GLORY SINK MARINERS TO END DECADE IN STYLE
Perth Glory ended the decade in style and moved to third on the table after goals from Diego Castro, Joel Chianese and Bruno Fornaroli gave them a comprehensive 3-0 win against Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on New Year’s Eve. The game went ahead despite the smoke from bushfire’s around the area, and the wind caused problems for both sides, but it was Tony Popovic’s side that dominated for long periods, the win their fourth successive, ended the year perfectly. The only downside to the win was a knee injury to Swiss defender Gregory Wuthrich, who was replaced by Jacob Tratt on 77 minutes.
Popovic was understandably delighted to see his side continue their fine recent run of form. "It was a very good way to finish off 2019," he said post-match. "This was a stake in the ground for ourselves; we've shown consistency by winning four consecutive games. A month ago, we were bottom of the table, so it's credit to the players that they've won these four consecutive games. We'll enjoy tonight as a group and then move on very quickly to the Adelaide game."
Glory went into this one unchanged, but it was the host who had the first chance in the opening minute. Jair Eduardo Britto da Silva played a neat one-two with former Glory midfielder Danny De Silva, whose shot beat Liam Reddy but crashed off the post. After that let off it was Glory who started to dictate and Castro found Chianese who was denied by a sharp save from Mark Birighitti. The Perth-born keeper was in the action again moments later, this time thwarting the lively Fornaroli.
The home side were struggling with the strong wind, but they did go close again mid-way through the first half. Jair was involved again, the Brazilian’s low cross looked for Samuel Silvera in the penalty area, but Ivan Franjic producing a goal saving tackle to clear the danger. Glory were producing the better football in the difficult conditions, and Chianese and Juande had shots from the edge of the box that flashed over the top. But in the shadows of half time Glory pressure was rewarded with the lead.
The Mariners failed to deal with a Neil Kilkenny corner and it fell to Castro, the skipper fired home through a crowded penalty area. It wasn’t the end of the action in the first half, and in stoppage time Silvera lost his marker and his curling shot was heading into the top corner of the net, but Reddy reacted well to push it over the top and send the visitors into the sheds with a 1-0 lead.
The Mariners now had the strong wind behind them in the second half, but it was Glory who stunned the home crowd with a second three minutes in. Castro and Fornaroli combined to send James Meredith down the left, his inch perfect cross on the run found Chianese, whose glancing header found the bottom corner, giving Birighitti no chance. The visitors went close again moments later, Fornaroli’s effort was blocked by a combination of Birighitti and Ziggy Gordon, but the Uruguayan did not have to wait much longer to bag his eighth goal in ten appearances against the Mariners.
There looked little danger when a ball was played into the penalty area, but an unfortunate slip by Gordon gifted the ball to Castro, who unselfishly squared the ball to Fornaroli to slide home into an empty net. The home side pressed late, and substitute Jordan Murray headed inches wide of the target, before Milan Duric’s cross found Eunsen Kim, whose overhead kick whistled over the top. But Glory successfully kept Alen Stajcic's side at arm's length to close out the win and head into the New Year in buoyant mood.
Kilkenny said post-match that the 2-1 defeat against the Mariners in Perth in Round 5 provided the motivation to turn the tables. “It was disappointing, the last performance against them, so we needed to put on the performance again and we did that,” the midfielder said. “We knew the wind was going to be strong. We could feel it in the first half but we’ve been working hard on the training ground all week. The new players are getting used to the team and getting their fitness and you can see us really starting to gel.”
Central Coast Mariners: GK Mark BIRIGHITTI, 2 Ian Zygmunt GORDON, 4 Eunsun KIM, 7 Milan ÐURIC, 10 Tommy OAR, 11 Daniel DESILVA, 16 Dylan FOX, 17 Samuel SILVERA (9 Jordan MURRAY 61'), 18 Gianni STENSNESS, 27 Lewis MILLER, 29 Jair BRITTO (19 Matthew SIMON 70') - Subs not used: RGK Adam PEARCE, 3 Jack CLISBY, 6 Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO, 26 Joshua NISBET, 30 Dylan RUIZ-DIAZ
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH (3 Jacob TRATT 77'), 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE (20 Jake BRIMMER 80'), 8 James MEREDITH, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI (28 Gabriel POPOVIC 89'), 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS - Referee: Ben Abraham
D'AGOSTINO SELECTED IN OLYROOS SQUAD
Perth Glory striker Nicholas D'Agostino has been included in the Olyroos squad for next month's AFC under 23 Championships in Thailand. The 21-year-old was selected in the qualifiers which took place in Cambodia, where he bagged a brace against South Korea to help the Olyroos advance through to the finals. The striker, who joined from Brisbane Roar this season, will join the rest of the 24-man squad, which also includes former Glory midfielder Jacob Italiano, for brief pre-tournament training camp in Kula Lumpur as they prepare for the Championships, where the top three teams will join Japan as Asia's representatives at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The squad for next month’s tournament will feature fourteen players representing eight Hyundai A-League clubs, with nine members of Graham Arnold’s squad set to arrive in South-East Asia from overseas-based teams. The green and gold will play an international friendly against Korea Republic in Malaysia’s capital on Friday afternoon (local time), before traveling to Bangkok on Saturday where Group A games against Iraq, Thailand, and Bahrain await.
“I am happy with the final make-up of our squad for next month’s Championship. Over the past twelve months we have considered many players both at home and abroad as we’ve looked to grow the pool of players available to us. To finalise the twenty-three players for this tournament was no simple task – we had over fifty players on our radar for this tournament, so we will arrive in Thailand with a strong squad and one that I believe will represent Australia well,” Head Coach Graham Arnold said.”
“Between arriving in camp in Kuala Lumpur and our first game of the tournament against Iraq in Bangkok we have only nine days. As a group it’s important that we are disciplined and focused from the outset as we seek to make the most of our time together. Our target in Thailand is to become the under twenty-three champions of Asia, and we know if we can achieve that further opportunities will come the team’s way in 2020. Supporters in Australia will be familiar with many of the Hyundai A-League-based players in the squad, but I am excited for the football community to learn more about some of the overseas-based boys throughout January, too. There are some fantastic young players in our squad with the potential to progress to the Socceroos in the coming years.”
Full Squad: GK Thomas GLOVER (Melbourne City FC), GK Thomas HEWARD-BELLE (Sydney FC), GK Jordan HOLMES (Ebbsfleet United FC, England), Keanu BACCUS (Western Sydney Wanderers FC), Daniel BOUMAN (SC Cambuur, Netherlands), Trent BUHAGIAR (Sydney FC), Gabriel CLEUR (U.S. Alessandria, Italy), Nicholas D’AGOSTINO (Perth Glory FC), Thomas DENG (Melbourne Victory), Zach DUNCAN (AGF Aarhus, Denmark), Ben FOLAMI (Ipswich Town FC, England), Denis GENREAU (Melbourne City FC), Alex GERSBACH (AGF Aarhus, Denmark), Jacob ITALIANO (Borussia Monchengladbach, Germany), Joshua LAWS (Fortuna Dusseldorf II, Germany), Connor METCALFE (Melbourne City FC), Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS (Western Sydney Wanderers FC), Ramy NAJJARINE (Melbourne City FC), Aiden O’NEILL (Brisbane Roar FC), Connor O’TOOLE (Brisbane Roar FC), Reno PISCOPO (Wellington Phoenix FC), Dylan RYAN (Willem II Tilburg, Netherlands), Al Hassan TOURE (Adelaide United)
Upcoming Fixtures - Australia U-23 v Korea Republic U-23 – International Friendly - Date: Friday, 3 January 2020 - Venue: Stadium Bola Sepak, Kuala Lumpur - Kick-off: 5.00pm (local); 8.00pm (AEDT) Iraq U-23 v Australia U-23 – AFC U-23 Championship Thailand 2020 - Date: Wednesday, 8 January 2020 - Venue: Thammasat Stadium, Pathum Thani, Thailand - Kick-off: 5.15pm (local); 9.15pm (AEDT) Australia U-23 v Thailand U-23 – AFC U-23 Championship Thailand 2020 - Date: Saturday, 11 January 2020 - Venue: Rajamangala Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand - Kick-off: 8.15pm (local); 12.15am +1 (AEDT) Australia U-23 v Bahrain U-23 – AFC U-23 Championship Thailand 2020 - Date: Tuesday, 14 January 2020 - Venue: Thammasat Stadium, Pathum Thani, Thailand - Kick-off: 8.15pm (local); 12.15am +1 (AEDT)
MARINERS V GLORY PREVIEW
Perth Glory will be looking to make it four wins on the bounce, when they travel to Gosford on New Year’s Eve to take on Central Coast Mariners in week 12 of the Hyundai A-League. (4pm WA Time) Last week’s big win against Newcastle Jets moved Tony Popovic's side to fourth on the table, this after being bottom three weeks ago. A win against Alen Stajcic's side on Tuesday will move them to third, and the coach said his side is focused on the trip to the Central Coast Stadium, but knows there is more improvement to come from his chargers.
"We don't feel that we're the finished article just because we've had three good results, “he said. "There's a lot of work ahead for us and that is why we are literally taking it one game at a time. This is another opportunity for us to continue our growth and show our improvement. We can see from training that the players are really focused and determined to keep this run going. If we're to do that, we know we have to perform, so if our performance is of a high level, we give ourselves a chance."
The Mariners have improved under the guidance of Stajcic and are coming off back-to-back home wins against Western United and Adelaide United. The Glory meanwhile are undefeated on the road, and Popovic said they will need to be at their best to continue that and bring the points home. "We are playing away from home which is always difficult, and we're playing a team that will be quite buoyant themselves after a good recent result at home against Adelaide," he said. "We know it will be a difficult challenge, another tough one for us. We respect our opponents - they beat us here in Perth and are doing well and getting some good results, but we've also improved and are a different team, so we go into this game confident that we can continue on."
Glory keeper Liam Reddy echoed his coach’s comments, saying they have worked hard this week on the track and are ready to make it four on the trot. "Training has been really intense over these last ten days and everyone is itching to go on Tuesday," he said. “We're playing better for longer periods during the 90 minutes, taking our chances and have been a lot better at the back in terms of keeping clean sheets. There's still a lot of improvement in us and we're never complacent and under this manager; we've always taken one game at a time."
The Mariners did beat Glory at NBF Park in Round 4 and Reddy said that performance is one they want to forget, and three points on Tuesday, would somewhat make up for it. "Central Coast have shown this year, especially against us, that if you're not on your game, they can beat you," he said. "We weren't good that day and we got punished, but we've definitely improved since then. We were poor in that showing and want to rectify that. But they enjoy playing this game on New Year's Eve, so we know they'll be up for it."
The Mariners are five points outside the top six but have two games in hand and Head Coach Stajcic said it will be tough game but two wins at home has given them much needed confidence. "We've put in a couple of good performances in a row now - Sydney and Adelaide - and they're both in the top few in the league," he said. "So, it gives us a lot of confidence to know we can compete against anyone in the league and I've been saying that for a number of weeks. But we know Perth are in great form ... and really hit their straps in the last three or four weeks so we definitely know it's going to be a tough game for us. We know we're in for a tough game but as we've shown earlier in the year, we've proved we can beat them at their home.”
Central Coast Mariners squad: GK Mark BIRIGHITTI, RGK Adam PEARCE, 2 Ian Zygmunt GORDON, 3 Jack CLISBY, 4 Eunsun KIM, 6 Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO, 7 Milan ÐURIC, 9 Jordan MURRAY, 10 Tommy OAR, 11 Daniel DE SILVA, 15 Kye ROWLES, 16 Dylan FOX, 17 Samuel SILVERA, 18 Gianni STENSNESS, 19 Matthew SIMON, 21 Ruon TONGYIK, 26 Joshua NISBET, 27 Lewis MILLER, 29 Jair BRITTO, 30 Dylan RUIZ-DIAZ - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: TONGYIK (Promoted), NISBET (Promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: Nil
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jacob TRATT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 James MEREDITH, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM, 14 Chris HAROLD, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Nicholas D’AGOSTINO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 27 JUANDE, 28 Gabriel POPOVIC, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *2-3 to be omitted* - Ins: HAROLD (promoted) - Outs: None - Unavailable: 6 Dino DJULBIC (ankle – indefinite), 13 Osama MALIK (hamstring – 1 week), 29 Kristian POPOVIC (thigh – 1 week) - Referee: Ben Abraham
ITALIANO NAMED IN NATIONAL UNDER-23 SQUAD
Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Jacob Italiano is Western Australian's sole representative in Australia's squad for next month's AFC Under-23 Championship in Thailand. The 23-player squad, which was announced today by coach Graham Arnold, will assemble in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, next week for a pre-tournament training camp.
