Western United captain Alessandro Diamanti has tested positive for COVID-19 and was among nine Western United players unavailable in their 3-1 loss to Melbourne Victory.
United coach John Aloisi confirmed Diamanti, who is fully vaccinated was one of two new cases at the club this week.
On Christmas Day, Diamanti had spoken in Italian about testing positive on his Instagram stories.
“If you understood Italian, he said he had COVID,” Aloisi said.
— 10 Football (@10FootballAU) December 26, 2021
“He doesn’t feel sick at all. He feels fine. He couldn’t believe that he had it.
“But I suppose that the majority of our players, the ones that did get it and have it, they haven’t felt sick at all. It’s just unfortunate.
“This is something that we have to deal with, and we’re not looking for any excuses at all.
“Because even with the players we had out there we still had that belief that we would get the result.”
Four other United players had to isolate as close contacts of a positive case.
We aren't going to go for the 'Brilliante' strike joke.
— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) December 26, 2021
Of the club’s previous three positive cases, one returned to training this week while the other two players’ isolation periods ended on Sunday.
Aloisi said the APL had spoken with United about a potential postponement, but the club wanted to play.
“We deserved more out of the game but I couldn’t be prouder of the group,” he said.
“Because that for me defined us. Not the four wins in a row. Tonight defined us as a group, the character that we showed.”
Aloisi said an additional player at United was unavailable for selection as they weren’t vaccinated.
He was uncertain whether COVID-19 cases at both United and Western Sydney would affect their January 1 clash with the Wanderers.
Victory’s 3-1 triumph sent it top of the table and ended United’s four-game winning streak.
United was put on the back foot when Jason Geria headed home Jake Brimmer’s corner in the 18th minute, for his first goal in 126 ALM appearances.
United turned it over from the subsequent kick-off and Josh Brillante hit the ball to Brimmer, who traded quick passes with Francesco Margiotta.
The Italian striker cut the ball back to Brillante, who smashed a piledriver past a diving Jamie Young for his first Victory goal.
— Western United FC (@wufcofficial) December 26, 2021
Aleksandar Prijovic snatched a goal back in the 87th, burying Lachie Wales’ lofted cross.
But seven minutes later, Marco Rojas went on a barnstorming run, then laid the ball off to Nick D’Agostino to coolly seal three points.
— Melbourne Victory (@gomvfc) December 26, 2021
“It’s a good win against a team that won four consecutive games 1-0, so they’re a confident team,” Victory coach Tony Popovic said.
“I thought the first half was very good, thought we played some great stuff first half, and the second half maybe showed how far we’ve got to go.”
Chris Ikonomidis was substituted off at half-time with “tightness”.