Bruno Fornaroli’s 86th minute substitution was met with standing ovation from a Melbourne City supporter base who rode every bump alongside their former skipper.
Perth Glory may have won and Fornaroli may have scored, but this meant so much more than the three points for the Uruguayan – who lifted City’s one and only piece of silverware back in 2016.
“I have great memories here, I give the respect [to the fans] the way they gave [it to] me tonight, I didn’t celebrate – nothing,” he said.
“I have friends here and good memories, the fans you see tonight [showed] big love for me and I didn’t want to celebrate, I wanted to show respect for them.
“I swear for me this is crazy, to receive this love from the fans I think is the best, it’s more than the titles or the trophies you can win.
“At the end football is this, I prefer this.
“Maybe someone will win one trophy for the club and no one will remember him and no one will say goodbye or hello, but the feeling I felt in minute 86 you cannot compare so this the best I have tonight.”
Fornaroli’s 27th minute goal opened the floodgates for the Glory who stormed home to a convincing win in their second consecutive trip to Melbourne.
The 32-year-old netted his 30th goal in 37 appearances at AAMI Park when his header off a deflected Juande attempt trickled past Dean Bouzanis, after beating Harrison Delbridge in an aerial duel.
A Delbridge own-goal (47th minute) and a Tomislav Mrcela header (71st minute) sealed Perth’s second win of the season, which sees the reigning premiers jump off the foot of the table and temporarily into the top six.
In contrast to previous weeks, the Glory did not dominate possession – only having 38 per cent of the ball and recording its lowest rate of possession yet.
While head coach Tony Popovic was hesitant in describing the victory as season-defining, the Glory boss believes his team was defensively solid.
“I don’t know what the possession was but I thought we had very effective possession,” he said.
“We scored first which helped the confidence of players and was a great reward for them because they’ve been playing well without reward.
“Today they were better than last week, we looked stronger defensively we didn’t give any clear chances away to a very good attacking team and that completes the game when you’re good in attack and defence.
“Performance wise we’ve been pleased with what we’ve been doing, but today we extended the minutes.
“Yes we scored three but I thought we were very strong as a team, defensively we’ve limited chances for opportunities but [in previous weeks] we’ve given away simple chances.”