Australia are scheduled to play a friendly against Korea Republic (3 January) in Malaysia before travelling to Thailand where they have Group A fixtures against Iran (8 January), Thailand (11 January) and Bahrain (14 January). The top three teams at the AFC Under-23 Championship will join Japan as Asia’s representatives at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The Australia Under-23 squad for the AFC Under-23 Championship is Keanu Baccus, Tass Mourdoukoutas (Western Sydney Wanderers), Daniel Bouman (SC Cambuur), Trent Buhagiar, Thomas Heward-Belle (Sydney FC), Gabriel Cleur (US Alessandria), Nicholas D’Agostino (Perth Glory), Thomas Deng (Melbourne Victory), Zach Duncan, Alex Gersbach (AGF Aarhus), Ben Folami (Ipswich Town), Denis Genreau, Thomas Glover, Connor Metcalfe, Ramy Najjarine (Melbourne City), Jordan Holmes (Ebbsfleet United), Jacob Italiano (Borussia Monchengladbach), Joshua Laws (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Aiden O’Neill, Connor O’Toole (Brisbane Roar), Reno Piscopo (Wellington Phoenix), Dylan Ryan (Willem II Tilburg) and Al Hassan Toure (Adelaide United).
GLORY HAVE LEFT WOBBLES BEHIND: POPOVIC
Perth Glory will be aiming to make it four A-League wins on the trot when they travel to play Central Coast Mariners tomorrow night. Coach Tony Popovic is confident his team's early-season wobbles won't return but says they are by no means the finished product.
Glory sat dead last on the A-League ladder after eight rounds but are now one of the form sides having scored three straight wins, netting 11 times in the process. It's in stark contrast to the start of the season when they mustered just eight goals from seven games.
Popovic said the late arrival to the club of a number of new signings contributed to that lean run. But with those players now much fitter and gelling with teammates, he's confident the poor form is well and truly a memory.
"We are constantly getting better," Popovic stated. "If we continue to do that it will be difficult to see performances like we had earlier in the year, which were a lot down to fitness and cohesion."
"Now the fitness is better and the cohesion is better, so we envisage more consistent good performances. It's all starting to come together. We did see glimpses of it throughout the year early on. It's probably why we didn't panic as a group."
Glory will start favourites when they take on Central Coast. Their recent run of sizzling form has drawn comparisons to their Premiers Plate campaign of last season. But Popovic doesn't want to see his players rest on their laurels.
"We don't feel we're the finished article just because we've had three good results," he said. "There's a lot of work ahead for us and that's why we are taking it truly one game at a time. This is another opportunity for us to continue our growth and show our improvement."
MEREDITH SETTLING IN THE WEST
Perth Glory defender James Meredith had big shoes to fill when he joined the club at the start of the season, after Jason Davidson, who starred in the Hyundai A-League Premiership win, moved to Ulsan Hyundai FC. But the former Derby County, Bradford City and Millwall defender was amongst the best in Tony Popovic’s side as they beat Newcastle Jets 6-2 on Saturday at HBF Park last week, the big win made it three straight win for the Glory and is the most goals scored by a team in an Hyundai A-League match this season. But the Melbourne-born defender has revealed he came close to missing out on the club’s title defence.
Meredith's Man of the Match performance, delivering an all-round game and winning the penalty for his side’s second goal on the half-hour. He also came close to scoring his first ever goal for the club, finishing a stunning full-field counter attack only to see his effort rubbed out on review by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). However, despite his improvement the 31-year-old told said he came close to turning down the opportunity of being part of Popovic’s team this year.
“I had been in England for fifteen years and I was seriously considering retirement,” Meredith explained. "But Tony (Popovic) called me up and he sold the club to me – what the club is about and the fact they want to win things. Having a look at the team and the facilities I thought it would be a good move to come back and see what I could do.”
Meredith didn’t make his Hyundai A-League debut until Round Five of the season, but is now adamant he made the right choice to return to his home country, and he said the guiding hand of Popovic as crucial to not only his own performances but the team’s return to winning ways. “Tony is great manager and he is all about the details and working hard and working together as a team,” he said. “I am really enjoying my football here and it’s really good to get those results.”
Meredith explained he is also thriving with the support of two of the league’s most dynamic attacking players in Diego Castro and Bruno Fornaroli. “They are both great players. Fornaroli has great technique and Diego - it’s like the ball is glued to his feet," he explained. "That’s what you get after eight or so years in La Liga and, even at his age, he is a marvel to play with and to watch. It’s exciting football that we are starting to play and I think it will continue from now.”
GRIFFITHS BLASTS MELBOURNE'S MENTALITY
Rostyn Griffiths has blasted Melbourne City’s mentality after his team lost 2-1 to Sydney FC. Melbourne found themselves with a great chance to halve their six-point deficit to the Sky Blues on Sunday when Connor Metcalfe headed the visitors in front before Rhyan Grant saw red for Sydney three minutes later.
But despite holding a numerical advantage from the 25th minute onwards, Melbourne could not make it count, with Adam Le Fondre notching a quickfire equaliser and Kosta Barbarouses curling in a late winner. It means Melbourne will enter 2020 chasing a nine-point deficit after a December run of three defeats in four matches.
Erick Mombaerts’ side were flagged as Sydney’s main challengers for silverware early in the season but much of that optimism has dissipated following defeats to Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory and the Sky Blues. The latest loss forced Griffiths, named stand-in captain for the weekend game, to question the club’s mentality.
“I think the coach touched on it last week,” Griffiths said. “A little bit of the mentality of the club at the moment (is holding us back). Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, when it comes to big games they know how to win, they know how to turn up.
“If we want to be at that level, if people want to think of us in that sense, at the moment we are this close to being a top, top side. We play nice football, we've got good tactics. We know what we're doing, but for some reason our mentality isn't where it needs to be.”
VICTORY TAKE HOME THE POINTS
Perth Glory's search for their first win of the 2019-20 Westfield W-League continues after a narrow 1-2 loss against reigning Premiers Melbourne Victory at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday evening. Glory had their chances and Victory keeper Casey Dumont saved a Crystal Thomas penalty early, before a brace either side of half time from Amy Jackson had the visitors in control. A stunning first goal of the season from Leticia McKenna on the hour put Glory back in the game and despite pressing late they couldn't find the equaliser they deserved.
Glory head coach Bobby Despotovski felt that his side deserved something from the game. "I'm disappointed that we didn't get anything out of the game, especially after the first half when we had so much possession and created the better chances," he said post-match. "We missed a penalty, hit the post, hit the crossbar and just couldn't convert. We called it on the bench that it would have to be something special to beat Eliza [Campbell] and it was. That was really a double-whammy with us having had some much possession and so many chances and not taking them and Victory having one shot and it going in. That was really disappointing for the girls, but they have to learn to deal with these situations as they arise. At this moment in time, we're not that far away. We haven't been smashed by anyone, but we're never holding a lead, we're just not converting."
It was end-to-end football from the first whistle and the visitors thought they had scored after only two minutes. Lia Privitelli's cross-shot was turned home by Rosie Sutton, but the flag as up for offside. Moments later the action turned to the other end when Katarina Jukic's shot on the turn rattled the post with Dumont well beaten. Then on 23 minutes Glory had the perfect opportunity to take the lead when Emily Menges brought down Thomas and referee Isabella Blaess pointed straight to the spot.
Thomas picked herself up to take the resulting penalty, but Dumont guessed the right way to save her spot kick. It was still end-to-end, and the crowd were on the edge of the seats. First Glory custodian Eliza Campbell produced a smart save to deny the dangerous Darian Jenkins, before a cross shot by Julia Sardo beat Dumont, but the crossbar came to the rescue of the Victory 'keeper. It looked like it would take something special to beat both keepers and it came for the Victory just after the half hour.
Jackson received the ball in the middle of the park and her 25-meter shot flew past Campbell and went in via the underside of the bar. It was a bitter blow for Glory and they had Campbell to thank again for keeping them in the game moments later, this time saving well to thwart Victory skipper Natasha Dowie. Victory ended the half well and Jackson's long-range effort flashed just wide of the target, but at half time they led 1-0.
Glory needed a good start to the second half, but it was Victory who continued where they left off in the first and on 52 minutes, they doubled their lead. Dowie's header crashed down off the woodwork and Jackson was first to react to fire home from close-range. But Glory were back in the game eight minutes later, when they halved the deficit. The lively McKenna pouncing on a loose ball on the angle and firing past Dumont via the far post. Roared on by the home supporters, Glory pressed for the equaliser but despite having all the possession they couldn't find it and it was Victory headed home with all three points.
Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins said he was proud of his teams' win. "It was a tough game for us," he said. "It was a game that we prepared to play a certain way and a lot of the things we talked about doing we did and we did really well, including just getting the ball wide as often as possible, switching play. Their strength was through the centre of midfield and we tried to avoid the area as much as we could and I thought we did it really well. I think you could tell just by the application and the desperation at times that it was a game we felt we had to win and we were determined to win so I was really proud of the effort from everyone, one the way we prepared and the way we went about the game, but two the way we stuck to it against a team that's playing quite direct and has quite a number of attacking threats."
Perth Glory: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 5 Shannon MAY (4 Ayesha NORRIE 55'), 6 Arianna ROMERO, 7 CELIA, 8 Morgan ANDREWS, 9 Crystal THOMAS, 10 Julia SARDO (2 Sarah CARROLL 55'), 11 Leticia MCKENNA, 24 Natasha RIGBY, 28 Katarina JUKIC (14 Caitlin DOEGLAS 82') - Subs not used: RGK Morgan AQUINO
Melbourne Victory: GK Casey DUMONT, 2 Rosie SUTTON (13 Polly DORAN 90+4'), 4 Emily MENGES, 6 Haley HANSON, 8 Angie BEARD, 9 Natasha DOWIE, 10 Jenna McCORMICK, 11 Darian JENKINS, 15 Amy JACKSON, 16 Annalie LONGO, 19 Lia PRIVITELLI (14 Melina AYRES 63') - Substitutes not used: RGK Teagan MICAH, 18 Grace MAHER - Referee: Isabella Blaess
BRAMWELL BRACE NOT ENOUGH FOR GLORY YOUNGSTERS
A brace from striker Ciaran Bramwell wasn’t enough as Perth Glory ended their 2019 Foxtel Y-League fixtures with a 2-4 loss against Adelaide United in the heat at Jack Smith Park on Saturday morning. The Glory youngsters were looking for their first win of the campaign but found themselves behind early with Reds Hyundai A-League midfielder Nathan Konstandopoulos on target. But Bramwell levelled the score before the break and he bagged a second four minutes into the second half. But second half goals from Taras Gomulka, Daniele Bressan and substitute Massimo Falco gave the home side the points. Glory striker Bramwell said defeat is hard to take. “It was a tough result considering we played well and created some good chances on the day,” he said. “But I’m afraid it was lapses in concentration that cost us, with two of their goals coming from set pieces and one from a mistake at the back.”
The Reds starting line-up was boosted by experienced A-League players Konstandopoulos, Ryan Kitto and Lachlan Brook, and two of them were involved on ten minutes as the home side hit the front. Konstandopoulos found Brook on the right, who played the back to the midfielder, who had continued his run and he finished clinically past Jackson Lee. The home side looked for a second, and had plenty of the ball, but Glory held firm and began to make inroads of their own, and eight minutes before half time they found the equaliser. Bramwell started the move, holding the ball up well on the half way line, before playing a neat one-two with Charlie Leech. The big striker then strode clear and finished well into the bottom corner of the net past Dakota Ochsenham to send the sides into half time all-square. Glory made the perfect start to the second half, taking the lead on 49 minutes. Joshua Rawlands made space on the right and his inch-perfect cross picked out Bramwell, who lost his marker and headed into the top corner.
Adelaide lifted and pressed for the equaliser and it duly arrived on 69 minutes. Brooks’ free kick picked out Gomulka, who side-footed past Lee to regain parity. The home side had luck on their side when they regained the lead six minutes later. Bressan was found from a corner, and he was given too much space on the edge of the box, and his shot took a deflection off a Glory defender and wrong-footed the unfortunate Lee. It was Glory’s turn to press for the equaliser and with them pushing players forward they were caught out again four minutes from time. Falco, who had only been on the pitch for three minutes, finished well into the roof of the net. Glory still pushed forward and went close to a third moments later, a ball into the box from the left found Albert Fullard, his shot beat the keeper, but Cooper Nunn got back to make a desperate goal line clearance to preserve the home sides two-goal buffer.
