Western United have kicked off their maiden Hyundai A-League campaign in style, securing a hard-fought 1-0 win over Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
In a historic occasion for the competition’s newest club, a lone strike from Besart Berisha fired United to an impressive maiden victory.
After a cagey opening, Mark Rudan’s side grabbed the lead 10 minutes before half-time with Berisha netting United’s first-ever A-League goal.
An entertaining affair ensued after the break with both teams creating chances at either end.
But despite a late charge from the Phoenix, United held firm as the Green and Black picked up the club's first-ever win.
The win snapped Phoenix’s three-match winning streak at home and saw United become just the fifth team in A-League history to win their opening match in the competition.
STORY OF THE GAME
3’ CHANCE – Kone finds space on the right and delivers a lovely cross into Berisha who couldn’t direct his header on target.
13’ HALF CHANCE – Cacace gets in behind for Phoenix but Durante does well to cover and snuffs out the opportunity.
16’ CHANCE – McDonald picks out Kone inside the box but the attacker miscues his volley and it goes out for a goal kick.
17’ CHANCE – Ball is played in behind for Wellington but the Englishman’s lobbed effort falls just wide of the goal.
22’ CHANCE – Diamanti is left alone in the middle of the park and fires a powerful long-range effort on goal which is well held by Marinovic.
26’ CHANCE – Phoenix’s Rufer is found inside the area but his effort is cleared by Berisha.
29’ CHANCE – Cacace fires a powerful effort from distance but Kurto does well to tip it around the post.
34’ GOAL – Connor Pain drove past his defender before picking out Josh Risdon at the back post, with the defender expertly squaring to Berisha who fired home from close range.
HALF-TIME: Wellington Phoenix 0-1 Western United
55' CHANCE - Pain is played in behind by Diamanti before squaring to Berisha but the striker's shot is well blocked.
57' CHANCE - A lovely attacking move culminates in Risdon firing a powerful header on goal but is well held by Marinovic.
59' CHANCE - Rufer finds space for Wellington but his shot is well over the crossbar.
66' CHANCE - McDonald wriggles free inside the box but his cross is unable to find a teammate and the danger is cleared.
70' CHANCE - McCowatt picks out Rufer with a lovely cross but the Phoenix youngster is unable to keep his head down.
83' CHANCE - Diamanti fires a powerful effort on goal but Marinovic does well to parry wide.
84' HALF CHANCE - Payne delivers a dangerous ball into the box but Kurto punches clear.
87' CHANCE - McDonald finds space on the edge of the area and curls a delightful effort towards the top corner but Marinovic pulls off a stunning save.
FULL-TIME: Wellington Phoenix 0-1 Western United
Wellington Phoenix (0)
Western United (1) (Berisha ‘34)
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Sunday, October 13, 2019
Kick-off: 4pm (AEDT)
Referee: Kurt Ams
Assistant Referee 1: Lance Greenshields
Assistant Referee 2: Daniel Ilievski
Fourth Official: Stephen Lucas
VAR: Nick Waldron
Wellington Phoenix starting line-up: 1. Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 3. Luke DEVERE, 5. Matti STEINMANN, 9. David BALL, 10. Ulises DAVILA, 11. Jaushua SOTIRIO, 13. Liberato CACACE, 14. Alex RUFER, 16. Louis FENTON, 21.Callum MCCOWATT, 27. Steven TAYLOR (c)
Western United starting line-up: 1. Filip KURTO (gk), 4. Andrew DURANTE, 6. Connor CHAPMAN, 8. Panagiotis KONE, 10. Scott McDonald, 11. Connor Pain, 12. Dario Jertec, 18. Besart Berisha 19. Josh Risdon, 22. Ersan Gulum, 23 Alessandro Diamanti (c)
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
United’s first home in the A-League is Saturday, October 19 against reigning Premiers Perth Glory at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong.
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