United through in Australia Cup

Lachie Wales scored the winner on Wednesday night. (Supplied/Getty Images)

Western United is through to the final 16 of the Australian Cup for the first time after stunning the defending champions Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night.

In their first official game since winning the 2021-22 A-League men’s title, United did enough to come away with a 2-1 win at AMMI Park.

Having never won a match in the FFA Cup-Australia Cup, United was keen to open their account in the knockout competition.

Many of United’s championship stars were on the pitch for the club’s first proper match of the pre-season.

Rhys Bozinovski was given his starting debut, with the 18-year-old playing in the midfield, while academy players Jordan Lauton and Noah Holmes were both part of the match day squad.

United opened the scoring in the 24th minute when Victory defender George Timotheou diverted a cross into his own net, for an own goal.

Jake Brimmer levelled the score just after half time.

Lachie Wales proved to be the match winner for United, getting on the end of a Ben Garuccio cross from close range in the 53rd minute.

Neither side was able to convert chances later in the game.

Josh Risdon, who was captain for the night, said it was good to get a game under their belts.

“It was tough, I’m not going to lie,” he said on the Channel 10 broadcast after the game.

“It’s the first 90 minutes we’ve played this pre-season. We’ve been working hard but nothing can get you prepared for an actual game.

“Victory are a good side and always fit and strong, we knew that he would take it right to the end,

“It was a good win.”

Risdon said they knew heading into the game that they were likely to be a bit rusty being their first hit out.

He said that point was reinforced at half time.

“It’s our first hit out,” he said. “A few balls are going to miss here and there.

“We stuck to structures and did what we know we can do to get us there in the end.”

United will be back on the pitch pretty quickly with the round of 16 matches scheduled for August 10.

United has been drawn to play National Premier League side Sydney United in Sydney.

Melbourne’s west is well represented in the round of 16.

Green Gully had won through the previous week. The Cavaliers will back themselves to make it through to the final eight, having drawn fellow NPL side Peninsula Power on the road.

Tara Murray