Perth prevail in seven goal thriller as Babbel mourns ref’s decisions.


Perth Glory came out on top in a seven-goal thriller in the kind of game that is often considered pivotal at the end of a successful season. They preserved their six-point advantage at the top of the A-League by somehow concocting a 4-3 win despite being 3-1 down with 11 minutes to go.

While their closest rivals continue to exert pressure themselves by clocking up the wins, they must be beginning to wonder what they have to do to peg Perth back.

Glory made five changes and started with a makeshift midfield of Fabio Ferreira, Jake Brimmer, Juande and Scott Neville which never got near to the fluid passing possession play which destroyed Sydney in the first half on Wednesday night.

The Perth side also failed to show any attacking sparkle. Joel Chianese seemed devoid of the confidence he showed when bagging a brace against Sydney three days before.

In fact, the entire Glory team seemed to lack the swagger of title contenders that they have carried off in other games during this busy December/January period.

The Wanderers were without two of their most influential players, Alex Baumjohann and Oriel Riera out due to injury, but it didn’t seem to handicap them much, as lively play from Bruce Kamau and Nick Fitzgerald provided several attacking forages, that would have borne more fruit but for the profligacy of recent Bundesliga recruit, Kwame Yeboah, in front of goal.

But continued failure to convert could not disguise that it was beginning to look a tad ominous for Perth.

Even Yeboah couldn’t miss when a succession of defensive calamities resulted in an innocuous corner bouncing of his chest and into the net, after 39’.

The goal had been coming and the Wanderers deserved to go in at half-time with a lead.

After Perth’s best first half of the season against Sydney on Sunday, Wednesday witnessed their most woeful against Wanderers.

That hot Glory bench seemed to be a luxury that needed to be vacated early in the 2nd half.

When the second half got underway Jason Davidson replaced Shane Lowry as Ivan Franjic returned to his more accustomed right wing-back berth. Diego Castro went on for Joel Chianese, the young forward looking out of sorts in the 1st half.

Initially Glory boss Tony Popovic’s calculated gamble didn’t seem to be paying off.

On 68’ Majok won the ball on the right and slipped it to Yeboah in the left of the box. He squared to Bonevacia who made no mistake from eight meters. 0-2

Just a minute later the ball was in the net for Glory. Castro was first to react after a shot rebounds from the crossbar, with a further attempt saved by the keeper. There was a question of Davidson being offside but the goal given. 1-2. The 36-year-old Spanish playmaker had got the Perth side back in the hunt.

The Glory possession game now looked convincing for the first period in the match.

But after 77′ Glory look dead and buried. Yeboah sprung the offside trap and crossed for Majok who slammed it home. 1-3.

But again, Wanderers were unable to consolidate and sit on their lead. After 78′ some more Castro wizardry on the left resulted in Franjic scoring as he headed home a rebound of the bar. 2-3.

On the 82′ mark His Majesty, Diego Castro, the A-League Aristocrat, slipped a delightful ball to his accomplice on the right wing, Franjic. The wing-back deftly fed Keogh, who gobbled it up to make it 3-3.

A draw would have been a fair result as the young guns of Wanderers and the old foxes of Glory had served up a thriller. But this game just kept serving up drama. On 84′ a penalty was awarded to Glory as Keogh went down amidst claims of exaggeration, if not simulation. 3-3

Juande make no mistake from the spot 4-3.

The Wanderers refused to give up and kept spilling forward in the last few minutes of regulation and the added 5 minutes. But it was not to be for the Wanderers.

On 94′ it even required a Reddy headed clearance 40 meters out. Late substitute, Brendon Santalab, the wily forward playing against his old team, merits a special mention. When he came on for Ferreira on 77’, Santalab seemed to calm Glory down with his pragmatic stratagems taking the sting out of the Wanderers by tying up their defence and slowing the pace of the game.

Another late, late show for Perth keeps them 6 points clear of the chasing pack and the Wanderers go back over the Nullarbor with nothing to show for their sterling efforts this evening in Perth.

At the press conference after the game Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic singled out Diego Castro for a special mention.

Popovic pays homage to Castro but acknowledges difficulty of win. Photo credit: ScozzieProst

“Diego did what Diego does. His decisions were on another level to everyone else on the field in that last half hour, and ultimately that was the difference.”

Wanderers coach, Markus Babbel, was in good humour, considering the circumstances, but obviously disappointed his team come away with nothing to show for their fine contribution to a supremely entertaining game.


But states A-League refs are “f***ing blind” and exhorts journalists to expose. Photo credit: ScozzieProst.

Despite stating he couldn’t criticise the referee for controversial decisions around the Glory penalty and a suspicion of offside for Castro’s goal, he made some general statements about refereeing standards in the A-League which the authorities will find hard to ignore.

“This is a problem…even with the VAR there are so many mistakes. If they don’t see it they’re f***ing blind…The quality is not good enough…they have to improve.”



About Author

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

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