Perth Glory showed their grit and determination as they fought off a tough Sydney FC side to leap up the ladder to second and earn a third clean sheet in a row with a 1-0 victory.
The game’s deciding event happened in the first ten minutes of the game with Glory receiving a controversial penalty award from match referee Ben Williams. After Steven McGarry scored the spot-kick, Sydney conjured up a multiple amount of decent chances but seemed unable to beat Glory No.1 Danny Vukovic, who received the man of the match award.
Perth Glory Head Coach Alistair Edwards, admitted that his side’s performance could have been better but the result was pleasing.
“It was a good three points with three clean sheets in a row. All credit to Sydney FC, they came here and played very well. They were hell-bent on stopping us from playing, which is a big compliment to us,” Edwards said from the post-match press conference.
The opening period belonged to Perth Glory as their dominance paid off with the penalty decision. Jamie Maclaren did well to feed the ball through to Ryo Nagai and as he was clear through on goal with Sydney goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic making a decision to come off his line and clattering into Nagai for the penalty.
The Glory players remonstrated to the referee that they believed Janjetovic denied a goal scoring opportunity and should have been sent-off but the WA side were fortunate to receive the penalty decision at all with replays showing Nagai was clearly offside.
Steven McGarry’s coolly slotted the ball into the bottom right-hand corner from the spot to give Glory the lead.
Sydney responded to the challenge by heaping pressure on Danny Vukovic’s goal, with him being equal to a crisp strike from Nick Carle and a headed effort from Ali Abbas.
HALF-TIME: GLORY 1-0 SYDNEY
The first opportunity of the second half fell to Sydney with Richard Garcia’s header gliding over the bar as the away side started to dictate possession.
Glory settled down on the hour mark however and a devilish cross from Scott Jamieson caused unease in the Sydney box with the ball falling to birthday boy Sidnei Sciola but unfortunately for him and the Glory fans, Sidnei couldn’t score against Sydney!
It was then time for both sides’ marquee signings to feature with Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero and the returning Shane Smeltz taking the field, whose introductions both received some of the biggest cheers of the day.
It wasn’t long until Smeltz made an impact and after a slick attacking move, the ball was drilled across goal but the stretching leg of the New Zealand international could only send the ball over the bar.
The real hero of the day for the Glory however was Danny Vukovic, who produced a sublime save to deny Matthew Thompson as his shot was pushed onto the post.
The WA side were able to hang on to the vital three points and prove that the side has the resilience to win a match even when they are under pressure for large parts of it.
Perth Glory 1-0 Sydney FC
1.Daniel VUKOVIC (GK), 4.Ryan EDWARDS, 5.Steve PANTELIDIS, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 8.Ryo NAGAI (9.Shane SMELTZ 70’), 10.Jamie MACLAREN (6.Cameron EDWARDS 52’), 14.Steven McGARRY, 16.Sidnei SCIOLA MORAES (20.Daniel DE SILVA 70’), 21.Scott JAMIESON, 23.Michael THWAITE, 24.Matthew DAVIES
Substitutes not used: 3.Brandon O’NEILL, 18.Jack DUNCAN (GK)
Scorers: 14.Steven McGARRY 9’
2.Seb RYALL, 3.Mark WARREN (27.Chris NAUMOFF 50’), 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 7.Brett EMERTON (c), 11.Richard GARCIA, 13.Tiago CALVANO, 16.Joel CHIANESE (21.Yairo YAU 65’), 19.Nicky CARLE (10.Alessandro DEL PIERO 50’), 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK), 22.Ali ABBAS, 28.Matt THOMPSON
Substitutes not used: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (GK), 5.Matt JURMAN