Western United will play one of the biggest games in its history so far with a home semi-final first leg against Melbourne Victory on Tuesday night.
Western United vs Melbourne Victory
Tuesday, 17 May
Kick-off: 7:05pm AEST
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on 10Bold and Paramount+
Western United: WLDLW
Melbourne Victory: WWDWW
Western United scored a huge win in its Elimination Final on Saturday, with Aleksandar Prijovic’s early strike securing the ideal boost of confidence and momentum heading into the rest of the post-season.
The Green and Black ended the regular season without a win in the last three matches but has overall maintained a strong run of form ever since the turn of the year.
John Aloisi’s side will meet its match in Melbourne Victory, though, as they come into the match as the most in-form side in the competition.
Tony Popovic’s men went unbeaten in the final 15 matches of the season to rise to second on the table, but United will fancy its chances of matching its rivals on the pitch.
Western United and Melbourne Victory have had some classic battles in the past, including three tight affairs already this season.
The last meeting ended in a 1-1 draw as Victory netted a late equaliser but United fell to defeat in each of the three clashes before that.
The Green and Black had previously held the wood over its rivals with four wins and a draw in the first five fixtures between the pair.
Aloisi will be monitoring the fitness of a few first-team players coming into the clash and will hopeful of some key returns to the side.
Rene Krhin will need to be assessed after he was substituted against Wellington, while the likes of Dylan Pierias and Adisu Bayew will be looking to edge closer towards a return.
United vice-captain Josh Risdon made his return with 20 minutes off the bench and will be hoping to make his way into the starting line-up in this one.
What John Aloisi is saying
On the occasion of playing a semi-final tie against Melbourne Victory
“It’s huge for the Club. Another home final against Victory – that’s massive. The players deserve it, and the Club deserves it. Through the whole year, we’ve been in the top two or three, so we deserve to be there along with Victory and along with City.
“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.”
On whether he thinks the Club needs silverware to silence its critics
“We’ve done that already (silence doubters) this season, the way we’ve tried to go about it as a football club. We know where we’re at, we know that we’re on a journey. It’s there, it’s in place. The training facility will be done very soon, then all of a sudden the stadium, and we’ll be West, we’ll be out west.
“From my side, what I had to try and do with the team is try and show what we are made of. We’re a team that is going to work hard for each other, will give anything for each other and that really represents the West. The football will be there, because we want to play good football, but the first thing we want to do and we are doing is making sure that we work hard for each other.”