive display to see out the second half and wrap up a famous victory.
The win means Western United is the second ever expansion club to win the Championship, and the quickest to do it.
John Aloisi made just one change to the starting XI from the semi-final second leg win over Melbourne Victory, with Steven Lustica coming into the line-up.
Jerry Skotadis was unfortunate to drop to the bench after a series of quality performances in the finals, while there was also a place in the matchday squad for Adisu Bayew for the first time in five games.
Western United got off to the most perfect of starts, opening the scoring inside the opening two minutes of the match.
United got forward and won a corner which Ben Garuccio whipped in and Prijovic rose highest to meet it with his head before Nuno Reis diverted it in for an own goal – the quickest goal in A-League Men Grand Final history.
Once the celebrations died down, the game settled into a relatively cagey affair to begin with, with City holding the lion’s share of possession but United defending well to limit their spaces.
City were able to shift the ball from side to side and sent balls into the box, but Leo Lacroix in particular was impenetrable at the back and Jamie Young was sharp off his line whenever he was needed.
United itself showed some promising signs in possession and grabbed a second goal just past the half hour mark, through Prijovic yet again.
There was a hint of fortune as Connor Pain’s deflected shot ricocheted into Prijovic’s path and while the offside flag halted immediate celebrations, the Serbian’s instinctive strike was awarded bbbafter a VAR review.
Lustica had another half chance for United but couldn’t find the target with his strike as United remained two goals to the good at the interval.
City were always going to come out firing in the second half and they did just that, with Curtis Good rattling the crossbar with a header from a Scott Jamieson free-kick just a couple of minutes into the half.
Patrick Kisnorbo’s men maintained their early pressure with a series of corners but United quickly weathered the pressure and regained its footing in possession.
United had a couple of looks in behind with Dylan Wenzel-Halls looking to breach City’s defence, but it was City that created the next big opening of the game.
Nuno Reis stepped forward after intercepting a pass and found Mathew Leckie with a long ball, and although City’s No.7 rounded Young, Tomoki Imai got back to delay him before Lacroix made a huge block on the Socceroos’ strike.
Fellow Australian international Andrew Nabbout drew a strong save from Young moments later as City brought on Marco Tilio in an attempt to force the issue.
Despite City throwing everything forward, United was never troubled and secured an incredible win. A win for all of the West.