A-League Men title: From hospital bed to the podium, it has been a rollercoaster three years for Western United boss John Aloisi

United defeated Melbourne City 2-0 in the A-League Men grand final on Saturday night to clinch their maiden title since expansion in 2019.

Wester United head coach John Aloisi; Credit: Twitter/@wufcofficial
By Sreejith C R | May 29, 2022 | 4 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

More than two years after undergoing heart surgery, Western United head coach John Aloisi has now won the first silverware of his career. United defeated Melbourne City 2-0 in the A-League Men grand final on Saturday night to clinch their maiden title. The former Socceroos-man at his first full season in charge of the team from the Western side of Melbourne, coached the Expansion club to a third place finish in the league stage. united went on to beat Wellington Phoenix in the elimination before getting the better of Melbourne Victory over two legs in the semi-finals and defeating the defending champions in the title-decider. It was a solid performance from Aloisi’s side as they took the lead inside the opening 2 minutes through Nuno Reis own goal before Aleksandar Prijovic’s strike doubled the lead on the half-hour mark.

Win will help us grow as a football club: Aloisi

“I was sitting in my hospital bed nearly three years ago and it was more, ‘I want to coach. I need to coach because I know I’ve got a lot more left in me and a lot more to achieve and I believe that’,” Aloisi told reporters. “I was just waiting for the right opportunity and someone giving me that opportunity to coach. Then, once you’re in a job, it’s not about you, it’s about the team, the club and what we’re trying to achieve as a club. So yes, it’s satisfying on a personal basis, but it’s more satisfying because I see all the hard work that goes into a new club. Sometimes we’re playing in Ballarat in front of, I don’t know, 500 people so to win this will help us grow as a football club.”

Read more:

UAE vs Australia: Socceroos boss Graham Arnold announces 29-member squad for World Cup playoff

Western United took a gamble with Aloisi and it paid off

United took a gamble with the 46-year-old tactician who had not coached since 2018 after a rough end to his time at Melbourne Heart and Brisbane Roar. It paid off, as United became the first team after Melbourne Victory in 2018 to win from outside the top two. The Melbourne-based United only joined the league in the 2019-20 campaign as an expansion club and were in their maiden final. But they made a dominant start  against more experienced opponents and quickly took the lead inside the opening two minutes. Nuno Reis headed the ball into his own net from a United corner. It was an A-League Men record for the fastest goal in a grand final, coming just 100 seconds after the kick-off in front of 22,495 fans at AAMI Park.

Aloisi produced one of Australian sport’s most iconic moments 16 years ago

Aloisi has always been a fighter throughout his life. The former Socceroos striker produced one of Australian sport’s most iconic moments 16 years ago when he converted the crucial penalty against Uruguay in that memorable shootout in the World Cup play-off at Stadium Australia. Now he has added to his legend by leading outsider United to the A-League triumph in his first season in charge. Aloisi’s side never got intimidated by the defending champions, just like how Aloisi didn’t against the World Cup winners in 2005. United played with confidence and looked much sharper than their opponents,  continued to push forward for the second and deservedly got it on the half-hour mark. There was more luck involved in United’s second goal of the night. Conor Pain’s strike from outside the box deflected off a City defender and fell kindly to the path of Aleksandar Prijovic, who poked home from in front of goal. The linesman raised his flag for offside, but VAR found the Serbian was inside and the goal was awarded.

Aloisi is the only Australian to play in the Serie A, La Liga and Premier League

Aloisi had a storied playing career, he is the only Australian to play in Italy’s Serie A, the English Premier League and Spain’s La Liga. His coaching career has had its ups and downs. He was sacked by the then cash-strapped Melbourne Heart on his first coaching assignment before they changed into, City, after a takeover by world’s richest soccer organisation, the UAE-backed City Football Group. Aloisi took charge of the team in July, 2021, before the start of the season. He has transformed a side that lost its way in the second half, losing its final eight games to drop to 10th spot in the 12-team league.  However, Aloisi has prepared a team that has certainly punched above its weight this term.

Related Post