14-minute blitz defines a special day in Western history ‘no one is going to forget’

Catch all the highlights from Western United's 4-2 win over Macarthur FC in Tarneit

Western United came from two goals down to beat Macarthur FC 4-2 in the club’s very first game at their new home in Tarneit on Saturday afternoon.

John Aloisi’s side trailed 2-0 at the break after goals to Valère Germain and Ulises Dávila but a second-half blitz inspired the hosts to a special victory at the Regional Football Facility.

Riku Danzaki scored the club’s very first men’s goal at their new home and a Michael Ruhs brace – bookending substitute Matthew Grimaldi’s go-ahead goal – turned a potentially dour day into a triumphant one in Tarneit.

Western’s very first Isuzu UTE A-League fixture in Tarneit came after the club’s women’s side officially opened the venue in a 3-1 Liberty A-League loss to Newcastle Jets on March 17.

Western’s men’s outfit ensured the home fans had an afternoon to savour against the Bulls, with the stunning four-goal swing in the second half leading Paramount+ commentator Teo Pellizzeri to sum up the occasion with one sentence:

“No one is going to forget the first game in Tarneit!”

Post-game, Western head coach Aloisi expressed the importance of getting off to a strong start at the new venue as reward for the players, fans and club staff involved in Saturday’s milestone moment.

“It was important to create an atmosphere – and we did that,” Aloisi said.

“All the fans that came out… they created a great atmosphere for our players. They helped them get over the line. And we knew this would happen.

“It’s been a dream for everyone at the club to finally get into their home and start off with a win. To come from two goals down, and thoroughly deserved it, it was a great day for us.”

“I know how much a lift it can give the players,” Aloisi added.

“The reason why we scored four is because we scored one, and the crowd lifted. We scored another one, and the crowd lifted again. Then all of a sudden, you can’t stop us because the players start to believe, and we were relentless.

“I’m so happy for the club, it’s a good start for us.”

The healthy crowd at the Regional Football Facility were hoping to see Western break the deadlock but it was Macarthur who carved out an early lead.

Germain was gifted the chance to put the away side in front when Kane Vidmar slid in and caught Raphael Borges Rodrigues in the box well after the young Bulls winger had shot on goal. Referee Shaun Evans pointed to the spot and Germain buried his penalty into the bottom-left corner, becoming the first men’s goalscorer at Western’s new home.

Western’s response to falling behind was positive and if not for Macarthur keeper Filip Kurto, the hosts might’ve drawn level when both Daniel Penha and Angus Thurgate received chances to draw their side level in quick succession.

But surviving the mini onslaught Macarthur got back down the other end to double their advantage. Captain Ulises Dávila made it two for the Bulls, celebrating his two-year contract extension at the club this week with a classy touch and finish.

With half an hour played, Western thought they had their first goal at the Regional Football Facility when Riku Danzaki turned Lachie Wales’ cross on target, through the gloves of Kurto, off the post and over the goal line.

But a VAR check ensued, and Western striker Michael Ruhs was adjudged to have blocked Kurto’s line of vision in an offside position as the ball left Danzaki’s boot.

An injury to Penha cut the Western star’s afternoon short; the Brazilian was taken off before half-time, with Matthew Grimaldi coming off the bench to replace him.

Grimaldi played his part in creating an early chance for Western in the second stanza, playing Josh Risdon down the right side of the penalty box who swung a low cross to the front post where Tomislav Uskok’s intervention stopped Michael Ruhs from turning the ball on target.

The Ruhs chance soon after the restart set the tone for a devastating 14 minutes for the hosts, who turned a two-goal deficit into a two-goal lead with an avalanche of goals, beginning with Danzaki’s historic strike in the 52nd minute – Western’s first at their new home.

Ruhs drew Western level with his first of the afternoon, scooping a first-time effort from the edge of the area over the outrushing Kurto and into the back of the net.

The celebrations were cut short as the offside flag was raised but a VAR check reversed the on-field decision as Ruhs fired up the home crowd in celebration of the leveller.

Macarthur were still reeling from Western’s one-two punch when substitute Grimaldi capped off a seven-minute blitz with the home side’s third of the half. Grimaldi rolled Bulls midfielder Clayton Lewis in the box and curled his shot on the turn past Kurto into the top-right corner.

After 51 minutes Western trailed 2-0, and suddenly they had taken in the lead with half an hour to play.

A dream second half only got better for Western when Ruhs made it 4-2 with his second of the afternoon in the 66th minute.

Western’s fourth came at the end of a chaotic sequence in which both Garuccio and James Donachie hit the crossbar – with the latter’s attempt falling fortuitously into Ruhs’ path to finish from close range.