Vindication for Aloisi as Western United make first grand final after Victory rout

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John Aloisi’s Melbourne Heart days are well and truly in the past, as he has taken just one season to catapult Western United to the final match of the season.

After a decisive second-leg semi-final win over Melbourne Victory on Saturday, the 46-year-old veteran was ecstatic with the result, as United came back from a 1-0 deficit on aggregate to win 4-2, with three second-half goals.

“It’s massive for the club,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of negativity floating around about us not having the facilities or the supporter base of these other clubs, but we’ve shown that we deserve to be playing in this competition.”

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On a personal level, Aloisi has had to deal with some demons stemming from his time at the helm of the now-defunct Melbourne Heart.

He discussed how there was a time where he thought he would have to move overseas in order to coach again.

“I honestly didn’t think I’d get another chance to coach in Australia,” he said.

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“My time at Melbourne Heart showed me I’m cut out for coaching at this level, and I’m very thankful to the club for giving me this opportunity.”

The club now stands just one win away from a remarkable rise to prominence after being introduced to the A-League Men just three seasons ago.

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On the flipside, Melbourne Victory’s resurgence has been cut just short of championship glory. Coach Tony Popovic was pensive after the game, saying that the side was ultimately disappointed with falling just short.

“We had some chances throughout the match, but ultimately we just couldn’t capitalise against a strong opposition,” he said.

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“This is a learning opportunity for all the boys, and I think they’ll take a lot out of this and continue to grow into next season.”

One player in particular who stood out was Jake Brimmer. The 24-year-old scored again against Western United, this time from a free-kick. His two goals from outside the box were the only scored by Victory this finals series, and while Popovic said he could’ve been better in general play, he was proud of the overall effort put in.

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“Tonight wasn’t his best game, but as we saw he’s always dangerous, and we’re happy with the progress he’s made over the course of this season,” he said.

While both Victory and United were looking to make a dramatic arrival onto the biggest stage in Australian football, there could only be one who would make it to the big dance this time around.

But you can be certain that whatever happens, both will be staking their claim at championship glory for years to come, starting next Saturday for the green and black.

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Mitchell Turner
Third Year Undergraduate Arts Student at Monash University (Journalism Major). Generic sports tragic living out my failed dreams of going pro vicariously through other people.

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