16/04/2024

Aleksander Prijovic scored a 78th minute diving header to equalise against Brisbane. (Image: Western United - Twitter)

Western United has come back from a half-time deficit to salvage a 1-1 draw against the Brisbane Roar. Aleksander Prijovic extended his goalscoring form, equalising late in the game as the reigning Champions continue their build into form.

After winning just one of their first seven games, Western United are now undefeated in their last three (two wins, one draw). The turn of form from their star striker has been pivotal in their recent success, and Aleksander Prijovic’s class was on full display on Friday night.

Prijovic had a limited pre-season due to a toe injury which was evident in the block of games prior to the World Cup but has now scored three goals in his last five games, including a diving header in the 78th minute to salvage the game against Brisbane.

Western United coach John Aloisi believes his best is still yet to come.

“I wasn’t sure if he was even going to last the full 90 [minutes] tonight,” Aloisi said.

“Tonight’s game was a bit tricky with the short turnaround and the number of games he’s played in such a short time period. He didn’t [have] much of a pre-season or play many games in the lead-up.

“We’re glad he got through it and he’ll be better for it because we’ve got a long break for him to recover.

“He’s scoring goals, it’s good to see. Even when he’s not playing at his best, we know Aleks is capable of giving us performances like tonight.”

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Leo Lacroix returned from suspension with one of his better games of the campaign so far. One of Western United’s standouts in their championship campaign, Lacroix has had a slow start to the 2022/23 season including two own goals and a two-game suspension.

He played the full 90 minutes against Brisbane without giving away a single foul, he also had a number of key clearances as well as blocked several shots. He turned away a Carlo Amiento free kick in the first half when the game was still nil-all.

Aloisi will hope it’s the turn in form he’s been waiting for from his star import after backing Lacroix to find form earlier this season. After the opening two games, Aloisi told reporters he had complete faith in his centre-back to return to his 2021/22 form.

The late equaliser was also the first time Brisbane had conceded past the 75th minute. Warren Moon’s team prides itself on its defence, comfortably conceding the least number of goals in the league.

The Roar extended their unbeaten run to seven, however, they still find themselves struggling to cement themselves into the top six. Next week’s clash with Melbourne Victory will test their defensive system before hitting two simpler challenges against Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix.

It was the first time this season that Brisbane had opened the scoring and failed to win the game. Coach Warren Moon was visibly disappointed when speaking to reporters post-game, saying he thinks his team should have finished the job.

“We’re really disappointed because I felt the game was there for the taking for us tonight,” Moon said.

“We were in control of the first half, and probably could have been out of sight before their equaliser.

“We could probably say we were unlucky, we knew they were going to come back at us and we just lost a lot of momentum in the 60 to 75-minute mark that led to the goal.”

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