Western United FC broke through the chains of history at the weekend, winning the inaugural men’s A-League title, beating Melbourne City FC 2-0 and lifting the trophy for only the first time in their three seasons in the competition. Western United claimed their first-ever A-League Men’s Championship in only their third season, shocking Melbourne City 2-0 in the grand final to cap off the redemption arc for head coach John Aloisi. John Aloisi says the clinching of his first A-League Men’s silverware as a coach is on par with any goal scored by the memorable player, having guided Western United to a first league title in the Grand Final with a 2-0 victory over Melbourne City.
Three teams and 163 games of A-League Men coaching later, John Aloisi has claimed his first league title as a manager, capitulation to an extraordinary rise back up the coaching ranks during his first season at Western United Football Club. As Western United FC faced their first season without A-League Men’s all-time leading goalscorer Besart Berisha (142 goals), Aloisi brought a brand of hard-nosed football that saw them wrench Grand Final glory out of the grasps of the season’s premiers, Melbourne City FC. Their maiden A-League Men’s Championship marked head coach John Aloisi’s first piece of silverware as a coach. It prevented Melbourne City from becoming the first side to complete back-to-back premiership-championship doubles.
For successive seasons, the City offered to add the league title to their premiership trophy. Still, Western United rejected their historical bid and secured grand final victories by an expansion club. United made even more of their history in the process, breaking the A-League men’s record for fastest Grand Final goal, coming in only 100 seconds from the opening whistle, before 22,495 fans at AAMI Park. In the second minute, Western United took an early lead through City defender Nuno Reiss’s own goal, and Alexandar Prijovic doubled their lead in the 30th to win in front of 22,495 fans at AAMI Park.
Once the celebrations had subsided, the match settled down into a relatively nervy affair early on, with Melbourne City holding the lion’s share of possession. Still, the Green and Black were good at defending to restrict their spaces. The loss was deflating for reigning champions Melbourne City at AAMI Park. Crosstown rivals Melbourne City – who are in a tie in the final of the premiership playoffs A-League, were left scratching their heads in a reaction following half-time. Melbourne City maintained early pressure through several corners, but the Green and Black soon weathered the pressure and found their feet in possession. United went forward and won a corner that Ben Garuccio sent out wide, with Aleksandar Prijovic rising high to head home before Nuno Reis headed in the rebound for a Nuno Reis own goal.