Adelaide United: GK Dakota OCHSENHAM, 2 Jackson WALLS, 7 Taras GOMULKA, 11 Jai KING-BYRNE (19 Massimo FALCO 83?')?, 12 Yared ABETEW, 13 Daniele BRESSAN, 14 Ryan KITTO, 15 Michael CITTADINI, 10 Chen YONGBIN 65?'), 16 Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 17 Lachlan BROOK, 22 Cooper NUNN - Subs not used: RGK Cameron COOK
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2 Mason TATAFU, 4 Alessandro CIRCATI, 5 Daniel WALSH, 6 Luke BODNAR, (13 Trent OSTLER 65?'), 7 Joshua RAWLINS (16 Riley WARLAND 73?'), 8 Jayden LEADER, 9 Ciaran BRAMWELL, (17 Albert FULLARD 73?'?), 10 Giordano COLLI, 11 Charlie LEECH, 15 Nicholas WALSH - Subs not used: RGK Josh LANGDON - Referee: Liam Miller
NEVILLE WARY OF UNDER-ESTIMATING NEWCASTLE
Scott Neville says Brisbane Roar have been dominating games this season with little reward, but this weekend will have to be wary of a downbeat Newcastle Jets side. Both Brisbane and Newcastle are languishing at the bottom of the A-League ladder, and the two clubs face each other on Saturday.
Neville expects the Jets to be fired up and eager to impress after embarrassing losses to Melbourne City and Perth Glory. "They’ve had two tough results," he said. "They’re going to be chomping at the bit to get a victory and will come out strong. We have to make sure we match that and hopefully our football can overcome them."
"We’ve been dominating games, creating a lot of chances but probably not [had] the quality in the final third and then vice versa at the back - just switching off with the one chance that the other team get, or two chances," Neville said.
"They seem to score a lot easier than we do. So we’ve been focusing on switching on at the back and in the final third, and just working hard. It’s an important time of the year but it’s also a great time. If we can go on a bit of a roll it can really catapult us up the ladder and that’s what we’re looking to do."
Neville spent three seasons with Newcastle, making 43 appearances for the club before joining Western Sydney. "I had some good times in Newcastle," he said. "It’s a great club and was a great time for me there as a youngster. It will be nice to go there and play on a familiar surface."
GRIFFITHS JOINS TREND TOWARDS VEGAN ATHLETES
Veganism is on the rise in Australia and with documentaries such as 'Game Changers' influencing athletes to try plant-based diets, the nation's sports clubs are being forced to clarify to their players what food is best. While there is evidence vegan diets can have significant health and environmental benefits, there are also factors to consider if trying it.
Rostyn Griffiths, who plays with A-League club Melbourne City, is one of many athletes who now eat a predominantly plant-based diet. "I thought well at 31 (years old), if I can decrease my inflammatory markers a bit then I would be happy," Griffiths said.
"The first thing I noticed was I lost a heap of weight from just not eating meat, so I lost about three more kilos which was quite surprising. I didn't notice too much more in terms of feeling fitter or fatigued, I just felt normal."
He did find he was recovering quicker after games and was not as sore. But when Griffiths re-tested his blood levels, his iron was very low, although he fixed that by eating more food like kidney beans and certain cereals and returning to consuming meat about once a week.
Since embarking on a mostly plant-based diet, he has been eating less food and has seen a huge drop in his cholesterol levels. "That is something I have got in my family history - it is now way below the normal levels, whereas before it was above the high levels," Griffiths said.
GLORY AND VICTORY SHARE THE SPOILS
Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory have fought out and entertaining 2-2 draw in week six of the Foxtel National Y-League at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday morning. It was the visitors who opened the scoring five minutes into the second half with Nishan Velupillay on target. But Richard Garcia’s side hit back with Charlie Leech and Ciaran Bramwell scoring in six-minute spell, but Victory’s Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio levelled.
Despite both sides pressing for the win they had to settle for a share of the spoils. Goalscorer Bramwell said they had chances to win it. “I thought it was a tough game, with both teams having good opportunities,” he said. “We did create some good opportunities in the last 20 minutes, and we could have come out with a win, but it wasn’t to be.”
It was a cagy opening to the game with both sides creating good chances. The best to the Glory came when Dane Ingham raced to the bye line and crossed into the box but Leech, who had made a darting run was inches away from turning the ball home. Glory had Young Socceroos keeper Jackson Lee to thank for keeping them in the game, producing two telling saves to keep Victory at bay.
But after the break the goals eventually arrived, and it was the visitors who opened the scoring on 50 minutes, with half time substitute Velupillay on target. But the Glory were back in the game six minutes later. A ball over the top picked out Leech, who raced onto the ball and fired home superbly from the edge of the box. Then just after the hour the Glory hit the front. Leech was the provider this time picking out substitute Bramwell, whose first time shot flew into the top corner of the net giving Victory keeper Matthew Sutton no chance. But Victory hit back and levelled, Velupillay was the provider his low cross was fired home by Lawrie-Lattanzio.
Both sides pressed for the winner, and Leech’s shot on the run hit the base of the post, before Sutton produced a finger tip save to deny Jayden Leader late on. Lee was also a busy man producing a number of smart saves to keeper Victory at bay. Glory’s next match in the Foxtel Y-League is on Saturday 28 December against Adelaide United at Jack Smith Park. Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia said it was a step in the right direction for his team, but stressed that there is still room for improvement.
"The fitness work we’ve been doing and the way we’ve pushing them is paying off because they’re running out games well," he told the Glory website. "It just needs to be from the start, because there’s still a lack of focus at the start of games. If we can start games the way we finish games, then we’ll be heading in the right direction. They’re starting to get the concepts - it’s just a matter of how long it takes them to put it into practice. We’ve been talking about the character of the group quite a bit and trying to build those leadership qualities within them. We want to get them out of their shells and to become leaders on the park with their actions and their voices."
Victory Coach Gareth Naven thought his side should have taken all three points. "We were hard at it the whole match. We've talked about this a lot with our young group about understanding how to work hard, what it looks like and they really embraced that today. It's important our youth players understand, it's a sign of performance which is important and to recognise they really embraced it today and they embraced the heat as well, lasted longer than Perth did in the conditions that they have normally here so I think that was a real major stepping point for the group and they always stayed in the match,” he told the Victory website.
"I think they'd be disappointed with the performance they put in that they didn't win the match, which is a good sign, that's progress and more often than not if you perform and what I mean like that is we press the way we press, the Melbourne Victory way is really evident. If those things are always there, more often than not you're going to be winning games so really happy with the group of players and the contribution of all 15 players today."
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2 Daniel WALSH, 4 Alessandro CIRCATI, 5 Luke BODNAR, (17 Nicholas WALSH 57’), 6 Joshua SAMSON (16 Mason TATAFU 45’), 7 Joshua RAWLINS, 8 Jayden LEADER, 9 Gabriel POPOVIC, 10 Trent OSTLER (13 Ciaran BRAMWELL 59’), 11 Charlie LEECH, 15 Dane INGHAM - Subs not used: RGK Joshua LANGDON
Melbourne Victory: GK Matthew SUTTON, 2 Zaydan BELLO, 3 Matthew BOZINOVSKI (12 Thomas LAMBIRIS 65’), 4 Aaron ANDERSON, 5 So NISHIKAWA, 6 William WILSON, 7 Lleyton BROOKS (13 Nishan VELUPILLAY 45’), 8 Jack MORTON, 9 Jack PALAZZOLO (14 Nicholas HAMAKIOTIS 89’), 10 Joshua VARGA, 11 Luis LAWRIE-LATTANZIO - Subs not used: RGK Marko BULIC - Referee: Adrien Liechti
GLORY HIT NEWCASTLE FOR SIX
Perth Glory continued their recent good form, making it three wins on the bounce, as they produced their best performance of the season to thrash Newcastle Jets 6-2 at HBF Park on Saturday afternoon. Doubles from Bruno Fornaroli and Diego Castro led the way for Tony Popovic's side while Neil Kilkenny and Joel Chianese also got on the score sheet. The Jets looked good in patches and a goal in each half from Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Steven Ugarkovic saw them push the home side just after the break, but Glory's late flurry of goals saw them win convincingly and move up to fourth on the Hyundai A-League table.
Popovic was delighted with both the performance and the result. "It was a really good day for us," he said. "Scoring six goals in front of our own fans is quite special and we continue on a good run. We keep improving and those chances we were creating earlier in the season are now starting to go in. Overall, I thought we played very well. It's a great way to finish this part of the season off before Christmas and I'm sure our fans will enjoy Christmas a lot more now.
"Now we need to recover well, enjoy our family time over Christmas and then get ready for a tough away game at Central Coast. We didn't get too down when the results weren't there at the start and we're not going to get too ahead of ourselves now because of winning a few games. Obviously, we'll enjoy this victory, but we'll very quickly move on to the next challenge."
Glory went into game with one surprise change to the side that beat Western Sydney Wanderers last week, with Chianese coming in for Chris Ikonomidis, who dropped to the bench. The home side hit the ground running and it wasn't a surprise when they opened the scoring on 15 minutes. Fornaroli was brought down on the edge of the box by former Glory defender Topor-Stanley, and Castro produced a curling free kick which found the bottom corer of the net giving Glen Moss no chance.
But the Jets hit back on 26 minutes. Dimi Petratos free-kick was headed back across by Lachlan Jackson before Angus Thurgate headed goal wards for Topor-Stanley to nod home from point-blank range. The Glory faithful were on their feet again just after the half hour, when James Meredith's surging run into the box was ended by the lunging Ben Kantarovski and referee Adam Kersey pointed to the spot. There was the usual lengthy VAR referral, but Kilkenny kept his nerve and sent Moss the wrong way from the spot to restore the lead. Glory custodian made sure his side would go into the break with the lead, producing a smart save to deny Jason Hoffman late.
Glory lost Alex Grant at the break with a nasty cut, he was replaced by Jacob Tratt, and it was a blistering start to the second half and it was Glory who made it 3-1 two minutes in. A poor clearance from the Jets only found Kilkenny, who picked out Chianese, whose rocket from the edge of the box was to powerful for Moss. But the Jets weren’t going away and they reduced the margin again four minutes later. Some neat lead up play ended with Petratos who played in Ugarkovic, who finished clinically to silence the home crowd. But the Jets defensive frailties was on show again when Glory added a fourth just before the hour.
Kilkenny sent Castro racing down the left and he found Fornaroli in the box, whose shot took a deflection off the unfortunate Kantarovski, leaving Moss totally wrong-footed as the ball crept across the line. The Uruguayan looked hungry for more and he added the fifth on 71 minutes. Chianese fed Castro on the right and he slipped the ball to Fornaroli on the edge of the box and his quick feet took him away from his marker and found the corner of the net and raced off to celebrate with the Shed. But the men in purple wanted more and they added a sixth eight minutes from time.
Second half substitute Jake Brimmer rolled the ball into the path of Castro, who eased past Kantarovski and curled the ball past a helpless Moss. The crowd of 6,585 thought Glory had a seventh when Chianese raced down the right and combined with Castro, who in turn combined with Fornaroli to send and overlapping Ivan Franjic clear, and his low cross was turned home by Meredith at the back post. It was a great team goal but after an age the referee disallowed the goal for a handball by Chianese in the lead up. But at the final whistle the Glory celebrated a third straight win and it was the first time they had scored six since February 2016 against Brisbane Roar.
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT (3 Jacob TRATT 46'), 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 James MEREDITH, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 27 JUANDE (20 Jake BRIMMER 72'), 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM, 18 Nicholas D’AGOSTINO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 28 Gabriel POPOVIC
Newcastle Jets: GK Glen MOSS, 3 Jason HOFFMAN, 5 Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6 Steven UGARKOVIC, 10 Dimi PETRATOS, 16 Matt MILLAR, 22 Lachlan JACKSON (18 Johnny KOUTROUMBIS 46'), 23 Matt RIDENTON (11 Nick FITZGERALD 60'), 28 Pat LANGLOIS, 32 Angus THURGATE, 44 Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY - Subs not used: RGK Lewis ITALIANO, 2 Bobby BURNS, 19 Kosta PETRATOS - Attendance: 6585 - Referee: Adam Kersey
JETS FLY IN TO TAKE ON THE GLORY
Perth Glory will be hoping to continue their good form when they host Newcastle Jets in week 11 of the Hyundai A-League at HBF Park on Saturday afternoon. (4.30pm) Last week’s first home victory of the season made it back-to-back wins for Tony Popovic's side and he said his side is on the up and he is hoping they continue that on Saturday. "The key is that we play well, keep improving our game and whatever hurdles come up in a match, we can overcome," he said. "We have a lot of confidence in the squad and they're getting better and better as they go along. I feel the players are becoming more confident in where they're at physically and their understanding of their roles and with that comes better understanding of each other. "I'm sure it will keep improving - we're not the finished article, we still have a lot of work to do, but we feel we are on the right track."
