Western United recorded their first win of the A-League season in the most dramatic of circumstances, defeating Perth Glory in a nine-goal thriller at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong.
Víctor Sánchez put United ahead inside 10 minutes with his first goal since arriving at the club.
Connor Pain cut the ball to Steven Lustica who cleverly let it roll between his legs, before Sánchez’s first-time strike found the top right-hand corner.
United’s dominance continued, holding the ball for 62% of the first half, however couldn’t capitalise further on the scoreboard.
The second half saw a remarkable eight goals scored and multiple lead changes.
Carlo Armiento equalised for the visitors in the 58th before Bruno Fornaroli backheeled the ball past Filip Kurto to put the Glory ahead in the 60th.
Just five minutes later, United was back in front thanks to a brace from Dylan Pierias.
The youngster, just seconds after coming on, combined with Lachie Wales, before heading past Liam Reddy to make it 2-2.
His second strike was spectacular, shrugging off a couple of Glory defenders to volley the ball past Reddy.
In the 69th minute, the Glory put another dagger in the hearts of United hearts, equalising through Nicholas D’Agostino.
United failed to defend a Glory set-piece, leaving D’Agostino to head home his third goal of the season.
In the 75th minute, the home side was back in front.
The ball fell to Tomoki Imai inside the area, who slammed it home from an acute angle for his first goal in green and black.
The joy was short-lived again for United, as Carlos Armiento nabbed his brace to level the scores at 4-4 – again from a set-piece situation.
With five minutes remaining in normal time, Steven Lustica became the hero for the home team, as his deflected shot beat Reddy to put United ahead once more.
The Green and Black held on for their first win of the season in one of the most remarkable A-League games of all time.
Mark Rudan said post match that everyone played their part.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time to calm down from that one. You don’t coach many nine goal thrillers.
“I’m glad that we were on the right end of those nine goals and that we scored one more than our opponent today.
” I’m very happy that [the goals] got shared around, Tomoki was a special one, because he’s playing in a position a little bit foreign to him. We’re trying to get him into the box as much as possible and I thought he took that extremely well.
“Lustica comes up with another winner – did it last year against Sydney FC – he’s an unsung hero as far as I’m concerned, he just never stops.
“And the substitutions were inspired. Dylan came on at 2-1 down and scores two goals and Lachie Wales played his part as well. Everyone played their part.
“Victor Sanchez scored the first one, it was good to see him. He is a box-to-box type of player but we need to ease him into that because he hasn’t played a lot of football lately. But to see him get in the box and then score was great.”
Mark Rudan’s side will now turn their attention to next Saturday’s clash with Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.
Tickets for the clash are on sale Monday, 25 January.
Western United 5 (Sánchez 10’, Pierias 60’, 64’, Imai 75’, Lustica 84’)
Perth Glory 4 (Armiento 56’, 78’, Fornaroli 58’, D’Agostino 69’)