Can you name the previous two winners of the Australia Cup? Hint: they’ll be fighting for survival in the upcoming playoffs. The reversal of…
Western United attacker Lachie Wales has salvaged a 1-1 draw against Macarthur FC to earn the reigning champions the first point of their A-League Men defence.
United had appeared set to rue their inefficiency for a third consecutive game, with Bulls defender Matthew Millar’s goal in the 24th minute splitting the teams for the majority of Friday night’s clash.
But in front of a sparse crowd at AAMI Park, Wales equalised in the 69th minute.
Australia Cup champions Macarthur remain unbeaten after three ALM games under Dwight Yorke but their night was doubly soured when they were forced to substitute gun goalkeeper Filip Kurto in the 76th minute.
Macarthur’s World Cup aspirant Daniel Arzani had a tough night out, largely blanketed by his Russia 2018 teammate and United co-captain Josh Risdon, who also assisted Wales’ equaliser.
Bulls midfielder Daniel De Silva was excellent throughout.
Wales was busy early, smashing a shot over the bar in the sixth minute and almost teeing up Connor Pain in the 16th and 17th minutes.
But minutes later, United’s defence slipped up and Macarthur snatched the advantage.
Craig Noone played a short corner with Arzani then whipped the ball to the near post where Millar inexplicably escaped his marker to score with a lovely glancing header.
Arzani earned some rare space away from Risdon in the 55th minute, charging forward to force a good save from Jamie Young.
Four minutes later Risdon had a good chance to equalise but scuffed his shot and it deflected wide.
United continued to press and in the 63rd minute, Kurto made a big reflex save to deny Dylan Wenzel-Halls.
Six minutes later, Risdon lifted the ball into the six-yard box and Wales slid in to toepoke home.
The assistant referee initially ruled Wales had been offside but it was overruled by the VAR.
United co-captain Alessandro Diamanti came on in the dying minutes for his first appearance since suffering a knee injury on February 20.