Saturday's visitors were well beaten at home by Melbourne City last week and Popovic knows they will head west looking to bounce back. "We certainly expect a reaction from Newcastle, they are a very dangerous team and I'm sure everyone that has played against them thus far would agree with that," he explained. "We experienced it as well when we played away at Newcastle. We felt we had a really good match against them, but you always feel that they're dangerous and that going forward, they're always a threat. I don't think that'll change this week and I'm sure they'll be very determined to put last week's result right and we have to be prepared for a team that will show a lot of desperation in this match."
Glory will again be without trio Dino Djulbic, Osama Malik and youngster Kristian Popovic, and the coach said Djulbic could a long-term injury, while Malik should be back sooner rather than later. "Dino's injury is not one that we see him coming back from in the next week or two," he said. "He's still got to do some tests and see a couple of specialists to see if it's going to be short or long-term. Hopefully by the end of this week or early next week, we'll have a clearer picture. Osama is close to re-joining the group now. He's working well and he's working hard. He's over the worst of his injury and now it's about getting his conditioning in and getting back with the group and feeling confident with his training and performance, so we're happy with his progress."
Glory defenders are finding the net this season with three of them scoring in the last two games. Tomislav Mrcela heading home in the win over City in round nine, before Alex Grant and Gregory Wuthrich did the damage against the Wanderers last week. Mrcela said they will be looking for more of the same against the Jets. “As a defender when you score a goal, you feel dangerous on every set piece after that," he said. "That's what we have now as defenders and we need to keep going with that momentum. Next game - during corners - we have a belief that we can score again." Mrcela said it’s at the other end him and his fellow defenders want to continue, after two clean sheets in a row. “That's like scoring goals for us. For Bruno scoring goals is for me a clean sheet," Mrcela said. "We have if not the best, one of the best trios up front. We know we have goals, and we will score goals when we play well. But we have to defend as a team. If we get clean sheets, we're winning games, that's for sure."
Jets coach Ernie Merrick says his team’s poor A-League showing against Melbourne City was a one-off but has flagged changes ahead for Saturday's clash. “It was a one-off, unlike all the other games we’ve played apart from the Sydney game (a 4-1 loss) - in the Sydney game I put my hand up because I felt I got the game plan wrong,” Merrick said. “But there was nothing wrong with the plan this time, it was just the performance of the players. We’ll freshen up the squad in two ways - probably change a couple of players and give someone a start and I could have chosen any players after that performance. But we’ll bring in a fresh couple of players and we always have a game plan for each team so that’ll be slightly different as well.”
Merrick knows the challenge of playing in Perth and is expecting a tough game. “Perth will be a challenge, especially over there - it’s always a tough trip,” he said. “There’s no doubt they did well against Melbourne City in their last match and won 3-0 and they beat the Wanderers, so they’ve won their last two games. But I would rather play a good team because if you’re going to prove that you’re worth being in the finals and you’ve played so badly one week, you’re best playing a tough team the following week.” The Jets will be without Nigel Boogaard (groin), with Merrick conceding the defender could be up to another four weeks away, while Wes Hoolahan and Abdiel Arroyo are also long-term injuries.
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jacob TRATT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 James MEREDITH, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM, 14 Chris HAROLD, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Nicholas D’AGOSTINO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 27 JUANDE, 28 Gabriel POPOVIC, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *2-3 to be omitted* - Ins: HAROLD (promoted) - Outs: None - Unavailable: 6 Dino DJULBIC (ankle – indefinite), 13 Osama MALIK (hamstring – 1 week), 29 Kristian POPOVIC (thigh – 1-2 weeks)
Newcastle Jets squad: GK Glen MOSS, RGK Lewis ITALIANO, 2 Bobby BURNS, 3 Jason HOFFMAN, 5 Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6 Steven UGARKOVIC, 10 Dimi PETRATOS, 11 Nick FITZGERALD, 14 Kaine SHEPPARD, 16 Matt MILLAR, 18 Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 19 Kosta PETRATOS, 22 Lachlan JACKSON, 23 Matt RIDENTON, 25 Jack SIMMONS, 28 Pat LANGLOIS, 32 Angus THURGATE, 44 Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY - *1-2 to be omitted* - Ins: Jack SIMMONS (promoted) - Outs: 4 Nigel BOOGAARD (groin – 2-4 weeks) - Unavailable: 8 Wes HOOLAHAN (ankle – indefinite), 9 Abdiel ARROYO (hamstring) - Referee: Adam Kersey
GLORY HOST VICTORY IN FOXTEL Y-LEAGUE
Perth Glory will be seeking their first win of the Foxtel Youth League season when they welcome Melbourne Victory to Dorrien Gardens on Sunday (kick-off at 10.30am, admission FREE). The youngsters will also be out for revenge after suffering a defeat at the hands of the Victory in last month's meeting at AAMI Park. Gabriel Popovic's penalty gave Glory the lead in that game before Birkan Kirdar and William Wilson hit back for the hosts, but Richard Garcia's side certainly did not deserve to leave the Victorian capital empty-handed.
Glory keeper Jackson Lee was in fine form in their last game against Brisbane Roar, but the result didn’t go their way. “For sure it wasn’t the result we were looking for at all. I felt that we were lacking desire to win and fight back at times which was disappointing,” he said. “However, we recognised that after the game and it’s definitely something that we will improve on going into this weekend.” Lee said Sunday is a vital game and they will be doing everything to get a positive result. “It’s a great opportunity for the boys. We had a good game last time we played them and we were just missing a few bits to put game to put them away,” he said. “But I think we’ve improved greatly since then and can will for sure be gunning for our first three points.
New Glory keeper Josh Langdon has lifted the tempo at training and Lee said it’s great competition, as both press for a start on Sunday. “Yes, having Josh come in has a been a great positive and gives the coach a couple of options on match day,” he said. “We push each other to be better goalkeepers and it’s good to learn from each other as well, he’s defiantly a great asset for the team.” Victory are currently second on the Conference A table having picked up nine points from their four games, while Glory could move up to fourth if they were to snare the three points. Last season's corresponding fixture, meanwhile, went the way of the WA side, Daniel Stynes and Henry Hore both finding the net in an impressive 2-0 triumph. Victory recorded a 3-1 Derby win over City in the derby at CB Smith Reserve in Round 5 with Lleyton Brooks, Joshua Varga and Brandon Lauton scored their first goals of the season in the fine win. Victory coach Gareth Naven said the competition is tight and he’s expecting the same on Sunday.
“In the Foxtel Y-League, all the matches are very close, whether we travel or don't travel. All the youth teams have intentions to practice what they're doing at home and show the style of their club so, if I didn't expect a tough game, I'd be disappointed,” he said. “It'll be a tough game against Perth and no different to when we played Adelaide and Brisbane and City. Our players will have to think about what they've been doing well over the past few weeks and repeat it. That'll be our focus, try and improve every week playing the style of the football club."
MRCELA SNIFFS GOALS AGAINST NEWCASTLE
Perth Glory will be aiming to make it three wins on the trot when they host struggling Newcastle on Saturday afternoon. And the visiting team have been warned - Glory's lanky defenders have been given a taste for goals and are hungry for more.
Glory have rocketed from last into fifth on the A-League ladder on the back of successive wins. Three of the five goals scored in those games have come from the back, namely, Tomislav Mrcela, Alex Grant and Gregory Wuthrich.
The 10th-placed Newcastle conceded four to Melbourne City last week. And now they will not only have to contend with the likes of Bruno Fornaroli, Diego Castro, and Chris Ikonomidis, but also a Glory defence eager to score more goals.
"As a defender when you score a goal, you feel dangerous on every set piece after that," Mrcela said. "That's what we have now as defenders and we need to keep going with that momentum. Next game - during corners - we have a belief that we can score again."
Not only are the defenders scoring goals for fun, but they have also kept consecutive clean sheets. It's been a welcome relief after Glory conceded at least a goal per game during the opening eight rounds.
As much as Glory's defenders have enjoyed scoring goals, it's the clean sheets that they have truly treasured. "That's like scoring goals for us. For Bruno scoring goals is for me a clean sheet," Mrcela said.
"We have if not the best, one of the best trios up front. So we know we have goals, and we will score goals when we play well. "But we have to defend as a team. If we get clean sheets, we're winning games, that's for sure."
GLORY SET TO RESIST URGE TO SPLASH IN TRANSFER WINDOW
Perth Glory are not planning big raids on the player market during the January transfer window to bolster their squad. The club say they are comfortable with their current group and no disgruntled players have made noises about wanting to move.
Glory deliberately kept one spot open in their allowed 23-man squad to give breathing space for injury cover replacement or if they identify an area that needs strengthening. They may now need to look at the back line where Dino Djulbic (ankle) and Osama Malik (hamstring) are under a injury clouds.
“We’re pretty comfortable with what we’ve got. I think everybody is really happy,” said football director Jacob Burns. “No specific player has come and said he wants away and we are not actively looking at moving a player on.”
“There’s always a lot of talk around this time of year. It’s fair game at the moment. There have been approaches about our players because of our success last season. Likewise we are always active in making sure we’ve got enough cover and depth.”
“We’ve got one eye on our current roster, one eye on next season and if something happens that can boost you going into January onwards you have a good look at that. That is simply good practice but of course things can change, unforeseen long term injuries.”
“That’s the nature of football so you’ve got to be able think on your feet and see what’s out there. We always tend to have that spot up our sleeve and it’s important we’re across who is available and then make an informed decision.”
Burns said heading into new territory with the Asian Champions League - where Glory will meet Shanghai Shenhua (China), Ulsan Hyundai (Korea Republic) and a third team yet to be determined - it was important to keep the current squad together and ensure fringe players could slot in seamlessly.
“It’s not about who’s starting regularly, it’s about having all of them available to deal with the demands of the game,” Burns said. “We are aware we are going to have to use every single member of our squad and we are getting guys up to speed, getting towards their peak fitness.”
GALLANT GLORY EDGED OUT BY LEAGUE LEADERS
Perth Glory produced a fantastic performance against Westfield W-League leaders Melbourne City, but a Rebekah Stott second-half goal consigned them to a 1-0 defeat in Thursday's game at ABD Stadium. Despite the result Bobby Despotovski side should take plenty of plenty of positives from a bright and gutsy performance against a City side packed with Matildas and who have now won five out of six this season. They were solid at the back while Morgan Andrews again caught the eye in midfield and Crystal Thomas was a great outlet up front.
Despotovski was proud of his players post-match and he said they will take positives from the game. "I could not be prouder of the team and the way they played today against one of the strongest sides that this competition has ever seen," he said. "To keep them at bay and have a few half-opportunities to score, how they conducted themselves and how disciplined the performance was - I'm the proudest man on earth. Everybody stepped up to give their all and the girls themselves took charge.
"It was a good free-kick that undid us, but we are coming back to Perth now with a plan in place and lot of belief in one another. I spoke to Jess Fishlock (former City captain) after the game and she was hugely impressed with our performance for the majority of the game, especially with it being such a young squad. So that was very positive to hear from one of the best players in the world."
Glory began well defending well and were quick to counter and Thomas fired wide early. City hit back and Kyah Simon headed an Ellie Carpenter cross wide, before Matildas midfielder Emily van Egmond fired a low free-kick narrowly wide. But Glory were giving as good as they got and Katarina Jukic and Andrews both had strikes wide of the target.
At the break Glory were well in the contest, and to be fair hadn’t been really tested, but that changed early in second half. Stott got down the flank and crossed to Simon, whose flick was saved by Glory 'keeper Eliza Campbell. Again, Glory hit back and it was Thomas again who found space, but her shot was deflected and Matildas ‘keeper saved low. Jukic was a contest menace and showed quick feet out wide, before cutting into the box and cut the ball back to Leticia McKenna whose goalbound strike was blocked by Emma Checker.
But just after the hour the hosts hit the front. Steph Catley's curling free-kick crashed against the underside of the bar, Simon nodded the loose ball goalward and Stott forced it over the line from close-range. City weren’t finished and went in search of a second and Carpenter should have scored, but with the goal her mercy she side-footed wide of the target. Moments later Campbell produced a smart save to deny Claire Emslie's well-struck half-volley. The home side were now bossing the game but Campbell was determined not to beaten producing a number of fine saves, but at the whistle it was the leaders taking all three points.
