Match Report: Sydney United 58 1-1 (4-3 on penalties) Western United

Noah Botic Western United

Western United was knocked out of the Australia Cup after a penalty shootout defeat to Sydney United 58 on Sunday afternoon.

Connor Pain opened the scoring late in the first half after United had hit the woodwork three times, but the home side hit back early in the second period and equalised through Tariq Maia.

Western United continued to create chances for the remainder of the 120 minutes but couldn’t find the winner, sending the match to a shootout.

After one miss each heading into the final penalties, Steven Lustica saw his effort saved allowing Sydney United to score and advance to the quarter-finals.

Team News

John Aloisi made two changes to the starting XI that defeated Melbourne Victory in the last round of the Cup, with Ben Collins coming in for just his second senior start.

The No.33 replaced Leo Lacroix, who was managed with hamstring soreness, while Dylan Pierias moved into the starting line up at the expense of Nicolas Milanovic.

First Half

Western United almost got off to the most perfect of starts when Josh Risdon was played down the right wing inside the first minute, but the captain’s shot thundered against the crossbar and fell down on the goal line before Sydney United were able to clear.

Risdon was involved again soon after as he again found himself in space on the flank, but Pain just couldn’t get to his cut-back before the home side whisked away a clearance.

Pierias then had a shot on target as United began the game at a high intensity before falling back into some more calculated possession.

The woodwork was rattling again on the half hour mark when Dylan Wenzel-Halls thumped a long-range strike into the right-hand post, and yet again minutes later when Risdon had a free header from a corner.

In the end it was quite a simple chance that brought about the opening goal, and once again it make down Western United’s right.

After a swift build-up from a goal kick, Pierias swung a perfect cross in towards the back post where Pain was arriving, punching the ball into the bottom left corner on the volley.

Pierias very nearly had two assists in a minute when he got on the ball again and played Wales in the box, but the No.8’s shot was saved well by Sydney United’s goalkeeper on the stroke of half-time.  

Second Half

The home side came out of the break the livelier of the two sides, with substitute Glen Trifiro and Yianni Perkatis both coming close with strikes from the edge of the area.

The momentum continuing to favour Sydney United and they were level before the hour mark when Tariq Maia’s shot wrong-footed Jamie Young and bounced into the net.

John Aloisi’s men eventually found their feet but continued to struggle to consistently get around Sydney United’s box as the hosts maintained their high energy approach throughout the second period.

Risdon had another chance and drew a good save from the goalkeeper with a left-footed effort before Pierias had the ball in the net but was ruled offside.

There was a special moment for 21-year-old Jalil Regague who came on for his senior debut, replacing Collins at centre-half for the final stages of regulation time before the match headed for an extra half hour.


Western United set about recapturing its rhythm from the first half, looking to get on the front foot quickly as extra-time began.

There might’ve been a memorable moment for Nicolas Milanovic when he got on the end of a diagonal ball from Garuccio, but the Sydney United junior’s final touch was heavy and the shooting chance was gone.

United then had a flurry of chances towards the end of the first half of extra-time – Lustica had a shot blocked, Wales couldn’t quite find Noah Botic with a cross and Adisu Bayew saw a header saved from point-blank range – as the game went into the final 15-minute period with the scores still level.

The Green and Black stayed on the front foot in the second period but it was the hosts that came closest around five minutes from time with a strong shot that hit the left-hand post.

Neither side could find a winner before 120 minutes was up, as Western United headed into a penalty shootout for the first time in its history.

Penalty shootout

Botic stepped up first and converted with a delightful Panenka, but Garuccio struck the woodwork with United’s second kick to give the hosts an early advantage.

Young made up for it with a strong save on Sydney’s third take before one successful strike each brought the game to the final kicks with the shootout locked at 3-3.

Lustica stepped up and saw his effort saved before Sydney United found the net, knocking the Green and Black out of the Australia Cup.