Sydney bring Glory back down to Perth


Sydney clung on, and ultimately bossed Glory, as they incredibly notched up their 9th successive win against the Perth side, simultaneously ending their 8-game unbeaten start to the season and puncturing their pretensions as genuine Premier or Champion contenders.

Despite enjoying 59% possession, Tony Popovic’s poorly performing Perthites provided a paucity of punch up front. Meanwhile, Steve Corica’s Sydney set out their stall to stifle and frustrate the A-League leaders, and once they took the lead against the run of play, they rarely seemed in danger of losing it, until second half injury time.

The game kicked off at 6.15pm with the mercury rising to 32.8 Centigrade/91 Farenheit. Not as hot as the women had to endure 3 hours earlier, and with most of the pitch in the shade by the second half, but a factor in the game nevertheless.

Glory and Sydney men benefited from cooler temp. and more shade than their female counterparts earlier. Photo credit: Paul McNeela/Prost International.

Glory dominated the first 15 minutes, stroking the ball amongst their talented defenders, while they probed for an opening, as they have done all season. But Sydney seemed to have done their homework on their 5-hour flight as their midfield dug in, preventing Perth possession from counting.

As the 10,356 Perth crowd began to grow restless, their worst fears were realised in the 18th minute. A Sydney corner from the left resulted in a goalmouth scramble, where predatory Pommy striker Adam Le Fondre, had the coolest head in the foundry to knock it into Liam Reddy’s net, claiming one of his “sausage rolls”. Rhymes with goals. Innit? Geddit?

Glory continued to enjoy most of the ball after Sydney’s opening snagger, but craft and guile seemed to elude them as the Sky Blues midfield dug in to neutralise the home side’s threat. Their midfield quartet of Brandon O’Neill, Joshua Brillante, Milos Ninkovic and Siem de Jong stifled Perth counterparts Neil Kilkenny, Jake Brimmer and Juande, rendering them innefective, and sorely missing hamstrung Spanish playmaker Diego Castro.

Wing backs Jason Davidson and Ivan Franjic have tormented opposition defences all season. But tonight, Rhyan “the mullet” Grant and Michael Zullo were more than equal to their Perth counterparts, depriving Glory of even more attacking options. and

Half time arrived with the score remaining Glory 0 Sydney 1, and a sense that all was still to play for.

Kilkenny poised for Brimmer ko, as Brosque stoops to spoil Glory’s 2nd half resurgence. Photo credit: Paul McNeela/PINT

The Perth side continued to have the better of exchanges in the second half while lacking incisive endeavour in the final third, with Sydney looking more dangerous in their less frequent promising spells.

The booked and ineffectual Sydney captain, Alex Brosque, was replaced by West Australian, and former Glory man, Danny De Silva late in the second half and he soon made a decisive impact on the game. Collecting a through ball from Ninkovic which sprung the offside trap he made no mistake from 8 metres in the 87th minute. Perth’s pain was palpable.

It seemed the result was settled, but the De Silva goal seemed to finally give Glory the cue to start playing with the panache that’s taken them to the top of the table. Looking livelier since substitutes Joel Chianese and Scott Neville came on for Franjic and Juande, they pulled one back in the last minute of normal time. Who popped up? None other than Chris Ikonomidis, whose late goals for Glory this season have not only nicked enough points to park them at the top of the table, but also propel him into Graham Arnold’s Socceroos squad for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

A powerful header by Dino Djulbic allowed the Glory Ikon to latch on to a ball to the right of the 6- yard box and the former Atalanta and Lazio youth player makes no mistake from that distance, netting his 6th goal of the season.

Glory 1 Sydney 2.

When 5 minutes of time were added on, with Glory tails up again, we knew we were in for a torrid end to the game.

But we couldn’t imagine quite how dramatic.

With a minute left, Kilkenny played a ball into the box. As Chianese and Sydney keeper Andrew Redmayne competed for the ball the, Perth midfielder laid a light hand on Redmayne’s shoulder. Chianese then passed to Brendon Santalab, who slammed the ball home, as it seemed Glory had conjured up a spectacular equaliser. However, the referee had blown for the challenge against Redmayne and Santalab’s impressive finish didn’t count.

Replays suggested that Redmayne, after a delay, had made the most of Chianese’s contact, but Glory’s appeals for a VAR review were waved away as the ‘goal’ had come after referee Jonathan Barreiro had whistled.

Glory were denied yet another late show point harvesting bonanza, the kind of which has provided them with their current lofty perch atop the A-League table.

Sydney coach Steve Corica happy with his players in Perth. Photo credit: Paul McNeela/PINT

Steve Corica’s Sydney, probably deservedly, go back to NSW with the three points, having sustained Glory pressure lacking intensity until the last 10 minutes.

Tony Popovic, who was philosophical in defeat, has the headache of how to slay Glory’s Sydney hoodoo. Their next home game, in a bizarre scheduling decision, is against Sydney on 9th January.

Glory coach Tony Popovic, philosophical in losing unbeaten run. Photo credit: Paul McNeela/PINT

Glory will have to rekindle their best form to avoid ten defeats on the trot against the rejuvenated reigning Premiers.

Many who witnessed the game tonight will wonder how they can do it.

Perth Glory:

Reddy, Davidson, Lowry, Djulbic, Mrcela, Kilkenny, Juande (Neville, 79’), Franjic, (Chianese, 60’), Brimmer, Keogh (Santalab, 67’), Ikonomidis.

Bookings: Franjic, Lowry (suspended 1 game)

Sydney FC:

Redmayne, Zullo (Tratt, 94’), Wilkinson, Calver, Grant, O’Neill, Brillante, Ninkovic, de Jong (Retre, 60’), Le Fondre, Brosque (De Silva, 83’).

Bookings: Brosque, Retre

Referee: Jonathan Barreiro

Attendance: 10,356


About Author

Scozzie reporting on A-League and other stuff from the Indian Ocean shores. St. Johnstone fan. Follow me on twitter @perthmcneela.

Comments are closed.