SUPERSPORT PROVE TOO STRONG
A powerful and season-ready SuperSport United side found the net late in the first-half and early in the second to ensure that Perth Glory's South Africa tour would end on a losing note in Pretoria. But on a mild winter's afternoon in the nation's capital, the visitors produced a spirited performance that impressed assistant coach Gareth Naven.
"Today was a little bit different from our first two games," he said.
"MP Black Aces and Tuks FC played very direct football, but SuperSport mixed it up and were very good in terms of both their long game and their short game.
"They were definitely the strongest of the teams we've played.
"That said, it was a good game and we had some decent chances through Ryo Nagai and Harry O'Brien in particular.
"We had some good play within our structure and it was a great test for us out there today.
"As a coaching staff, we can see that our players are beginning to understand our structure and style of play and they are getting better at producing the performances that are required.
"We are building slowly, we're only really into week four of our pre-season preparations and the players are taking on board everything that's being asked of them.
"That has certainly been reflected in our performances during our three games on tour, if not in the results as such."
Head Coach Alistair Edwards again took the opportunity to field his entire squad, changing all ten outfield players on the hour mark and Naven was delighted with the overall fitness levels shown by the group.
"We've tried to share an equal amount of game time out among the players during the trip," he said, "and the level of competition that we've been up against has forced us to work really hard during the games.
"The boys' bodies have started to adapt and at this stage of pre-season, we're very pleased with where we're at in terms of match fitness.
"Pre-season games are all about discovering where your team is at, what they need to improve upon, what they need to keep doing and what they need to stop doing.
"Manchester City got beaten 2-0 by SuperSport a few weeks ago and obviously I'm not saying that we're on a level them at all, but that does show how good a side SuperSport are.
"These games were an opportunity for us to work on structure and shape and give some opportunities to players to show what they can do.
"We've had a fantastic training environment and a wonderful cultural experience as a playing group and I think all the players have really enjoyed being in such a beautiful country."
On a personal note, meanwhile, Naven has thoroughly enjoyed his first visit to the Republic and feels that the trip has been invaluable in terms of bringing the playing and coaching staff closer together.
"I've had a great time," he said, "and we've really been helped by George and the rest of the team from the organisers, Sport Unplugged.
"They have been superb and their contribution has enabled us, in a small way, to make a difference to the local communities here.
"As coaches, we've had a chance to get to know some of the players that we didn't know as well before the trip.
"It's been an opportunity to see what people are like both inside and outside the training environment.
"You get to know them as people rather than just as footballers when you spend time with them at an elephant sanctuary or on a safari or whatever it might be.
"We've got a good group of people at the club working hard to try and achieve good things."
SuperSport United 2-0 Perth Glory
Wednesday 31st July 2013
Glory Line-Up – Formation 4-2-3-1
Danny Vukovic, Josh Risdon (Matthew Davies 61'), Dean Evans (Steve Pantelidis 61'), Brandon O'Neill (Jack Clisby 61'), Scott Jamieson (Riley Woodcock 61'), Steven McGarry (Cameron Edwards 61'), Jacob Burns (Blamo QuaQua 61'), Ryo Nagai (Chris Harold 61'), Ryan Edwards (Harry O'Brien 61'), Adrian Zahra (Sidnei 61'), Jamie Maclaren (Ndumba Makeche 61')
Perth Glory's 2013 South Africa tour proudly sponsored by Kaboko Mining, Live2Learn and Europcar