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Perth survive second-half Victory charge

Perth Glory have edged out ten-man Melbourne Victory 3-2 on Saturday night at nib Stadium, in front of over 10,000 thoroughly-entertained fans.

Despite relinquishing a 2-0 lead in the second half even after the dismissal of Fahid Ben Khalfallah in the 57th minute, the Glory answered back from the penalty spot to continue their climb toward the top six.

The Glory came into the game off the back of an extra two days rest since their round 16 game, a clash which they comprehensively won 6-1 away at the Newcastle Jets.

Despite the win, Kenny Lowe did make two changes to his squad, with new signing Shane Lowry a late replacement for Aryn Williams, and Andy Keogh favoured in the starting line-up over young midfielder Mitchell Oxborrow.

For the visiting Victory, a 1-0 win over Sydney FC on Australia Day meant Kevin Muscat’s men came into the game on the back of a five game unbeaten streak.

Despite back-to-back wins, though, Muscat elected to tinker with his squad, bringing Thomas Deng and Jason Geria into defence for Nick Ansell and Rashid Mahazi, thus allowing captain Leigh Broxham to move back into his natural midfield position.

The Victory started the game the better of the two teams, controlling large swathes of possesion and earning a series of corners around the 14 minute mark. As has been the story for Melbourne this season, however, the corners looked dangerous but weren’t able to find the back of the net.

Match Details Full match details »

Date/Time Sat Jan 30, 2016, 9:40 PMStadium HBF ParkAttendance 10,501Referee Kris Griffiths-Jones


Goal27′ A.KeoghGoal29′ D.CastroPenalty82′ D.Castro (Pen)Yellow Card87′ M.OxborrowYellow Card88′ N.Marinkovic

Perth started to work their way back into the game from there, and in the 27th minute, they opened the scoring in odd circumstances.

A counter attack by Victory was swept up strongly by Ante Covic, with a long clearance down the field left to bounce and consequently misjudged by Deng. Andy Keogh was able to nip in and steal the ball, spot Danny Vukovic off his line and sublimely chip the Melbourne custodian to make it 1-0 to the Glory.

Less than two minutes later, Perth would double their advantage, sending the strong home crowd into raptures.

Chris Harold and the industrious Nebojsa Marinkovic combined well outside the box, with the latter’s low shot palmed away by Vukovic. Keogh’s effort on the rebound struck the near post as the Victory defence scrambled to recover, but the ball ricocheted directly to Diego Castro for the easiest of tap ins to make it 2-0.

Melbourne began to settle but, despite dominance in the possession stats and in stark contrast to the Glory, they couldn’t seem to break down their opponent’s defence.

In fact, it was the Glory with the next best chance, and they were just a whisker away from making it 3-0.

A long range free kick in the 40th minute was sized up by both Marinkovic and Castro, with the former earning the right to take the dead ball. With everyone seemingly expecting a cross into the box, the Serbian delivered a bullet of a shot toward the far corner, only to be denied a potential “Goal of the Season” by Vukovic’s fingertip save onto the crossbar.

Then, in the 44th minute, the Victory would eventually find a way through the stout Glory defensive line.

Jason Geria had advanced down the right wing before cutting inside to find Fahid Ben Khalfallah, who played a perfectly weighted pass to the feet of Besart Berisha. The Albanian marksman received the ball and controlled it on the turn to open up the Glory defence and, with one touch, slot the ball past Covic to make it 2-1.

Keogh had a golden opportunity to restore Glory’s two goal lead just 60 seconds into the second half.

Harold got around Daniel Georgievski on the right, and found Keogh in the penalty area. The Irishman tried to place the ball into the far corner but his effort lacked power, and Vukovic claimed easily.

Victory were energised and were looking desperately for the equaliser. In the 55th minute, some pinball in the penalty area ended with Georgievski, who volleyed powerfully at goal and forced a quality save out of the veteran Covic.

Two minutes later, however, the game turned on its head.

A clash between Ben Khalfallah and Lowry ended with the Victory star lashing out at the Glory defender, drawing the ire of referee Kris Griffiths-Jones. Initially issuing a yellow card, Griffiths-Jones then consulted with his assistant referee before giving Ben Khalfallah his marching orders with a straight red card.

As expected, the Glory enjoyed more possession following the red card, but in the 69th minute, the Victory equalised against the run of play.

From a whipped-in corner, Berisha rose highest near the penalty spot to head home into the far corner for his second goal of the night, and a rare goal from a corner for the Victory.

The Glory almost scored with a header of their own a few minutes later, but Alex Grant’s thundering effort from a Marinkovic delivery came back off the crossbar, much to the frustration of the Glory crowd.

Some clever interplay in the 77th minute from Berisha and Kosta Barbarouses almost allowed the latter to score, but Covic was quick to react and came out to get a glove on Barbarouses’ effort and put it out for a corner.

A ball in from the right in the 81st minute would change the contest again, however, as Keogh was adjudged to have been pushed in the box by substitute Nick Ansell.

Victory players protested what they believed to be a ‘soft’ decision with referee Griffiths-Jones, but it mattered not as Diego Castro stepped up and converted from the spot.

Melbourne, predictably, didn’t hold anything back in the final ten minutes, throwing everything they had at the Glory as the game edged into four minutes of injury time.

Despite that, the Glory held on to their lead and the three points, with the referee bringing an enthralling contest to an end at 3-2 to the home side.

Victory now return to Melbourne to host league-leaders Western Sydney, whilst Perth will make the longest trip in the A-League as they travel to Wellington to face the Phoenix.


Ultimate A-League ‘Player of the Season’ Votes
3 Besart Berisha (Melbourne Victory)
2 Diego Castro (Perth Glory)
1 Nebojsa Marinkovic (Perth Glory)

About the author

avatarJustin is a passionate football fan, and the Editor-in-chief of Ultimate A-League.

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