April 18, 2021

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Next Level Game Over

Western United defeat Brisbane Roar, Mark Rudan spray at ref video, Alessandro Diamanti

He may be 37 and he may be playing with a bad back but Alessandro...


He may be 37 and he may be playing with a bad back but Alessandro Diamanti still finds a way.

The Italian dynamo was tremendous off the bench putting in a sublime cross to Dylan Pierias who nodded home the winner to get Western United back on the winners list over Brisbane Roar.

Brisbane was damaging off the break early as Riku Danzaki caused the Western back three some early problems forcing a smart save from Ryan Scott.

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Iker Guarroxtena and Pierias posed a threat to Brisbane’s defence early but both had efforts thwarted by Jamie Young.

Following the break, Pierias again got the better of the Roar backline but was unable to tuck away his one-on-one with Young who denied him yet again.

Diamanti’s epic assist | 00:28

Scott who has been thrust in due to Filip Kurto’s injury continued his stellar evening saving a rocket from Jay O’Shea.

Down the other end, Diamanti was introduced to a rousing reception and his impact was profound but was unable to beat Young.

Young’s stubbornness between the sticks finally wore off as Diamanti’s perfectly timed cross was met by Pierias’ diving header at the back-post to give Western the lead.

Moments after Pierias’ goal, Western United coach Mark Rudan was involved in a heated exchange with the fourth official.

In an exchange picked up between Rudan and the on-field referee, Rudan said he questioned a free kick call with the fourth official, who allegedly told him to “shut up”.

‘Don’t tell me to shut up!’ | 01:19

However Rudan was handed a yellow card for his behaviour.

Rudan told the fourth official: “Don’t tell me to shut up … Excuse me? Sorry? Why is that? You’re trying to turn it around are you?

“So I question you and you tell me to shut up. And I’ll be saying it for the microphone to hear.

“That’s OK son, all good Jack.”

In the dying moments, United had a second when Connor Pain slotted the ball home following Young being thrown into the box in search of a late equaliser – but it was seen to have struck Pierias’ hand in the lead-up meaning it was disallowed.

Dylan Pierias of Western United celebrates his goal. Picture: Graham DenholmSource: Getty Images

Rudan, who has criticised VAR throughout the season, again thought his side got the short-end of the stick as he believes Pierias was protecting his head in the act.

“We have had four-five VARs and not one has gone our way … and that’s the truth,” Rudan said.

“It’s such a tight competition and goal difference can make a big difference that extra goal could be the difference between finishing second, third, fourth, fifth whatever you want to call it … I just don’t understand it.”

DIAMANTI’S PERFECT RETURN

It’s quite clear that a ‘not 100 per cent fit Alessandro Diamanti’ is better than no Diamanti at all.

The Italian who returned off the bench following a back injury sustained prior to their loss against Western Sydney a week ago was exactly what the doctor ordered.

With the score 0-0 and neither side’s keeper barging, his creativity and ball mastery was capped off with a sublime cross for Dylan Pierias who made the most of his service.

United needed a win following two straight defeats and it’s no shock that Diamanti makes this team infinitely better.

Alessandro Diamanti of Western United. Picture: Graham DenholmSource: Getty Images

“You look at the changes we made, No Bes (Berisha), no Dia (Diamanti), people we heavily rely on those two so it was up to the two that came in,” Rudan said.

“We were a different team, we can do the things without them like obviously some certain skill sets and quality as you saw with Dia’s assist,

“You saw the way we pressed we were able to press with intent and intensity and I thought that was really good – that was probably the best part about it,

“You know you’ve got weapons in Bes and Dia who can come on and do a job. I thought it was a great team performance when we needed it most.”

ROAR LACK BITE

Following an impressive start to the season, Brisbane have crashed back down to Earth with a thud.

Since their 5-2 win over Melbourne Victory back in early February, the Roar have been a shell of themselves.

Dylan Pierias of Western United and Corey Brown of the Roar. Picture: Graham DenholmSource: Getty Images

In particular, Brisbane’s attack has lost its cutting edge which made them one of the A-League’s most exciting sides in the early portions of the campaign.

Their defeat last night made it a sixth successive game without a win which now has the Roar on the outside of the six-looking in.

Brisbane Roar coach Warren Moon believes the result was “fair” as his side were unable to capitalise on their good opportunities in front of goal.

“If you don’t take your chances, you deserve nothing,” Moon said.

“We’ve been this way for a couple weeks now creating chances and we couldn’t take them,

“For us, we’re just going to keep working hard, keep trying to find solutions in the final third to score and right now it’s not happening for us.”

DUZEL DAZZLES

Injuries breeds opportunities and Luke Duzel has impressed in his limited chances.

In his second consecutive start, the 19-year-old was dropped into a deeper role in the heart of midfield and looked more than comfortable alongside the well-tenured Victor Sanchez.

Duzel’s football smarts were on show as he showed no signs of nerves, taking on players and distributing the ball cleverly – adding yet another string to Western’s attacking depth chart.



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