The A-League playoffs are just around the corner. Western United and Melbourne City FC bring an elongated regular season to an intriguing close.
History: Played 2: Melbourne City 2 V Western United 0
Last meeting: January 3, 2020: Melbourne City 3 d Western United 2 at AAMI Park
Final Thoughts: A-League debutants Western United have been on a rampage since the competition’s restart. They round out the regular season program via a clash with second-placed Melbourne City.
A win will see Western United move to third and a date with Perth Glory in week one of the playoffs. A draw or less here ensures they will face Brisbane Roar.
Mark Rudan’s charges have won four of their five games since the A-League’s resumption. After putting away the Glory 2-0 last Wednesday, they made another big statement on Saturday with a 2-1 upset of Sydney FC.
Steven Lustica netted the 90th-minute winner against the defending champs after Besart Berisha – who has bagged eight goals in United’s last seven games – opened the scoring.
Melbourne City FC have only played twice since the restart. They showed few signs of rust in blotting out Sydney FC 2-0 in their first match in more than four months, before drawing 2-all with Adelaide.
Prolific striker Jamie Maclaren scored a goal in both matches.
Melbourne City have won both of their clashes with the upstarts from down the road so far. Maclaren scored two goals in both of City’s victories – 2-1 in Week 3 and 3-2 in Week 13 – while Berisha notched one for Western United in each encounter.
Western United have built considerable momentum that should have the A-League’s contenders worried. Melbourne City are capable of knocking the newcomers down a peg but the value lies with United as underdogs.