Football is needed to decide whether A-League Men can be a grand final

The A-Leagues may be praying for Melbourne’s victory to reach the grand final, but after two grand semifinals it will be Western United who will play against Melbourne City in next week’s decisive match.

Let’s start with the house elephant. The Australian Professional League will have to work hard to sell tickets to a grand final featuring the two least popular teams in the competition.

But the A-League men are more than just Melbourne wins and their resurgence under Tony Popovich was as much a story of the season, the APL can’t just rely on the huge fan-base of wins to hold on to cracks. Which has been an undeniably difficult campaign.

Next week’s grand final at AAMI Park would have been a sell-out if the victory had involved the APL defending champions from Melbourne’s West Square as the club struggled with some short-term pain for long-term gains.

Does Western United have a fan base to fill AAMI Park? Not right now.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t have a chance to build one, and qualifying for the first grand final under a coach who many thought was a decent place to start.

John Aloysi is now just one game away from completing one of the most remarkable redemption stories in Australian football.

After three years out of the coaching game following his disastrous departure from Brisbane Roar, the former Scaro deserves praise for the way he has made Western United the toughest team to beat in the league.

He has been doing so without Alessandro Diamanti since February, although former Serbian international Aleksandar Prizovic has found another match winner to call for an attack.

When you consider the likes of Tomoki Imai, Leo Lacroix, Rene Krhin, Diamanti and Prijovic, it’s hard to argue that Western United doesn’t have the best scouting in the competition.

The couple have played some important roles this season, including some smart signatures from elsewhere – Jamie Young, Ben Garuccio, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Neil Kilkenny and Dylan Wengel-Halls – and it’s safe to say that Western United are the best. Recruiters in the league.

Their 4-1 win over Melbourne on Saturday proved that they are also very proud.

Leo Lacroix
Leo Lacroix. (Photo by Graham Denhom / Getty Images)

Jake Bremer’s great free-kick saw Prizovic’s early opener knocked out, expecting plenty of victory and could win the second leg in front of a biased crowd.

Instead, it was Prizovich who recorded a great second and when Wenzel-Halls became the confusing third in the Lachi Wells home before sealing the performance in stoppage time, Western United danced their way into the decision-making team.

Melbourne City also had to overcome a lot of adversity, coming down from a goal and needing extra time to see Adelaide United 2-1 in another impressive second leg showdown.

Although the two semifinals started earlier this season than the other matches – at 5.15pm on Saturday night and 2.05pm on Sunday afternoon – remains a mystery.

Some supporters missed the matches altogether because they assumed the second leg would start later in the day.

And City’s overall win over Adelaide was hampered by the latest incident of police overkill, as less than five uniformed officers dragged a teenage City fan from the edge of the house – allegedly because he was thrown over a fence and onto a playground.

This was another example of the shameless duality we expect from policing in every A-League game. Start a barbaric brawl at the stand during the NRL’s Magic Round and the police are nowhere to be found, but the football game is bumped into the field and many uniformed officers – many of whom are specifically for overtime shifts – will drag you out of the scene and kick you off the scene. Scream.

This is another chronic problem that the APL can no longer close its eyes to next season.

But for now, Western United are on their way to Melbourne City.

This is probably not what the A-League wanted, but in many ways it is a grand final game.

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