Melbourne City FC: GK Lydia WILLIAMS, 2 Yukari KINGA, 6 Aivi LUIK, 7 Steph CATLEY (19 Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC 90+2'), 9 Claire EMSLIE, 10 Emily VAN EGMOND, 13 Rebekah STOTT, 15 Emma CHECKER, 17 Kyah SIMON, 20 Milica MIJATOVIC (3 Lauren BARNES 46') 21 Ellie CARPENTER - Subs not used: RGK Melissa BARBIERI, 4 Chelsea BLISSETT,
Perth Glory: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 5 Shannon MAY, 6 Arianna ROMERO, 7 CELIA, 8 Morgan ANDREWS, 9 Crystal THOMAS, 10 Julia SARDO (2 Sarah CARROLL 68'), 11 Leticia MCKENNA (4 Ayesha NORRIE 80'), 24 Natasha RIGBY, 28 Katarina JUKIC (14 Caitlin DOEGLAS 77') - Subs not used: RGK Morgan AQUINO - Referee: Kelly Jones
WELLENS PROVIDES AN INJURY UPDATE ON LYDEN
An additional five days of recovery should be enough to bring Jordan Lyden close to full fitness ahead of Cambridge United’s League Two visit on Boxing Day. The West Australian midfielder sat out Swindon Town’s trip to Forest Green at the weekend, ten days after he tweaked his quadricep in a training incident.
Lyden initially had his injury status masked by Swindon boss Richie Wellens, a move that no doubt complimented the 23-year old’s contribution to his team’s current free-flowing style of football. And he was touch and go to feature against Forest Green, with Wellens making the call to rest on Friday morning.
“Jordan hasn’t recovered from his quadricep knock, though I’m hopeful he will be okay for Cambridge on Boxing Day,” said Wellens, who is dealing with a number of injury concerns heading into a busy Christmas/New Year period. “The extra four or five days should be enough to get him fit.”
With four games scheduled in 10 days, Wellens says the coming fortnight will be a good test of his teams character. “Christmas will be tough, everyone is going to have to contribute,” said Wellens. “We’ll find out in the next two weeks how good our squad is. And we’ll find out about our strength in depth.”
CANNING APPOINTS FINLAYSON AS SENIOR COACH
Canning City regained their State League status for 2020, even if they had to wait to do so. They have continued preparations for the season and have appointed former Armadale and Inglewood United under 20's coach Chris Finlayson as Head Coach for the season. Finlayson said to get the opportunity to become a senior coach is a challenge but one he is looking forward too. "I'm extremely excited to take up my first senior head coaching role and can't wait to get started," he explained. "We are all aware it's going to be a challenging season, but one I'm confident we can make a successful one.
“We have resigned a lot of last season’s squad and have added some very good players with senior NPL experience, but the club have a number of talented players coming through, which will add to the balance for the future." Canning City President Jeff Rowlands said Finlayson brings a wealth of experience to the role and he has been impressed in what he’s seen so far. “We are pleased with the appointment of Chris as the new head coach at Canning City FC, along with his assistant Dave, the pair have hit the ground running,” he said. “We look forward to a successful season with his energy, motivation and enthusiasm driving the team forward in 2020.”
Canning are a proud club with a great junior set-up, and were playing Premier League football only ten years ago, and Finlayson is determined to build them back to the force they were. "All clubs are re-building for the future, with clubs merging, new clubs being promoted and I believe we are in the mix," he said. "It's going to be very interesting and exciting season but we are no different to any club. We will work hard and at first set small targets and tick them off week by week, but we can't lose focus on the bigger picture rather than the short-term goals, and that’s getting the club back to where we were ten years ago."
Finlayson has brought in a familiar face as his assistant and he said they work well together. "Dave Scragg joins me at the club and I know Dave well and we have a great understanding working together previously at Inglewood," he said. 'We are both motivated, and along with a club committee who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to rebuild what is a great club. We have a big job ahead of us, but I have no doubt we will be seeing the rise of Canning City in the future."
MUM'S THE WORD FOR WARDLE
Murdoch University Melville new Head Coach Matt Wardle is looking forward to the new challenge at the State League Division Two side, and he said after meeting the club’s officials he was positive of his role and he can't wait to get the season started. 'I’m delighted to be handed the reins at MUMFC," he said. "After meeting with the club several times and discussing expectations for 2020 I knew it was the right place for me to be. The club as whole is committed to achieving one goal and that’s promotion and I’m excited to be a part of it."
Wardle, who played in the Premier League with Inglewood United for a number of years, before heading to Ashfield, where he also got his first coaching role, said the decision to move on was a difficult one, but one he needed. "After being at Ashfield for such a long time it was sad to leave, but it was the right time to move on and find a new challenge," he explained. "This new challenge ahead at MUMFC is a massive one but something I can’t wait to get started with, hopefully settle in quickly and start to lay the foundations for the 2020 season ahead."
MUMFC went close to promotion last season, but Gavin Brown's side were beaten in the play-off final against Swan United. Wardle said Brown did a fantastic job and he's hoping to continue on with his good work. "Gavin did an exceptional job at Murdoch last year," he said. "Not only getting the club back on the radar but doing it playing attractive football with some exciting kids coming through. The goal for 2020 is one thing and that’s promotion. I’ll be doing all I can to go one better from this year and get the club to a level where I believe they deserve to be. I’m excited to get to work, I’m excited for the season ahead and I can’t wait to start our preparation for the coming season. Big things to come from Murdoch in 2020."
GLORY GO BACK-TO-BACK
Perth Glory have won back-to-back games for the first time this Hyundai A-League season after a 2-0 victory against Western Sydney Wanderers in Round Ten at HBF Park on a warm Saturday evening. A first half strike from Swiss defender Gregory Wuthrich, his first goal for the club, gave Glory the lead at the break, before Alex Grant topped a man of the match performance by bagging the second, to secure their first home win of the season and move them to fifth on the table. "It was nice to send the fans home happy given that they were tough conditions for them to come out in today," Glory Head Coach Tony Popovic said post-match. "We're delighted for our members and fans. It's another clean sheet, we defended in general play very well as a unit and I think that's improving. We looked solid and overall it was a good home result."
Popovic went into the game unchanged from the side that beat Melbourne City last week, while the Wanderers suffered a massive blow before kick off with goalkeeper Daniel Lopar, forced to withdraw because of illness and was replaced in the starting line-up by teenager Nick Suman. It was 30 degrees at kick-off and it seemed to affect the crowd with only 6177 in the ground, and it was the visitors who opened brightly, and they had the first chance in the opening minute. Pirmin Schwegler played a ball into the path of Kwame Yeboah, but Glory keeper Liam Reddy was out quickly to block the strikers shot, but the ball fell to the feet of Mitchell Duke, but the Wanderers' skippers curling shot that hit the crossbar.
Glory hit back and Chris Ikonomidis met Ivan Franjic's cross, but his diving header was saved by Suman, before Wanderers custodian got down well to block Diego Castro's shot from the shot from the angle. But on 18 minutes it was the home side who opened the scoring. Neil Kilkenny's corner was flicked on by Tomislav Mrcela to Bruno Fornaroli who hooked the ball back to the near post where Ikonomidis headed it against the bar, but Wuthrich was quickest to react, stooped to nod home the rebound and celebrated his first goal for the club with his team mates. Glory went close to a second before the break, Mrcela lost his marker from a Kilkenny delivery, but his header flashed over the top.
It was more of the same after the break, as Glory pressed for a second. First up James Meredith powerful shot was bravely blocked by the sliding Daniel Georgievski, and moments later the Glory defender turned provider, whipping in an inviting cross which Ikonomidis headed back across the face of goal and just wide of Suman's left post. Glory were bossing the game and it looked only a matter of time before they doubled their advantage and it duly arrived on 67 minutes. Second half substitute Jake Brimmer's free-kick wasn't dealt with by the Wanderers defence, the ball falling at the feet of Grant who controlled neatly with his first touch and finished clinically into the bottom corner with his second.
The visitors went in search of a goal to get them back into the game, but Reddy produced a smart save to block a close-range effort from substitute Alex Meier, but the hosts were rarely troubled after that as they closed out the game to make it back-to-back wins and back-to-back clean sheets. “We did many things right. Our goalkeeper, I can’t remember that he had a save,” Wanderers coach Markus Babbel said post-match. "It was a big disappointment. We had so much ball possession. In the last third, we had problems to find the right solution. But still, a couple of times, we were dangerous but still we could not score. This is what we said before. They are strong in set pieces and, two mistakes, and you lose the game. It’s hard to accept but the boys tried everything.”
In other games this week goals from Connor Pain and Besart Berisha, against his former club, gave Western United a 2-0 win against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium. The win moved United up to third on the table in their debut season. Melbourne Victory’s disappointing season continued, held to a 0-0 draw by Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park. Victory ended the game with ten men after Kristijan Dobras was sent off on the hour. Sydney FC maintained their lead at the top of the table after a narrow 1-0 win against Central Coast Mariners at Jubilee Stadium. The only goal of the game came after five minutes with Kiwi striker Kosta Barbarouses on target. In the final game on Sunday Melbourne City bounced back from the loss to Glory last week with a comprehensive 4-0 win against Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium. Adrián Luna grabbed a first half brace, before Marcelo Cabrera and Jamie Maclaren wrapped up the scoring.
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 8 James MEREDITH (3 Jacob TRATT 90+2'), 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS (7 Joel CHIANESE 76'), 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY (20 Jake BRIMMER 55') - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM, 18 Nicholas D'AGOSTINO, 28 Gabriel POPOVIC
Western Sydney Wanderers: GK Nicholas SUMAN, 5 Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6 Matthew JURMAN, 7 Mitchell DUKE, 9 Nicolai MULLER, 11 Bruce KAMAU (14 Alex MEIER 46'), 17 Keanu BACCUS, 19 Pirmin SCHWEGLER (22 Nicholas SULLIVAN 79'), 21 Tarek ELRICH, 27 Kwame YEBOAH, 34 Patrick ZIEGLER - Subs not used: RGK Daniel LOPAR, 4 Dylan McGOWAN, 13 Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS, 29 Daniel WILMERING, 35 Mohamed ADAM - Attendance: 6177 - Referee: Alex King
CARROLL'S IN THE NIGHT FOR GLORY
A last-minute header from defender Kim Carroll has secured Perth Glory a deserved share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Canberra United in Friday evenings Round Five Westfield W-League clash at Dorrien Gardens. It was Carroll's first ever goal for the club and it cancelled out Simone Charley's early opener for the visitors. Both sides also hit the woodwork, while Glory custodian Eliza Campbell made several fine saves to keep the hosts in the game. Head Coach Bobby Despotovski thought they were good value for what was their first point of the season. "I told the girls as half-time to keep playing in the second half the way we had been in the first," he said. "It was a case of them believing in the process and what we're trying to achieve and continuing to give 100%.
"It was a well-deserved point and it was good for the girls to see the result of their hard work. Kim (Carroll) has a completely different mentality this season. She leads from the back and is much more aggressive than I've ever seen her. She's a phenomenal player and if she continues to perform like she is at the moment, she can go on playing for many more years."
Glory opened brightly and dominated in terms of both possession and territory and yet still found themselves behind on 14 minutes. Kaleigh Kurtz's long ball over the top fell perfectly for Charley, and the American striker cut in from the right and finished clinically past Campbell into the far corner. Crystal Thomas, who was making her starting debut, went closer to the equaliser moments later, racing past three defenders only to fire her shot wide of the target. Glory were in again when Leticia McKenna found room but her shot was straight at Sham Khamis in the United goal.
Canberra were dangerous going forward and Camila's low strike from the edge of the box was pushed around the post by the alert Campbell at full stretch. Both sides had late chances, American duo Thomas and Morgan Andrews went close for the home side, with a long-range strike and a glancing header respectively, before Campbell produced another smart save to Elise Thorsnes, but at the break the visitors held the lead.
The visitors pressed early in the second half with Thorsnes firing wide, while Khamis shot crashed off the woodwork. It was a great game with both sides going for it and on the hour, it was the home sides turn to hit the woodwork. The lively Katarina Jukic latched on to Andrews' pass, before unleashing a powerful drive which cannoned against the crossbar. Glory were throwing players forward looking for the equaliser and they almost got caught out at the back, but Campbell produced a stunning save to thwart Thorsnes.
Time was running out and it looked like Glory would suffer a fourth consecutive defeat, but in the final minute Glory’s pressure paid off as they found the equaliser. McKenna’s corner from the right went into the mixer and Carroll rose highest to head home, via the crossbar to secure her first Westfield W-League goal since the 2013/14 season and give Glory a share of the spoils. It was a tough pill to swallow for United head coach Heather Garriock, but she said the squad needs to remain positive. "On our toughest and longest road trip of the season, we played really well for patches of the match and did enough to take away all three points," Garriock said post-match. "But we failed to kill off the game and that came back to bite us. It is a disappointing result because it was our game to win."
