Match Preview: Aspropotamitis relishing Berisha battle

Glory v Victory 2021 -Jonathan Aspropotamitis on the ball

Defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis is relishing the prospect of locking horns with his former teammate and Glory nemesis Besart Berisha in Wednesday evening’s clash with Western United at HBF Park (kick-off at 7.20pm, tickets HERE).


Prior to his move to Glory last year, Aspropotamitis made nine appearances for United, getting to know the man whose controversial penalty broke Glory hearts during the 2012 Grand Final very well in the process.

And while respectful of Berisha’s status as the A-League’s all-time leading goalscorer, the 24-year-old is quietly confident of getting the better of him in the midweek showdown.

“Firstly, he [Berisha] is a winner who wants to win every day, in every single training session,” he said.

“Everything that he does, he wants to do at his best for the team to win, so that’s imperative to his mindset.

“Secondly, he’s a striker that just wants to score goals and he’s incessant on that.

“If he doesn’t score in a game, he’ll be quite angry… and rightly so, he wants to score in every game and that’s why he’s had the record he’s had.

“I’m really looking forward to playing against him because as a defender or any player, you want to come up against the best and Bes is certainly one of the best strikers we’ve ever had in the league, if not the best.

“So it’ll be an interesting contest tomorrow night and I’m confident we can all nullify his threat as a defensive unit.”

Aspropotamitis produced arguably one of his best performances of the season as part of a back three in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory and he enjoyed playing within the new defensive system.

“I’m more than happy to play it,” he said.

“I had an experience last year of playing that way, so I have a bit of a feel for it.

“Different coaches want to play that certain system in a different way, so it’s about adapting to that as a player, but it worked really well the other night because we got the three points and the performance was fantastic.

“So hopefully we can continue that tomorrow night because we’re playing in front of our home fans and always want to put on a good show.”

So what kind of challenge is the Sydneysider expecting from United and will the occasion contain a little extra spice for him personally? 

“It should be interesting,” he said, with a wry smile.

“I developed some really good relationships down there last season.

“We spent a lot of time together in the hub in Sydney and it’ll be good to come up against some old mates, but when you cross that white line, it’s always about being that little bit more aggressive and all those friendships kind of go out of the window for 90 minutes.

“We’ll be be looking to get the three points because we really want to build on the other night and make a push for the Finals.

“Rudes [Head Coach Mark Rudan] is pretty regimented in the way he wants to play.

“They have a set system which they work on a lot and have a lot of dangerous players.

“We’ll really need to be on our toes, but we know we’ve got strengths up front as well and if we can hold steady at the back like we did in the last game, that’ll hold us in good stead.”

In terms of early team news, Glory have been boosted in their bid to secure a first win in what is their fourth meeting with the Victorians by the return of Socceroos defender Jason Geria who has recovered from his hip injury.

United, meanwhile, will again be without former Glory man Josh Risdon (foot) but could include striker Kaine Sheppard and experienced defender Brendan Hamill.

Match Details

Perth Glory v Western United FC

HBF Park, Perth

Kick-Off: 7:20pm (Local)(9:20pm (AEST))

Referee: Alireza Faghani

Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Southern

Assistant Referee 2: Arvin Shanmuganathan

Fourth Official: Adam Fielding

VAR: Kris Griffiths-Jones

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #PERvWUN

Perth Glory squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Jason GERIA, 5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 7.Chris IKONOMIDIS, 8.Kosuke OTA, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 10.Andy KEOGH, 11.Joel CHIANESE, 13.Luke BODNAR, 15.Brandon WILSON, 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Nick D’AGOSTINO, 19.Callum TIMMINS, 20.Carlo ARMIENTO, 23.Dane INGHAM, 24.Daniel STYNES, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 37.Riley WARLAND, 38.Ciaran BRAMWELL

**2-4 to be omitted**

 Ins: 2.Jason GERIA (returns from injury), 18.Nick D’AGOSTINO (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 4.Sebastian LANGKAMP (groin 2-4 weeks)

Western United FC squad: 1.Filip KURTO (gk), 2.Aaron CALVER,  3.Brendan HAMILL 4.Andrew DURANTE, 5.Dylan PIERIAS, 6.Tomoki IMAI, 7.Besart BERISHA, 8.Lachlan WALES, 9.Kaine SHEPPARD, 10.Steven LUSTICA, 11.Connor PAIN, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 20.Víctor SÁNCHEZ, 21.Sebastian PASQUALI, 22.Tomislav USKOK, 23.Alessandro DIAMANTI (c), 25.Luke DUZEL, 27. Jerry SKOTADIS, 30.Ryan SCOTT (gk), 34.Iker GUARROTXENA

**2-4 to be omitted**

 Ins: 3. Brendan HAMILL (promoted), 9. Kaine SHEPPARD (promoted), 27. Jerry SKOTADIS (promoted)

Outs: 26. Nicolas MILANOVIC (omitted)

Unavailable: 19. Joshua RISDON, (foot), 12. Dalibor MARKOVIC (Ankle)