D’Agostini dart denies Victory


Perth Glory 2 Melbourne Victory 2

Melbourne Victory looked set to plunder all three points from their Perth visit until Nick D’Agostino rose at the death to power a magnificent downward header past Lawrence Thomas claiming a share of the spoils, and consigning the Victorians, to heartbreak and recrimination on the four-hour red-eye flight back to Melbourne.

Glory edged closer to second in the A-League table, one point behind Melbourne City with a game in hand, while Victory languished in eighth spot, five points out of finals contention.

The crowd enjoyed an entertaining encounter enhanced by the inadequacies of both teams.

Glory lacked invention and incision suffering from the absence of Diego Castro, their sublime play-maker, while Victory have looked a pale imitation of their previous incarnation since the departure of club legend Kevin Muscat as coach.

Following Muscat’s replacement Marco Kurz’s sacking, after Victory’s worst ever start to a season, former Real Madrid Academy coach Carlos Perez Salvachua was handed the reins a fortnight ago.

Chalking up a midweek win against Japanese giants Kashima Antlers to qualify for the Asian Champions League, the Spaniard shows encouraging signs in his quest to rouse the Melbourne giants from their malaise.

Glory’s recent unbeaten run has been built on defensive foundations as they bid to reach a club record of consecutive shutouts tonight.

But Glory coach Tony Popovic astutely predicted before the match that defending against Victory’s “fantastic attack” was his team’s key task.

In the match up between the excellence of Glory’s defence and Victory’s attack, and, at the other end, the less than stellar Glory attack and equally matched leaky Victory defence, the forwards, on both sides reigned supreme.

It all made for rip-roaring end-to-end stuff for the fans.

Melbourne’s Swedish ace Ola Toivonen was the first to draw blood after 23 minutes. The ageing artisan feigned to make a full-blooded run toward the anticipated pass from the right from Andrew Nabbout.

Toivonen after 1st goal.

Three!!! Glory defenders fell for his unlikely burst of pace while the wily Viking delightfully decelerated giving him a couple of metres space to fire his shot, from the edge of the box, past the blamelessly flailing Liam Reddy, to put Victory in the lead.

Meanwhile at the other end Glory’s talented Uruguayan striker Bruno Fornaroli was ploughing a lonely furrow.

Glory right wing back Ivan Franjic was kept busy by mercurial Victory left-winger Elvis Kambosa, curtailing his customary forward scampers to the minimum.

But in the 34th minute Franjic was able to find a bit of space, and send a cross over, which would have made goal of the season if the consistently fouled Fornaroli’s spectacular scissor kick hadn’t careered off the post.

Fornaroli was not to be denied in first half injury time though. After a series of controversial decisions, the referee cathartically defaecated a free kick as the Uruguayan tensed in a pregnant location 20 metres out.

True to his continent, the South American breached the wall, as Andrew Nabbout failed to head clear. The incontinence of the Melbourne defence saw their lead flush away as Fornaroli produced the equaliser.

Glory started the second half well but Kambosa was a consistent thorn in their side.

The tricky winger didn’t provide any assists directly, but he was causing enough angst in Glory’s defence to create openings for Victory in other areas.

Elvis Kamsoba, scourge of Glory defence. Prost/McNeela

Henceforth, Victory again took the lead in 58 minutes.

A long ball to Andrew Nabbout still left him a lot to do. With Glory centre back Alex Grant tracking back to make amends for playing him onside, he cut inside and bent the ball beyond Reddy to make it 2-1 to Victory.

Just as it seemed that Glory were running out of ideas up popped D’Agostino at the death.

Victory reshaped defensively hoping to secure the three points, entailing Kamsoba shoring up the midfield.

This seemed to invigorate the hitherto ineffectual Franjic. Shorn of his defensive duties he patrolled the right wing with renewed menace.

Manbunned D’Agostino denied Victory with his late goal. Prost/McNeela

Beating his man, he conjured a sublime cross which D’Agostino addressed with gusto leaving Thomas disconsolate while conceding the equaliser.



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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