Besart Berisha made his first appearance in a Western United jersey as four Hyundai A-League sides had their final dress rehearsals ahead of the 2019/20 Season.
Featured image courtesy of Western United on Facebook
The Hyundai A-League’s all-time top goalscorer with 116 goals came on as a second-half substitute in the Victorian outfit’s 1-1 draw against Western Sydney Wanderers.
The next time United run out will be the inaugural match in the club’s history, while Wanderers also have a historic occasion to look forward to on Round 1; their return to their spiritual home of Parramatta.
Brisbane Roar and Wellington Phoenix were also in action on the last weekend of the pre-season but, first, we wrap up the match as the West side duo went head-to-head at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong, Victoria.
Western United 1-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
It was a dream start for Mark Rudan’s men as veteran frontman Scott McDonald added a composed finish after only two minutes. The ex-Caltex Socceroo is set for a Hyundai A-League debut at the age of 36 next weekend.
United forward Apostolos Stamatelopoulos and captain Alessandro Diamanti both worked out new Wanderers’ keeper Daniel Lopar before the interval, but Markus Babbel’s men responded after the break.
Mo Adam eventually found the equaliser with ten minutes to go, as Patrick Ziegler and Mitch Duke both returned from injury and Alexander Meier and Matt Jurman got their first minutes in Red and Black.
United started with a front three of Stamatelopoulos, McDonald and Connor Pain, with Berisha a late addition from the bench. Wanderers fielded a reshaped backline of Dylan McGowan, Ziegler, Jurman and Tarik Elrich.
Wellington Phoenix 2-0 Team Wellington
Mexican star Ulises Davila scored a scorcher to keep Ufuk Talay’s Wellington Phoenix unbeaten in pre-season.
The 28-year-old started alongside Englishman David Ball in attack and made his presence felt on 16 minutes when he slammed in a strike from distance.
The dangerous Ball fired over before seeing his chip cannon back off the post, before former Inter Milan youth Reno Piscopo came close from a free-kick.
New Zealand under-20 international Callum McCowatt grabbed the second goal from the edge of the area minutes after coming on as a substitute for Ball.
The Nix play host to ex-head coach Mark Rudan and former players Andrew Durante, Filip Kurto and Max Burgess when Western United cross the ditch on Sunday next week.
Peninsula Power 2-2 Brisbane Roar
Robbie Fowler’s side got off to a roaring start but were pegged back by the NPL Queensland outfit.
It took five minutes for Brisbane to open the scoring when Brad Inman found the net — another experienced Aussie awaiting a Hyundai A-League bow on opening weekend.
Two minutes later and Inman had two as the 27-year-old collected Jay O’Shea’s pass and made no mistake with his finish.
A 21st-minute penalty from Dean Briggs reduced the arrears and the same player repeated the feat on 53 minutes to level the scores.
Aaron Amadi-Holloway’s effort flashed across goal as Brisbane pushed for a winner that never came. Roar travel to 2018/19 Premiers Perth Glory next Sunday.