Western United edge past Wanderers

Ben Garuccio’s incredible ‘scorpion’ goal stole the show as Western United beat Western Sydney Wanderers 3-2 to leap back to the top of the Isuzu UTE A-League table.

Garuccio’s stunning 68th-minute finish, when he met Aleksandar Prijovic’s outside-of-the-boot chip with an instinctive, diving scorpion kick into the bottom corner, followed an earlier 45th-minute strike for the full-back, who previously hadn’t scored in the A-League Men since 2018.

Western striker Prijovic delivered both assists and also scored the opening goal in the 27th minute in a masterful performance up front at AAMI Park on Sunday.

Tomer Hemed scored a 51st-minute penalty for Western Sydney, while Steven Ugarkovic netted in the 86th.

Prijovic missed a 17th-minute header but made amends 10 minutes later when he burst past Jack Rodwell, latched onto Tomoki Imai’s long ball and coolly chipped Daniel Margush for the opener.

Western doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time when Prijovic took a lovely touch from Alessandro Diamanti’s reflex ball out wide, turned and slipped through Garuccio, to smash home at the near post.

Wanderers head coach Mark Rudan responded to his side’s dismal first half by hooking three big names at half-time – Rodwell, Dimi Petratos and Terry Antonis.

Ziggy Gordon, Ramy Najjarine and Ugarkovic entered the fray and five minutes later the Wanderers earned a penalty when Najjarine’s cross flicked Imai’s trailing arm.

Hemed coolly dispatched the spot-kick to get Western Sydney back into the match, but spurned three more golden opportunities.

In the 56th minute, Western goalkeeper Jamie Young made a brilliant save from Hemed’s acrobatic volley.

Two minutes later, Hemed headed James Troisi’s excellent chip over the bar and in the 62nd minute, he hit a tame shot at Young.

After Garuccio restored United’s two-goal lead, Young brilliantly denied Ugarkovic in the 80th minute.

But the midfielder ripped a wonderful skidding shot in the bottom corner five minutes later to make for a lively finish.