For 442 minutes in the A-League, Ali Auglah has shown plenty of promise. In his 443rd, the 21-year-old winger delivered a match-winning goal to seal a last-gasp 1-0 win over Western United with his first ever strike in the league.
Just as both teams looked to be on course for a goalless draw at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, the Bulls youngster showed the composure of a veteran to round Western United’s goalkeeper and calmly slot the match-winner in the 90th minute. It sparked a wild celebration among the Bulls faithful who witnessed successive wins for the south-west Sydney club and a goal that could be the first of many for the talented Auglah.
“Ali has been showing his qualities for many weeks now,” Bulls head coach Mile Sterjovski said. “I thought he’d done well making an impact coming off the bench and it’s not for the first time. I am hoping this goal will lift him even more so he can show his qualities every week.”
Riding a wave of confidence after toppling the reigning champions last week, the Bulls took to Western United with a swagger. French striker Valere Germain came close to opening the scoring in the 12th minute with a powerful shot on the turn that forced Western goalkeeper Thomas Heward-Belle into action for the first time.
Heward-Belle was almost solely responsible for keeping the match scoreless in the first half with a flurry of superb saves to deny the hosts. His best effort came in the 17th minute when he denied Raphael from point-blank range, denying the Bulls winger what would have been a fine strike to seal a lovely move that began with Jed Drew.
On the stroke of halftime, Heward-Belle reacted well to thwart Yianni Nicolau’s powerful strike from the edge of the area to frustrate the hosts by the break.
Having had little to do during the match, Bulls goalkeeper Filip Kurto was superb when called into action shortly after the restart with his athletic stop to turn Josh Risdon’s shot away from goal.
As the match fell into a dogged battle amid fatigue, the injection of Lachlan Rose and Auglah off the bench eroded the Western United backline in the final minute. A darting run from Rose pried open the backline. The instinctive Auglah pounced on the ball, calmly rounded Heward-Belle to slot into the back of the net to seal the Bulls second straight win of the season.
The victory maintains the Bulls undefeated start to the season, sealing their 7th point from a possible nine ahead of Thursday night’s clash at home to Phnom Penh Crown in the AFC Cup.