In other games this week Melbourne City have won the Melbourne Derby, beating Victory 1-0 at ABD Stadium on Thursday evening. Emily van Egmond missed a first half penalty, but a goal on 89 minutes from Yukari Kinga gave City the points and keep them top of the table. On Saturday Brisbane Roar beat Adelaide United 3-2 at Lions FC Stadium. The hosts raced to a two-goal lead early, with goals from Indiah-Paige Riley on four minutes, before Hayley Raso doubled their advantage eight minutes later. ?But May Fowler pulled one back on the half hour before Mallory Weber levelled things up on 76 minutes. But Roar won it seven minutes from time with Raso bagging her second. ?In the final game Sydney FC kept tabs on the leaders after a brace from Remy Siemsen gave them at 2-0 win against Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Perth Glory: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 2 Sarah CARROLL (19 Hana LOWRY 64'), 3 Kim CARROLL, 5 Shannon MAY, 6 Arianna ROMERO, 7 CELIA, 8 Morgan ANDREWS, 9 Crystal THOMAS, 11 Leticia MCKENNA, 24 Natasha RIGBY, 28 Katarina JUKIC (14 Caitlin DOEGLAS 80') - Subs not used: RGK Morgan AQUINO, 4 Ayesha NORRIE)
Canberra United: GK Shamiran KHAMIS, 3 Kaleigh KURTZ, 4 Jessie RASSCHAERT (17 Patricia CHARALAMBOUS 78'), 5 Nikola ORGILL, 7 Simone CHARLEY, 8 Olivia PRICE, 10 Camila PEREIRA, 11 Elise THORSNES, 12 Hayley TAYLOR-YOUNG (2 Laura HUGHES 81'), 16 Karly ROESTBAKKEN, 19 Leena KHAMIS (6 Emma STANBURY 86') - Subs not used: RGK Annalee GROVE - Referee: Georgia Ghirardello
ECU JOONDALUP SC CHARITY MATCH
ECU Joondalup Soccer Club are hosting a charity football match this Saturday in support of former player Charlie Comyn-Platt and his partner Isa, who lost their young son Sami to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) earlier this year. The fund-raising will include a raffle and an auction including signed Manchester United shirt and Perth Glory and Sydney FC shirts donated by former ECU players Alex Grant and Brandon O’Neill respectively, plus a signed West Coast Eagles shirt donated by Matt Priddis. - Kick off is 10am at Joondalup Arena. – For more information contact Kirsty Tough on - email@example.com
During the hard period, Charlie and Isa spent time at a very special place called Reuben’s Retreat. The Retreat’s primary goal is to create a sanctuary in Glossop, Derbyshire that will be a home-from-home for families coping with the serious illness of a child and parents that have lost their child, providing support, respite breaks, counselling and the chance to build happy memories. We would love for the ECU and wider community to get behind our event either by donating online, buying raffle tickets for some amazing prizes and coming to watch the FAMOUS ECU ALL STARS take on the current ECU FIRST TEAM. We will be holding a sausage sizzle, cake stall, raffling and auctioning off some superb prizes. After the game, we would love for everyone to join us back at the ECU Clubhouse to celebrate the life of little Super Sami and the joy he brought to Charlie and Isa. We will be having a small buffet where we ask that a gold coin donation is given.
GLORY HOPE TO END BARREN SPELL AT HOME
Perth Glory will go in search of their first home win of the Hyundai A-League season when they host Western Sydney Wanderers at HBF Park on Saturday evening. (6.45pm). After last week’s morale boosting win against Melbourne City, it's vital Tony Popovic's side continue their winning ways to keep in touch with the leaders, and they come up against a Wanderers side who have lost their last four games, including last week’s 1-2 defeat against Wellington. Home form has been a concern for Glory, having lost their last two matches in a row at HBF Park. The last time they lost more in a row was a three-game stretch from January to February in 2011.
Popovic said last week was an important win but he feels they have plenty more potential to fulfil. "It's always good to get the points,” he said. “The belief doesn't waver because of the performance, but it's the results we need and I'm delighted for the players that they could back up a good performance the previous week against Victory and this time, against a team in really good form at their own ground, put in an even better performance. I'm sure the lads feel better after the win and the challenge now is to do it on a consistent basis and we have an opportunity to do that this week at home. We want to be better than last week; that's the focus this week."
Popovic, who coached the Wanderers between 2012 -2017, believes that the red-and-blacks remain a dangerous opponent. "We know that they haven't had the results recently, but when you look at their performance against Wellington last week, in the first half they were very good,” he said. “They are a very dynamic team in the front third and we'll have to be at the top of our game. We understand that it'll be difficult, but we are also in good form and confident not only after last week's result, but also after the last couple of performances. We've been away five times in the first eight games, so it'll be nice now to have a couple of games at home in front of our own fans."
In team news for game Dino Djulbic's ankle injury is set to rule him out, while fellow-defender Osama Malik is yet to overcome his hamstring problem and Kristian Popovic (thigh) will again be unavailable. Also, in the squad are Chris Harold, who played 90 minutes for the youth side last week and Brandon Wilson. Wanderers coach Markus Babbel will be looking to turn their form around but knows it will be a tough trip west. "Of course, we are under pressure. If you don't get results, you're under pressure, it is normal," Babbel said. "It's up to us to change it. That's what I say, hard work, stay disciplined and stay in the structure and belief, that's the most important thing.
“We have a good side and we have a talented side so now it's just about belief that we can get a result on the weekend. This is the most important thing, belief. We have a good side, we have a talented side, now it is just about belief that we can get a result on the weekend. The team is on the right way, we just need some match luck and hard work and I am really sure the luck comes back. They [Glory] are an experienced team with individual quality players and it was just a time frame [before they hit form] … then last week happened against Melbourne City.”
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jacob TRATT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 James MEREDITH, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 27 JUANDE, 28 Gabriel POPOVIC, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *1-3 to be omitted* - Ins: HAROLD (promoted), WILSON (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 6 Dino Djulbic (ankle – 2-3 weeks), 13 Osama MALIK (hamstring – 1 week), 29 Kristian POPOVIC (thigh – 1-2 weeks)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: GK Daniel LOPAR, RGK Nicholas SUMAN, 4 Dylan MCGOWAN, 5 Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 7 Mitchell DUKE, 9 Nicolai MULLER, 11 Bruce KAMAU, 13 Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS, 14 Alex MEIER, 16 Mathieu CORDER, 17 Keanu BACCUS, 19 Pirmin SCHWEGLER, 21 Tarek ELRICH, 22 Nicholas SULLIVAN, 27 Kwame YEBOAH, 29 Daniel WILMERING, 33 Tate RUSSELL, 34 Patrick ZIEGLER, 35 Mohamed ADAM - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: CORDIER (promoted), RUSSELL (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 8 Jordan O’DOHERTY (knee), 10 Radoslaw MAJEWSKI (knee), 20 Vedran JANJETOVIC (shoulder) - Referee: Alex King
GLORY’S A-LEAGUE FORM SHOWS TONY POPOVIC’S PATIENCE PAYS OFF
Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic says belief and patience is finally paying off as his side looks to charge into the A-League top six. Glory produced their best performance of the season to date in trouncing of Melbourne City last weekend, and a repeat does will be needed tomorrow night against Western Sydney Wanderers at Perth Oval.
Popovic has stressed that it would take time for new arrivals, chiefly defenders Gregory Wuthrich and James Meredith, to reach fitness and form. The return of Tomislav Mrcela from a hamstring tear that kept him out for the first seven games, joining stalwart Alex Grant, has further strengthened the back line.
“When players come to a new country, in the heat, hard grounds and they lack fitness, lack of pre-season training, it takes time,” said Popovic, whose team kept their first clean sheet of the campaign in Melbourne last weekend. “We are now starting to see them turn the corner. They look more stable and solid.”
“Tomi, we envisage him getting better and better. He’s got a lot of growth still to come. That’s his first game back from injury. He hasn’t played since pre-season,” Popovic said. “Alex and Greg looked strong and you can see that now they have several games under their belt their fitness is a lot better. James Meredith has improved. His fitness is a lot better.”
Popovic said the side had not been defending badly, but admitted it allowed the opposition to score from “simple opportunities”. “We’ve been punished for it but we eliminated that (against Melbourne) and made it difficult for them to get a goal-scoring opportunity,” he said. “Belief doesn’t waiver because of the performances.”
Wanderers, who have lost their past four games, sit one point above Glory in sixth place and face a six-year, eight-game winless hoodoo in Perth. FFA will monitor the heat but say the forecast for kick-off at 6.45pm is below the threshold of 28C required to postpone or delay the game.
DESPOTOVSKI – ‘WE NEED TO CUT OUT THE MISTAKES’
Perth Glory are at home again this weekend in the Westfield W-League when they host Canberra United at Dorrien Gardens on Friday evening (7.15pm) Bobby Despotovski's side were edged out by Newcastle Jets last weekend, but it was a better performance and the coach will be hoping they can find that first win of the season. They played Canberra in the opening game of the season in the nation’s capital, going down 2-0, but the coach said they are improving each week, but he is aware they need to cut out mistakes that has cost them so far this season.
“The focus in training this week has been to eliminate the mistakes that we made in the last game," he said. “We’ve been working very hard on transition when we lose the ball knowing that Canberra have three or four very good forward players. We have to be very aware of how quickly they can transition from defending to going forward. If we can eliminate those mistakes, I'm confident that we can get a positive result on Friday."
Last weekend's home defeat although disappointing a stunning debut goal from Celia and a strong midfield showing from Morgan Andrews was pleasing and Despotovski feels that the Spaniard and the American, along with fellow-imports Crystal Thomas and Ari Romero, will have a key role to play in helping Glory improve on Friday evening. "We played against Canberra in Round 1 without any of our internationals and lost that game 2-0," he said.
"But even in that game, after starting very slowly, we settled into it after 25 minutes and played well at times. With the four internationals now fully fit to play, I'm looking for a much-improved performance on that first game against Canberra. Celia scored a good goal last week and Morgan was involved with everything. All the players are still upbeat and there isn't anything not to be upbeat about. Yes, results have not gone our way, but that's not to say that we won't go and give everything to win on Friday."
Canberra Striker Hayley Taylor-Young says it feels as if they're preparing to play a completely different Perth outfit to the one, they defeated just weeks ago. "They didn't have all their strong players in our first game so I think this weekend they've built it up and will have their best squad. It'll be a different game this time," Taylor-Young said. "I think we just have to focus on this upcoming game rather than the last. They have a different team so we have to focus on that and not the one we played in the first round. They'll try play something different to try and get through us so we need to prepare for that. We have a video session [on Monday] so we'll go through their game, and ours, to see what we can put together to try and win.
“It's very important for us to get the three points. United sit fourth on the W-League ladder heading into their round five clash, having won two and lost just as many matches.” Boasting an arsenal of Elise Thorsnes, Simone Charley and Ashlie Crofts, Heather Garriock's outfit have impressed going forward so far in 2019/20, scoring seven goals in their four matches. That's one short of the competition's highest scorers, Champions Sydney FC, but the Green Machine sit in fourth place, four points behind league leaders Western Sydney Wanderers after two wins and two defeats.
TAGGART PLAYS DOWN JAPAN LINKS
K-League Golden Boot winner Adam Taggart has shrugged aside reported interest from two J.League clubs, insisting his job at Suwon Bluewings is far from finished. Contracted with Suwon until 2021, the Socceroos marksman has become a hot property in Asia after his 20-goal debut season haul for Korea Republic’s FA Cup winners.
Taggart’s exploits since signing from Brisbane Roar in January have won him a national team recall and covetous glances from across the region - most notably the J1 League. But the 26-year-old - who has scored 29 goals in 52 games for Brisbane, Suwon and the Socceroos this calendar year - isn’t getting too starry-eyed.
“I’m just focusing on the future with Suwon and going on to do well with them in ACL next season and finishing higher up the league than we managed this year,” Taggart said. “Of course in football anything can happen, and things can change, but like I said it’s all about Suwon and what I hope to achieve with them at the moment.”
“You always want to better yourself and challenge yourself as a player, and that’s what I’ve been doing since joining Suwon. That’s what's motivating me and I’m not thinking about anything else other than taking a bit of a break and recharging the batteries now for next season.”
“For me it’s been a year that’s exceeded a lot of expectations and I couldn’t be happier at my club - there’s hopefully plenty more success to come. I think we can keep getting better - winning the FA Cup was great and hopefully that’s just the start for us as a team.”
