Despite a tight loss in the second Battle of the Bridge, wingers Connor Pain and Dylan Pierias were a consistent threat for the men in green.
Melbourne Victory won the game 3-1, with Western’s only goal a stunning half-volley for new international recruit Aleksandar Prijovic, which was his first in a United shirt.
It was a valiant effort from Western United, who only had five on the bench and were missing star midfielder Alessandro Diamanti, who recently contracted COVID-19.
Prijovic came off the bench in the second half and provided a bit of spark up front, but it still wasn’t enough for Western United to get the win. Coach John Aloisi said post game that he is getting stronger by the day.
“Hopefully he keeps on building his fitness and match rhythm because we know what he can do,” Aloisi said.
“We know that he’s that type of player that give him half a chance in the box and he can finish.”
However, it was Pain and Pierias who caused the Victory defence trouble for most of the night.
Pain continued his good form to start the 2021/22 campaign, passing at 81.8 per cent in Victory’s half, creating four chances, and had four shots (with only one on target).
He’s been a shining light in the club’s third season, and a consistent performer too. So far this season he’s scored half of United’s goals (two), and has an assist in their victory against Perth Glory.
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Pain has also created 13 chances this season at an average of 2.2 per game, the most amongst its players this season. He also has the second most shots on target for it with five (Dylan Wenzel-Halls has eight).
His FotMob rating has been one of the highest for it. In the first six games he’s had an average rating of 7.29, the highest amongst its wingers and the equal fourth highest amongst all players at Western United.
And despite a rating of 6.1 on FotMob, Pierias was still superb in his first start of 2021/22. The Olyroos star was often too quick for Jason Davidson, also passing at 68.8 per cent in Victory’s half (but only creating one chance).
It’s been a lean start to the season for him, with the winger coming off the bench in its previous five matches. He has an average FotMob rating of 6.18, the lowest amongst its players.
However, Aloisi added that he was very happy with Pierias’ performance in place of superstar Alessandro Diamanti.
“[He] was creating problems, causing problems out on that right side.”
Assuming no further COVID cancellations, Western United next travel to NSW to take on the Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday, January 1.
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