Western United battling COVID-19 outbreak

December 11, 2022 01:34 PM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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Western United's A-League Men title defence has taken a hit after their COVID-19 outbreak was compounded by a 2-1 loss to Perth Glory.

John Aloisi's men are on high alert for more COVID-19 cases after Alessandro Diamanti, Ben Garuccio and Tomoki Imai missed Saturday night's match in Perth with the virus. 

Further compounding their woes, defender Leo Lacroix will miss next Sunday's home clash with Western Sydney after being red-carded in the dying moments against Glory.

Lacroix was given his marching orders for what looked like a swinging arm to the head on Glory substitute Matthew Hatch, and there's a chance the automatic one-match penalty could be increased.

Defender Josh Risdon will also miss the Wanderers clash after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.

Western's loss to Glory saw them slump to the bottom of the table with just four points to show from seven games.

Aloisi is hopeful the club can contain its COVID-19 outbreak.

"Our physio has got COVID as well, so he stayed back in Melbourne," Aloisi said.

"We're hoping there's not more. It's just the way it is at the moment. 

"It's frustrating, but it is what it is. We'll have to deal with the situation."

Steven Lustica will miss at least two more months with the hamstring injury he suffered before the World Cup break.

But Mali international Tongo Doumbia made a successful cameo off the bench against Glory in his first match since injuring his hamstring in round two.

Aloisi is confident his team can turn their fortunes around. 

"Eventually those players will come back. There's still a lot of football to be played," Aloisi said.

"The football we're playing is good. There's things we need to improve on. But the majority of the time we're dominating. 

"Once we get everyone fully fit and back then I'm sure we'll win a lot of games."

Glory coach Ruben Zadkovich was full of pride after watching his team secure their second win of the season.

Ryan Williams opened the scoring with a spectacular lob from the byline, while Jack Clisby curled in a wonder strike from the edge of the box in the 52nd minute.

The mesmerising strikes were complemented by a man-of-the-match performance by little-known Tunisian international Salim Khelifi.

"He's a rough diamond, we knew it early on in the piece when we got him," Zadkovich said of the 28-year-old.

"His best quality if I'm honest should be riding horses, he's only 55-odd kilos. 

"But his technical ability on the ball (is outstanding). He's an amazing human. He's found his spot in the team seamlessly and he's very much loved by everyone."

Glory will be aiming to make it two wins on the trot when they take on Macarthur at Campbelltown Stadium next Sunday.


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