United hand Wanderers first A-League loss

Anna Harrington
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ALEAGUE UNITED WANDERERS

Western United players celebrate winning the first A-League home game in club history

Western United have continued their fine start to the A-League season, ending Western Sydney Wanderers' undefeated run with a 2-1 comeback victory at GMHBA Stadium.

After Mitchell Duke opened the scoring for the Wanderers, United hit back through Andrew Durante and Kwabena Appiah-Kubi to jump into second on the table on goal difference.

But their first home win was soured by a hamstring injury to marquee Greek international Panagiotis Kone.

United coach Mark Rudan applauded his team's second comeback victory in as many weeks.

"We've done it again, showed true test of character, once again resilience and once again, we stayed true to our principles of play," Rudan said.

"And I thought it was a much more comprehensive performance tonight against a side that was top of the table before the round started as well. So really pleased."

For the first time all season, United fielded a different starting line-up, with Besart Berisha rested and Appiah-Kubi making his first start, while the Wanderers handed a debut to German recruit Nicolai Muller.

Western United hadn't won in their first two games at home and their third attempt in front of 4,588 got off to a less-than auspicious start, with the visitors taking the lead less than six minutes in.

Muller found Daniel Georgievski who cut inside, had one attempted pass blocked but persevered and slid the ball to Duke.

The Wanderers skipper sent a first-time strike past Filip Kurto, into the opposite bottom corner of the net.

But their joy was short-lived.

On 13 minutes, Alessandro Diamanti looped a corner to the back post, with defender Durante rising over Georgievski to head home.

United's first half recovery was soured by Kone's injury.

Kone was replaced by defender Aaron Calver in the 22nd minute, with centre-back Connor Chapman shifted into midfield.

In the 48th minute, United appealed for a goal when Scott McDonald met Diamanti's cross, with his header saved by Daniel Lopar.

There was a lengthy VAR review to determine whether the ball had crossed the line - McDonald had immediately appealed for a goal - but after reviewing the footage, referee Alex King upheld his original decision.

United quickly responded to their disappointment, snatching the lead ten minutes later.

Diamanti turned near the corner of the 18-yard box and powered the ball to the feet of Appiah-Kubi, who took a touch around Patrick Ziegler and caressed a low shot past Lopar for the winner.

"Difficult to sink in. We played a better style of football I believe but at the same time, just that little bit extra we needed, we didn't get through," Wanderers defender Georgievski told Fox Sports post-match.