Perth were left to rue missed chances after goals to Adama Traore and Gui Finkler either side of the main break consigned Glory to a 2-0 defeat in front of 17’008 fans at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Perth Glory were playing their youngest ever Hyundai A-League side with an average age of just under 23 years and it was a cagey start by both teams with either side unable to create any clear-cut chances. Pablo Contreras’ first yellow of the match for a late tackle on Ryo Nagai was the only highlight in the first 15 minutes.
The home side gradually started to get on top, dominating the possession count 62 to 38 percent with Mitch Nichols the first to make the superiority pay by firing a shot across Danny Vukovic’s goal in the 16th minute that went inches wide.
Victory continued to attack down the wings with Connor Pain setting up Nichols in the 17th minute, but his shot went straight into Vukovic’s arms. That attempt was followed by a strike from James Troisi in the 22nd minute which Vukovic managed to palm away.
Despite a couple of half-chances to the Victory, the Glory defence continued to hold strong until Adam Traore managed to sneak one past Vukovic at the near post in the 34th minute with a ferocious left-foot strike. It was 23-year-old’s first Hyundai A-League goal since January 4th, 2012 against the Newcastle Jets.
Traore’s goal seemed to jolt Perth back into action with Ryo Nagai doing well in the 39th minute to hold off Jason Geria on the counter-attack, but he was unable to keep his shot on target from a tight angle.
HALF TIME: Melbourne Victory 1-0 Perth Glory
Watched on by Ange Postecoglou in the stands, Glory started the second half in much better fashion than the first, keeping control of the ball and creating a great chance for Maclaren in the 51st minute but his left-foot strike was unable to find the target.
A string of passes allowed Maclaren to nearly break the offside trap in the 56th minute but Contreras made a last-ditch sliding tackle which denied the 20-year-old Perth Glory striker the chance after he was through on goal.
The match continued to ebb and flow as Victory started to gain the ascendency once again with Nichols, Kosta Barbarouses and Troisi the main attacking threats, but were denied each time by Vukovic in the Perth goal, who had an outstanding game.
Glory’s best chance in the second half fell to Ryan Edwards, but he was unable to keep his shot down from the penalty spot after Chris Harold had managed to cut the ball back to him from the right-hand wing.
That effort was followed minutes later by Maclaren’s excellent volley but Melbourne Victory goal keeper, Nathan Cole, made an excellent save to tip the Glory number 10's shot over the bar.
Gui Finkler's introduction in the second half had the desired effect for Kevin Muscat’s men, with the Argentinian midfielder sealing the win and scoring Victory’s second goal in the 89th minute following good lead-up work between Nichols and Troisi.
The Glory now travels back to Perth for a home match against Adelaide United on Sunday, 22nd December at 4 p.m. while Victory plays Melbourne Heart.
Hyundai A-League 2013-2014 Season – Week 10
Melbourne Victory 2-0 Perth Glory (Half-time 1-0)
Friday 13th December 2013
Referee: Peter Green
Perth Glory: 1.Daniel VUKOVIC (GK), 2.Jack CLISBY, 4.Ryan EDWARDS, 8.Ryo NAGAI, 10.Jamie MACLAREN, 14.Steven McGARRY, 17. Chris HAROLD (20. Danny DE SILVA 86’), 22. Ndumba MAKECHE (6.Cameron EDWARDS 64’), 23.Michael THWAITE, 24.Matthew DAVIES, 25. Riley WOODCOCK
Subs not used: 3.Brandon O’NEILL, 7. Jacob BURNS, 18.Jack DUNCAN (GK)
Yellow Cards: 25. Riley WOODCOCK, 14.Steven McGARRY
Melbourne Victory: 1. Nathan COE (GK), 2. Pablo CONTRERAS, 3. Adama TRAORE, 5. Mark MILLIGAN, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 9. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 11. Connor PAIN (7. Gui FINKLER 72’), 14. James TROISI, 15. Mitch NICHOLS (13. Andrew NABBOUT 90’), 23. Adrian LEIJER, 25, Jason GERIA (16. Rashid MAHAZI 75’)
Subs not used: 4.Nick ANSELL, 20. Lawrence THOMAS (GK)
Goals: Adam TRAORE 34’, Gui FINKLER 89’
Yellow Cards: 2. Pablo CONTRERAS, 9. Kosta BARBAROUSES