There will only be a brief respite for Taggart, with the AFC Champions League group stage looming early next year and the Copa America in June, where Australia face Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia and Paraguay. “It’s maybe a last chance to face a genius like Lionel Messi (and) there’s also Luis Suarez ... these are players you dream about testing yourselves against,” Taggart said.
“The tournament will only improve us as a nation and give us even more motivation to stay at the top of our games as the year unfolds with our clubs. How can you not benefit from being at an event with so much prestige and history - and so many great players? We know we have the quality and the belief to do well and not be overawed by these types of situations and opponents.”
“We’ve qualified for the last four World Cups and have faced plenty of top flight opposition in the past, so this will be more of the same. People are obviously going to talk about Argentina and Uruguay for obvious reasons but Chile are a great football nation and Bolivia and Paraguay will also be very tough because there are no weak nations in South America.”
K-League Golden Boot winner Adam Taggart
GLORY DRAWN IN GROUP F IN AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE’
Perth Glory will face Chinese giants Shanghai Shenhua and Korean powerhouse Ulsan Hyundai in the club’s maiden Asian Champions League campaign. The Asian Champions League draw was made today in Kuala Lumpur with Glory allocated a place in Group F, which will be filled by the winner of Play-Off 3 between clubs from Japan, Thailand, Philippines and Myanmar.
"It's an exciting draw for the club," Glory cheif executive Tony Pignata said. "It's fantastic to be a part of our first ever Asian Champions League campaign. We're all looking forward to the first home game against Shanghai and really hope that the people of Perth get on board. With the trips to China, Korea and possibly Japan to come, it's great to be a part of the world game in this way."
Glory's opening game will take place on Tuesday 11 February when Shanghai Shenhua venture to Perth Oval. They will face each of the three other Group F teams on a home and away basis with the top two ranked teams progressing to the round of sixteen. The 2020 Asian Champions League final will be played next November.
WHY EVERY GAME IS CRUNCH-TIME FOR NEVILLE AND BRISBANE
Brisbane Roar defender Scott Neville says his side are eyeing off a push into the top four as the tightest A-League campaign he’s ever played in continues to unfold. Brisbane’s weekend loss to league leaders Sydney FC saw them tumble from sixth to ninth on the ladder.
Despite this, Brisbane remain only two points outside the top six. It’s a precarious situation which Neville says is keeping his team on their toes as they look to climb back into the upper half of the ladder with a string of positive performances.
“I’ve been in the A-League for 12 years now and I’d say this is the tightest start to a season I’ve ever seen,” Neville told a-league.com.au. “You need to win two, three or four games in a row to really cement yourself in that top four, and on the flip side if you lose a game or two you’re back down there.”
“You’re going to go up and down through that top six, but we know if we continue to play well and pick up points that we’re going to get into that top four. That’s what we’re aiming for, to stay in there, and we’re sure if we continue to perform and improve as a team we’ll be there come the end of the season.”
KERR WINS GUARDIAN’S FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Westfield Matildas captain Sam Kerr has been voted the best female footballer in the world after topping the UK’s Guardian's top 100 list for 2019. Kerr finished second in 2018, but a brilliant year for club and country has seen her rise to the top, finishing ahead of Lucy Bronze (England) and Megan Rapinoe (USA). The Matildas star scored a stunning 40 goals in 41 games in 2019, finishing as the Golden Boot winner for both the Westfield W-League and the National Women's Soccer League, including five goals at the FIFA Women's World Cup in France.
Her form earned her a move to English club Chelsea, signing for the Women's Super League club in November on a two-and-a-half-year deal. Kerr told the Guardian: "It’s quite amazing to be recognised in this way, amongst so many great female footballers and it’s a great honour. I’m really thrilled."
Matilda’s head coach said the award is well-deserved. "For me it is no surprise that Sam has received this accolade from the football community,” he said. "On and off the pitch, Sam is a leader who not only produces spectacular moments for club and country, but is committed to doing the type of work that often goes unnoticed.
"Her consistency throughout 2019 has been impressive, her goals to games ratio exceptional, her influence on matches significant. Sam’s drive to continuously evolve and improve her game, as evidenced by her recent move to Chelsea, is commendable, and I look forward to watching her progress. It is an honour to be her coach with Australia." There was another Aussie on the list, Kerr's Matildas teammate Ellie Carpenter, who polled in 88th on the list - the first time the full-back has been voted in the top 100.
ROAR TOO STRONG FOR GLORY
Perth Glory Youth's disappointing start to the Foxtel Y-League continued on Sunday morning, going 4-0 to Brisbane Roar at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday morning. Chris Harold was in the starting line-up for the round four clash with striker looking for game time after injury, but it was the Roar who lead at the break with George Mells and Dauntae Mariner on target. The visitors went on with it after the break with a double from Keegan Jelacic to give them a comprehensive win, the Glory now have the bye and must re-group when they host Melbourne Victory at Dorrien Gardens on December 22.
Head coach Richard Garcia expressed his disappointment at his sides failure to build upon their bright start. "We were good for the first 20 minutes," he said post-match, "but then it’s like a different group of players turned up. Mentally we’re a little bit behind the eight ball. We don’t recover from mistakes and we don’t recover from setbacks very well, which for me is concerning. I’ve got to try and get them to be in a different mental space to be able to bounce back and continually play like they did in the first 20 minutes. That’s the concerning thing, that players are only playing for 20 minutes at a time."
Despite controlling play for periods of the first half, the hosts failed to capitalise upon their early dominance as Mells and Mariner both found the net in a seven-minute spell shortly before the break to give Roar the upper hand. Jelacic then scored a second-half brace to ensure the Roar maintained their unbeaten start to the season. Glory's cause was not helped by the fact that they were reduced to ten players for the final 12 minutes after Chris Harold limped from the fray with all three substitutes having already been used.
Skipper Riley Warland, fellow-defender Zayd Farah and midfielder Dane Ingham were among those who caught the eye for Glory, along with Jackson Lee who, despite conceding four times, pulled off two incredible saves to deny Oscar Woods and Mells in the first half. At the other end, meanwhile, Glory’s best chance of the match came in the 16th minute when Ingham forced Brisbane goalkeeper Macklin Freke to make a fine block and Gabriel Popovic then narrowly missed connecting with a Harold cross.
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2 Daniel WALSH, 4 Riley WARLAND, 5 Zayd FARAH, 6 Jordan ABRAHAMS (13 Ciaran BRAMWELL 59’), 7 Dane INGHAM, 8 Bryce BAFFORD, 9 Gabriel POPOVIC, 10 Trent OSTLER (16 Jayden LEADER 53’), 11 Chris HAROLD, 15 Albert FULLARD (17 Nicholas WALSH 54’) - Subs not used: RGK Joshua LANGDON
Brisbane Roar: GK Macklin FREKE, 3 Aaron REARDON, 6 Oscar WOODS (7 Cai TIPALDO 81’), 8 Keegan JELACIC, 9 Mirza MURATOVIC, 11 Dauntae MARINER (10 Harry TALBOT 66’), 14 George MELLS, 15 Kai TREWIN, 18 Rahmat AKBARI, 19 Jack HINGERT (2 Emlyn WELLSMORE 61’), 23 Connor O’TOOLE - Subs not used: RGK Nathan FOSTER - Referee: Harry Bolan
JETS FLY OFF WITH THE POINTS
Perth Glory Women's side are still searching for their first points of the Westfield W-League season after a narrow 1-2 defeat against Newcastle Jets at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday evening. The visitors were ahead at the break with Nickoletta Flannery on target, and Tara Andrews doubled their advantage in the opening minute of the second half. A stunning debut goal from Spanish midfielder Celia Jimenez pulled one back for Bobby Despotovski's side just before the hour, and Glory pressed for the equaliser. Glory keeper Eliza Campbell kept them in the game saving superbly to deny Andrews from the spot on 79 minutes, and despite pressing late they couldn't find the equaliser.
Despotovski felt that his side has taken some major strides forward in terms of their overall performance. "It was a 100% improvement on last week and the week before," he said. "We created enough opportunities in this game to have got something out of it, but we weren't deadly enough in front of goal. We controlled the game and then there was a silly mistake, a cross and a goal and at the start of the second half, by the time we got out of the tunnel, there was a second goal. I was disappointed with how naive we were in that respect."
Glory started brightly, Shannon May firing over the top in the third minute after Leticia McKenna's corner had been cleared to the edge of the box, before Caitlin Doeglas then fired over the bar following some intricate approach work featuring Celia and Katarina Jukic. Moments later, Jukic and Celia combined effectively once again, this time the Spaniard dragging her shot wide of the target. Having weathered the early storm, it was the Jets who hit the front on 23 minutes.
Teigan Collister showed great pace to get away down the left and whipped in a cross which was prodded home from close-range by Flannery. Glory responded immediately by creating another two chances of their own, Morgan Andrews sending a glancing header inches over the bar and Celia shot flashed inches wide from the edge of the box. The visitors, meanwhile, continued to threaten on the break, notably when Flannery picked out Jenna Kingsley who was unable to force her close-range header home shortly before the break.
Glory needed a good start to the second half but they found themselves two goals down after only sixty seconds. Andrews powering into the box, turning neatly and firing an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. Roared on by the home faithful Glory hit back and reduced the margin on 58 minutes. May found Celia on the right, and the Spaniard cut inside and fired home an unstoppable shot past Claire Coelho in the Newcastle goal.
The Jets pressed late and Flannery shot hit the base of the post after a quick break, and they had a perfect opportunity to seal the points when they won a penalty after a handball by substitute Hana Lowry. Andrews stepped up to take the resulting penalty but Campbell guessed the right way to make a stunning save. Glory pushed for the equaliser, but despite peppering the Newcastle box with crosses in the final minutes, they were ultimately unable to find a way through.
Perth Glory: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 5 Shannon MAY, 6 Arianna ROMERO, 7 CELIA, 8 Morgan ANDREWS, 10 Julia SARDO, 11 Leticia MCKENNA (19 Hana LOWRY 66'), 13 Jamie LEE-GALE (4 Ayesha NORRIE 76'), 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS (9 Crystal THOMAS 57'), 24 Natasha RIGBY, 28 Katarina JUKIC - Subs not used: RGK Morgan AQUINO
Newcastle Jets: GK Claire COELHO, 2 Hannah BREWER, 6 Cassidy DAVIS, 7 Gema SIMON, 9 Tara ANDREWS, 10 Libby COPUS-BROWN (31 Paige KINGSTON-HOGG 65'), 12 Tessa TAMPLIN, 17 Jenna KINGSLEY (11 Pana PETRATOS 90+2'), 18 Clare WHEELER, 19 Nicki FLANNERY (13 Lauren ALLAN 78'), 25 Teigan COLLISTER - Subs not used: RGK Nicole SIMONSEN - Referee: Lara Lee
FORNAROLI BACK TO HAUNT CITY
Perth Glory have ended a four-game streak without a win with a comprehensive 3-0 win against second placed Melbourne City in week nine of the Hyundai A-League at AAMI Park on Friday evening. It was Bruno Fornaroli’s first game against his former club after he was released last season, and the Uruguayan striker opened the scoring just before the half hour. Tony Popovic's side doubled their advantage early in the second half when Gregory Wuthrich's shot was turned into his own net by Harrison Delbridge. The points were wrapped up late when Tomislav Mrcela rose highest to head home his first goal for the club from Neil Kilkenny's cross, and Glory held off City to record their first clean sheet of the season and consign City to their first home defeat in over 12 months.
Fornaroli said it was an important three points to kick-start the season and he had a feeling something special was on the cards, and he also appreciated a warm reception from the home fans. "I don't know why but I like to play here in this stadium and I have a good feeling. I do everything for this club. I have good memories, love for the fans and this for me is the best," he explained. "We controlled the game. We believe in our football. We change nothing. We know we need a little bit of luck. We needed to score goals and tonight we did. The last couple of games we controlled the game but they (opposition) scored the first goal. Tonight, we scored the first goal and we relaxed and make it easier and we controlled the game."
Glory made one change to the side that were beaten by Melbourne Victory at the same venue last week, with Mrcela coming into the side in replace of the injured Kristian Popovic. This was a huge game for Glory, and at kick off they say bottom of the table and it was City who had the first opening when in-form striker Jamie Maclaren flicked Javier Cabrera's cross over the Top. But it was Glory who had the first best opportunity when a poor clearance from Dean Bouzanis went straight to Diego Castro, but with the goal empty the skippers’ shot was well over the top. But Glory were not to be denied and on 27 minutes Fornaroli silenced the home crowd. James Meredith’s ball into the box was only cleared to Juande on the edge of the box, his first-time effort looped into the air off a City defender but hesitation between defender and keeper saw Fornaroli nip in to head home. There was no celebration from the former City striker but it was a perfect start for the men in purple. They went close again moments later and it was Meredith again sent down the left by Castro and his cross shot was palmed onto the top of the net by Bouzanis.
