Western United will face Melbourne Victory in the second leg of the Isuzu UTE A-League Men Semi-Final with a first-ever Grand Final appearance on the line with a win.
Melbourne Victory vs Western United
Saturday, 21 May
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on 10Bold and Paramount+
Melbourne Victory: WDWWW
Western United: LDLWL
Western United’s defeat in the first leg was a third in the last five matches but John Aloisi’s side has been performing well without securing results.
The win came in United’s Elimination Final defeat of Wellington Phoenix last Saturday which put the Green and Black in its second semi-final in just three years.
Victory continued their very strong run of form with the first leg win making it 16 games in a row without defeat.
Tony Popovic’s side haven’t lost at AAMI Park since early February, but United will come into the match full of confidence after a positive performance in the first leg.
Victory’s win on Tuesday night ensured they maintain a strong record against Western United of late with that being a fourth win in the last five meetings.
That result has completely squared the ledger between the sides and means both have enjoyed eerily identical runs of form against the other.
Western United won each of the first three meetings against Victory before a draw and another win. Following that, Victory then had their own three-match win streak against United, and then a draw and a win.
Aloisi reported no new injury concerns for United heading into the clash and he could welcome back some key players into increased roles.
Dylan Pierias made a return off the bench on Tuesday and will hoping to push for a start, while Steven Lustica could be a chance to return to the match day squad for the first time since he suffered a calf injury against Central Coast Mariners on April 30.
What John Aloisi is saying
On the mood and spirit of the group with so much on the line
“Everyone’s good. Everyone’s excited. A lot of the players watched the game back, and the general feeling they had was that we were good, we’re well and truly in the tie and we know we’re going to get our opportunities.
“We know it’s going to be a big crowd and everything’s at stake. It’s a Grand Final that we’re playing for, so the players are excited about it – and that’s a good feeling, they’re up and about, they’re bubbly, and that’s what you want from your players.”
On the dynamic of playing both legs just five days apart
“It’s different, but it is helpful because the players have still got the game in mind, still got the tactics in mind – what Victory did, what we were trying to do.
“You don’t need to spend as much time on those little aspects that we normally do when you’re playing a team five, six weeks or three months later. On the flipside, it’s the same for Victory, they’ll know what we were trying to do. We understand that and we know if we play at our best that we’ll be able to cause them issues, and hopefully get the result we want.”