Perth Glory has recorded its second win of the season after upsetting Melbourne City at AAMI Park, with Bruno Fornaroli returning to haunt his former side.
It just had to be Bruno.
It did not matter that Perth sat bottom heading into the game nor City in second, this was about Fornaroli returning to face his former side.
The prospect of a shoot-out between him and Jamie Maclaren – City’s current talisman and hero – provided an interesting sub-plot as two of the league’s best forwards went head-to-head.
Maclaren started the better of the two, firing the first two attempts of the match – the first a clever flick in the fourth minute, before chipping the ball straight into the arms of Liam Reddy in the 15th – with Perth’s best chance in the opening stages coming after Diego Castro failed to take advantage of an open net from 30 yards after a Dean Bouzanis turnover in the 17th minute
Despite Maclaren looking the more energetic – it was his predecessor who drew first blood.
Playing against his former side for the first time at AAMI Park – a ground he had previously dominated with 29 goals in 36 appearances – it almost seemed too good to be true when Fornaroli’s 27th minute header crept past Bouzanis for the opener.
The 32-year-old showcased his football intelligence to beat the much bigger Harrison Delbridge in an aerial duel to head a deflected Juande attempt, which had looped inside the penalty area, for the opening goal.
The Uruguayan did not need to head the ball with much force to see it trickle into the back of the net and was met by a mark of respect from the City fans, who were pleased to see their former captain not celebrate.
City’s woes were exacerbated soon after the break as they hardly had time to settle before finding themselves another goal down.
The Glory kicked off the second half on the front foot, with Castro’s 46th minute attempt deflected out for a corner.
With City failing to clear the set-piece, Castro found enough space inside the box on an acute angle to play a square ball to an unmarked Gregrory Wulthrich, whose low shot was guided into the back of the net by Delbridge for an own goal.
City seemed unable to pick up the pieces from here, struggling to break through and create opportunities against a stubborn Glory defence.
Their night then went from bad to worse in the 71st minute when a returning Tomislav Mrcela put the game to bed with a towering header.
A short corner between Fornaroli and Castro saw the Spaniard plant the ball on the head of the rising defender, whose header found the top corner and sealed a much-needed win for the Glory.
Connor Metcalfe thought he had given his side a glimmer of hope when his 80th minute strike flew past Liam Reddy, only for it to be ruled out with the 19-year-old returning an offside position.
Fornaroli’s romantic return ended with a standing ovation from the City fans, who clapped their former hero off the field after being replaced by Jake Brimmer in the 87th minute.
The win takes the Glory off the bottom of the table ahead of their meeting against the Western Sydney Wanderers, while City misses the chance to temporarily return to the top of the table.
Featured Image: Getty Images
Melbourne City 0
Perth Glory 3 (Fornaroli 27′, Delbridge (OG) 47′, Mrcela 71′)
Dean Bouzanis (GK), Scott Galloway (Nathaniel Atkinson 78’), Harrison Delbridge, Curtis Good, Scott Jamieson, Josh Brillante (Adrian Luna 72’), Rostyn Griffiths, Connor Metcalfe, Craig Noone, Jamie Maclaren, Marcelo Cabrera (Lachlan Wales 61’)
Thomas Glover, Denis Genreau, Richard Windbichler, Stefan Colakovski
Liam Reddy (GK), Ivan Franjic, Tomislav Mrcela, Alex Grant, James Meredith, Gregory Wuthrich, Juande, Neil Kilkenny, Diego Castro, Bruno Fornaroli (Jake Brimmer 87’), Chris Ikonomidis (Joel Chianese 73’)
Tando Velaphi, Jacob Tratt, Soobeom Kim, Gabriel Popovic