2021-22 Australian A-League Men, Elimination Finals
  • Aleksandar Prijovic (10')

Western United beat Wellington Phoenix, reach ALM semis

Western United beat Wellington Phoenix 1-0 in their elimination final to reach the A-League Men final four and guarantee the grand final will be played in Victoria.

Aleksandar Prijovic's 10th-minute thunderbolt and a series of Jamie Young saves at AAMI Park proved enough for United to tee up a blockbuster two-legged semifinal against Melbourne Victory.

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John Aloisi's United face Victory at AAMI Park on Tuesday night and Saturday evening but could be without Rene Khrin, who was helped off with a suspected hamstring injury in the 74th minute.

United had lost all three of their clashes with Wellington this season and hadn't beaten them since their first ever game, back in October 2019.

But things started to go right from the sixth minute when Young made a sensational diving save to paw away Reno Piscopo's fierce strike with one hand.

Four minutes later, United were in front.

Ben Garuccio lofted in a cross from the left and while it went over Dylan Wenzel-Halls' head, it dropped to Prijovic.

The striker took a touch, propped then struck a scintillating strike into the top corner at the near post for his 10th goal of the season.

United were wasteful from there despite a flurry of chances while the Phoenix relied on spectacular efforts.

In the 62nd minute, Piscopo charged forward and let rip with a shot that dipped and hit the corner of the crossbar.

Two minutes later, United should have doubled their lead.

Wenzel-Halls had a header blocked, then somehow put his close-range follow-up wide.

Four minutes later, Wellington's Ben Old headed wide from point-blank range.

Then in the 71st, Young again hauled United out of trouble.

James McGarry's header looked certain to equalise but the veteran goalkeeper flung himself sideways then clawed the ball away with one hand.

Six minutes later, Young brilliantly dived down low to parry away Piscopo's clever free kick.

Wellington's Finn Surman toe-poked wide in the 86th while Young denied Old's long-range effort in added time.

Melbourne City will play the winner of Sunday's match between Adelaide United and Central Coast in the other semifinal.