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Sydney FC left to rue 1-0 loss to Western

Steven Lustica has continued his purple patch as Western United survived a first-half barrage to produce a 1-0 win over Sydney FC.

Sydney dominated the opening 45 minutes of Wednesday’s A-League Men match at AAMI Park, notching 13 shots to four and amassing 11 corners to one.

But it all counted for nothing, with Lustica scoring the winner in the 67th minute to lift Western back to the top of the ladder.

The result left Sydney seven points adrift of second-placed Melbourne City, with Saturday’s clash between the teams set to be crucial.

Lustica, who signed a one-year contract extension with Western last week, failed to score in his first six matches this season.

But the veteran midfielder has now scored four in his last seven games, with his clinical finish against Sydney proving to be the key moment of Wednesday’s encounter.

Aleksandar Prijovic trapped a pass in the box before expertly rolling the ball back for Lustica to run onto.

Lustica dribbled past an opponent with a quick movement before calmly planting his left foot strike into the top corner.

“It was a great finish. That’s why we’ve re-signed him, to score goals for us,” Western coach John Aloisi said with a laugh.

Aloisi has now led his team to eight wins from 13 games, with seven of those victories being 1-0 scorelines.

“You can’t always play well, and the first half we weren’t playing well,” Aloisi said.

“In the second half I thought we were really good, and we got our just rewards when we scored the goal.

“I’m so proud of the boys. I don’t care, 1-0 or 3-2, it’s important to get the wins.”

The Sky Blues were left to lament their inability to score in the first half, when they enjoyed 63 per cent possession.

Anthony Caceres’ close-range shot was well saved by goalkeeper Jamie Young, Elvis Kamsoba had a shot blocked by a defender, while Bobo’s excellent chest down in the box was wasted when he followed it up with a weak strike.

Sydney defender Ben Warland almost scored an own goal in the 56th minute with a clearance gone wrong, but luckily for him the ball bounced off the crossbar.

“The first half was excellent, we created some chances but were unable to score which was disappointing,” Sydney coach Steve Corica said.

“And the second half we looked very flat. We didn’t get up to the ball, we allowed them space. They took their chance nicely.

“It’s disappointing because that was a game we needed to win.

“A bit frustrating, especially after creating a lot of chances in the first half. You can only win games if you score goals.”

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