Their home city has entered a 5-day lockdown, but Perth Glory has found reason to celebrate, defeating Melbourne City 3-1 at AAMI Park on Sunday evening.
Perth took the lead through 21 year-old phenom Carlo Armiento – not that he knew anything about it. Diego Castro found Daniel Stynes in acres of space on the right flank, who cut inside onto his left foot and blasted a shot from distance. The shot cannoned off teammate Armiento’s back, completely wrong-footing Tom Glover and trickling into the net.
Wave after wave of pressure eventually had to tell, and City finally found their equaliser in the 33rd minute. Jonathan Aspropotamitis under-hit a hesitant pass to Callum Timmins, and Adrian Luna pounced, finding Craig Noone, who checked inside. His low, curling shot came back off the outside of the post, but Jamie Maclaren was Johnny-on-the-spot to tap in the rebound.
Coach Richard Garcia immediately took action, yanking off young Timmins in an unusual first half substitution, and replacing him with Olyroos utility Brandon Wilson. Garcia seems immune to the usual coaching convention of waiting until at least half time to make changes – this is the second such substitution he’s made in the space of three games, with Stynes the victim against Western United.
Perth found the lead again as Neil Kilkenny whipped in a wicked free kick from the right flank in the 41st minute, his bouncing delivery finding Dane Ingham, who squeezed his close-range header inside the far post and in. The goal was initially ruled out by the linesman’s flag, but after a lengthy VAR review, Ingham was found to be level with Connor Metcalfe, and the goal stood.
Substitute Nick D’Agostino sealed the points in the 84th minute with a header that’s becoming something of his trademark. Another pinpoint Kilkenny free kick found the Olyroos striker on the edge of the six yard box, who rose highest and nodded home off the inside of the far post.
Controversy ensued during the celebration, as a City fan appeared to throw a plastic bottle at former club legend Bruno Fornaroli.
City had bossed proceedings in the first half, but found themselves behind at the half, largely through their own profligacy. Japanese loanee Naoki Tsubaki picked out Maclaren in the box in the 9th minute, but the Socceroo’s first effort was blocked, and his follow-up trickled across goal, hitting the inside of the far post and bouncing agonisingly clear.
Maclaren would have several more efforts go unrewarded before the break, firing straight at Tando Velaphi in the 20th minute, and blasting over the bar from a chipped Noone pass in the 32nd.
Patrick Kisnorbo turned to his bench early in the second half for inspiration, bringing on first Marco Tilio and then Florin Berenguer for Tsubaki and Gomulka respectively. But it was Luna who came close on the hour mark when the ball dropped to him from a corner, smashing his half volley at the near post. The acrobatic Velaphi was equal to it, however.
City’s best chance of the half came and went for Connor Metcalfe in the 68th minute, who headed Luna’s dinked cross over the bar when he really should have scored.
Substitute Nick Sullivan had the home crowd – and the opposition – baying for blood in the 78th minute, when his cynical slide tackle from behind brought down a rampaging Tilio. The card was, probably justifiably, yellow, but given the severity of the foul, it may as well have been tinted orange.
And D’Agostino eventually found the sealer off the bench, lifting Perth to 7th place in the table. The players may not make it home to their families between now and the Adelaide game, but the result surely put a smile on the faces of Glory fans in the midst of unfortunate circumstances.