Glory began the second half in the same vein and deservedly doubled their lead within three minutes of the re-start. Kilkenny played in Castro who in turn pulled the ball back to Wuthrich, and the Swiss defender’s low shot was deflected into his own net via the post by the unfortunate Delbridge. The bag was put to bed 19 minutes from time when Glory added a third. A short corner routine saw Kilkenny find Fornaroli, who played it back to the midfielder and his superb cross was met by Mrcela, who headed powerfully past Bouzanis. City could muster little in response in the latter stages, other than a well-struck effort from Connor Metcalfe which found the net but was ruled out for offside.
The win, their second on the road this season, took Glory into the top six of the Hyundai A-League ahead of the rest of the weekend's games, and midfield general Kilkenny said scoring the opening goal gave the side a massive boost. "It was brilliant. We picked them off," he said. "We knew we just had to carry on doing what we were doing and hopefully that's the first of many. The performances have been there but not the results so hopefully we can go on and win more games."
Melbourne City: GK Dean BOUZANIS, 2 Scott GALLOWAY (13 Nathaniel ATKINSON 78'), 3 Scott JAMIESON, 4 Harrison DELBRIDGE, 6 Josh BRILLANTE (20 Adrian LUNA 72'), 7 Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 8 Javier CABRERA (19 Lachlan WALES 61'), 9 Jamie MACLAREN, 11 Craig NOONE, 22 Curtis GOOD, 34 Connor METCALFE - Subs not used: RGK Tom GLOVER, 17 Denis GENREAU, 40 Richard WINDBICHLER, 49 Stefan COLAKOVSKI
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 8 James MEREDITH, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI (20 Jake BRIMMER 87'), 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS (7 Joel CHIANESE 73'), 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 3 Jacob TRATT, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM, 28 Gabriel POPOVIC - Referee: Shaun Evans
FORNAROLI HAS SOME UNFINISHED BUSINESS IN MELBOURNE
How things have changed for Perth Glory. A year after taking out their first Premiership last season they find themselves bottom of the Hyundai A-League table after eight rounds, and face another difficult task on Friday evening when they return to AAMI Park to take on second placed Melbourne City. (4.30pm WA Time) Tony Popovic's side were beaten 1-0 last week at the venue by Victory, a loss that made it only one win for the season, but the performance was encouraging dominating possession, but they couldn't convert their chances, something that need to change.
It's a first game against his former club for striker Bruno Fornaroli, after his messy split from them last season and he will be hoping he can put one over his former employees. The departure of Andy Keogh means Glory’s attack now has a different aspect to it, and the Uruguayan has only scored two goals so far this season, but it could have easily been much more if not for a few unlucky moments. Fellow striker Chris Ikonomidis believes the goals will soon come in a rush. “We hit the post twice against Victory. It’s just not falling for us,” he said. “We’re getting into really good areas, but the final pass or shot isn’t coming off at the moment. I think once one goes in it will just flow like it did last season.”
Ikonomidis has enjoyed linking up with Fornaroli, and he feels their connection is continuing to grow - both on and off the field. “He actually speaks perfect Italian, and I speak Italian as well,” he said. “He speaks good English, but I want to keep my Italian sharp, so I only speak to him in Italian. Obviously, we’re not happy with where we are on the ladder, but we’re not playing bad football. If it was about performances, we’d be concerned. It is frustrating (not getting wins), and now is the time where you need to stay calm and keep doing what you believed in, because it has shown success as we saw last year. It’s still early days. A few more wins in the bag and we’ll jump right back up the ladder. Everyone is still very positive, and we still very much believe.”
Head coach Tony Popovic said it has been business as usual for Fornaroli this week. "We'll see how he is during the week - I doubt there'll be any issues or needing to address any situation," he explained. "His record speaks for itself in what he did at Melbourne City, so he doesn't need to prove anything to anyone. He's now playing for Perth Glory, he's playing well, he's maybe missing a bit of the luck in front of goal that maybe Jamie Maclaren's got so maybe that can rub off a bit next week for him. But he's getting in the right areas, he's getting chances - you can see he's hitting the post, he's there - so hopefully that'll improve further next week and those balls will go in."
With several solid training sessions this week, Popovic feels they are ready to go toe-to-toe with City. "The spirit is there. And the character of the team is fantastic,” he explained. “We just have to keep working and improving our game. We're not far off in terms of our performances, we know that. We didn't perform badly at all against Melbourne [Victory]. It was a very good performance away from home, but we came away with nothing. That tells you that we're almost there, but we have some work to do and if we keep making sure that our game is improving, maybe those little details will fall our way. The players have trained well this week; it's not about lifting them. They're disappointed, as they should be, with the results. We all are. But confidence I judge by what I see in training. Players can't hide their body language or their demeanour. They're training extremely hard and they really want this to work. They know they're close and Friday's an opportunity to get a result with the performance."
City defender Harrison Delbridge says there is no animosity between their players and their ex-teammate Fornaroli, however, he insists the prolific Uruguayan forward will be afforded no favours on Friday. “No hard feelings but for us this is business," he said. "You can be friends with a lot of different players throughout the different teams in the league, but for us it's about getting the job done and getting the result. For me as a defender that's about making his night as difficult as possible and frustrating them and limiting opportunities for them. If we can do that, I think we'll set ourselves up to be successful. I know how Bruno likes to play, hold-up and link play, and I've played against him heaps in training, and they've got Ikonomidis as well, so it's something we're aware of, and (Diego) Castro can be creative on the ball as well. We know what they've got and we're prepared to handle it."
Melbourne City FC squad: GK Dean BOUZANIS, RGK Tom GLOVER, 2 Scott GALLOWAY, 3 Scott JAMIESON, 4 Harrison DELBRIDGE, 6 Josh BRILLANTE, 7 Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 8 Javier CABRERA, 9 Jamie MACLAREN, 10 Florin BERENGUER, 11 Craig NOONE, 13 Nathaniel ATKINSON, 17 Denis GENREAU, 19 Lachlan WALES, 20 Adrian LUNA, 21 Ramy NAJJARINE, 22 Curtis GOOD, 30 Moudi NAJJAR, 34 Connor METCALFE, 49 Stefan COLAKOVSKI - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: BERENGUER (promoted), METCALFE (promoted), COLAKOVSKI (promoted) - Outs: 39 Idrus ABDULAHI (omitted) - Unavailable: 40Richard WINDBICHLER (hamstring)
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jacob TRATT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 James MEREDITH, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 27 JUANDE, 28 Gabriel POPOVIC, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: TRATT (promoted), WILSON (promoted), MRCELA (returns from injury), POPOVIC (promoted) - Outs: 29 Kristian POPOVIC (injured) - Unavailable: 13 Osama MALIK (hamstring – 1 week), 29 Kristian POPOVIC (thigh – 2 weeks) - Referee: Shaun Evans
GLORY YOUNGSTERS HOST BRISBANE
Perth Glory youth side will be hoping to kick start their Foxtel Y-League campaign when they host Brisbane Roar at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday morning. (10.30am) The youngsters are coming off back-to-back away fixtures, and were unlucky to come away empty handed in both. They fought back from 6-3 down to draw 6-6 with Melbourne City, before being edged ou by Melbourne Victory last week.
Striker Ciaran Bramwell bagged a hat-trick against City, and was heavily involved in the loss against Victory, and he said they should have taken something from the loss. "Yes, it was a tough loss to take as I feel we dominated the game and also had opportunities to score and get something from the game," he explained. "The game against City was a special moment for myself to get a hat trick, and it was good to get off the mark in my first FYL season and hopefully will be able to score a few more in the future games."
Bramwell started his football journey at Quinns FC, then heading to ECU Joondalup until he was 14, before joining Glory. The 17-year-old has progressed through the clubs NPL academy sides, and he knows how important Sunday's game is as they look to open their account in the competition. "Brisbane are a very good team and we know it will be a tough match," he explained. "We are all looking forward to playing back home after two away trips in a row. I think all the boys believe we could have got more points from the previous three games and we are all looking to get the three points this time around.".
Perth Glory will be hoping to get their Westfield W-League season back on track when they host Newcastle Jets at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday evening. (7.15pm) Both sides go into this game winless, Glory at the foot of the table without a point, while the Jets have one point, which they picked up in week one against Melbourne City. Glory were beaten at home by Sydney FC last week, while the Jets lost at home to Canberra United, so three points in this one is vital, and new recruits Celia and Crystal Thomas are poised to make their Glory debuts, the Spanish international and American striker have both trained strongly this week.
Head coach Bobby Despotovski has confirmed that both will play some part as Glory look to secure their first win of the campaign. "They will bring experience and stability to our midfield and attack," he said. "We have to be mindful that one arrived last week and one this week and consider that when it comes to how many minutes they will play, but they will be involved. Our other two imports, Ari [Romero] and Morgan [Andrews] will also be better for the game-time that they got under their belts last weekend against Sydney FC. Morgan played a pivotal role in the team and lasted 60-something minutes which was a credit to her and hopefully this week she can last the full 90."
Glory conceded two early goals in that 3-1 defeat against Sydney last week, having done likewise in their round one loss at Canberra and Despotovski confirmed that starting games more strongly has been a focus in training this week. "We have to take the game from the first minute, not from 2-0 down," he said. "They [the players] are conscious of that and have been working very hard in training to try and rectify how we are starting games. "We've looked at many aspects, such as whether our warm-up is wrong, is there too much of a gap between the end of the warm-up and the start of the game, or is our mental state wrong. The way that we are finishing games is very positive because they are lasting the 90 minutes. Now we have to look at the starts to make sure we're not so sluggish for the first 15 or 20 minutes before getting into game."
Despotovski went on to praise the impact Hana Lowry and Ayesha Norrie made when they were introduced from the bench last weekend and admitted that their performances have given him plenty to consider when it comes to naming his side to face the Jets. "Hana is very young and we need to be careful with her development," he said. "Nonetheless, she is an extraordinarily talented footballer and in time, I think she can be one of the best players in Australia. This is the exercise that we're doing right now; giving the young players a chance to step up and see where they need to be development-wise, skill-wise, fitness-wise and strength-wise to make it at that next level. I'm very pleased with how she's tracking and the same goes for Ayesha. She's come over from Queensland and has taken every opportunity to step up and play. Her last two appearances off the bench have been very, very good and very positive."
Jets head coach Craig Deans said a Glory side without Sam Kerr will not make Glory and easier proposition. "It's going to be interesting because they were actually pretty predictable previously with Sam, because you know what they want to do is get the ball to her," he explained. "Now there's an even spread of responsibility, we're going to have to work out some tactical things. The girls have been tactically very good this year so I'm sure whatever we come up with, they will put into practise, but it will be a different Glory team, but it could be more difficult in some sense.
In team news Annabel Martin (knee), Sophie Nenadovic (ankle) and Renne Pountney (foot) have all been sidelined, leaving Deans with a few selection options to start the season, but it looks like he will stick to the same squad after last week’s performance. "Annabel is the closest but it's not worth the risk at the moment," he said. "But everyone in the squad have done a good job in the first three games, so the girls who aren't playing have got to push them out."
FOOTBALL IN THE SPOTLIGHT IN WA
Football Federation Australia (FFA) headed to Perth last Saturday with a double announcement about the world game. First, they announced the news of the Western Australian Government’s support for football, with the Premier of WA, Mr Mark McGowan, officially announcing the State’s backing of Australia’s FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, before announcing a number of Socceroos game to be played in the state over the next two years. Premier McGowan made the announcement at Nash Field – home of Western Knights SC – alongside the WA Government’s Sports Minister Mick Murray, experienced Westfield Matilda Laura Brock and Perth-born former Caltex Socceroos goalkeeper Jason Petkovic.
The announcement ensures that Western Australia will feature in FFA’s final submission to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in 2023, with fixtures slated for Perth’s Rectangular Stadium (HBF Park) should Australia’s bid ultimately be successful. WA’s support of Australia’s Bid to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup adds to commitments already received by the New South Wales, Victorian, Queensland, and South Australian Governments.
Additionally, the Caltex Socceroos will return to Perth in March 2020 for the first of two fixtures to be held in WA over the coming years. On Thursday, 26 March 2020 Australia will play Kuwait at HBF Park in its next qualification fixture on the road to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Should the Caltex Socceroos, as envisaged, reach the Third Round of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) qualifying for Qatar, a further qualification fixture will be held in the west throughout 2021.
WILLIAMS BREAKING THROUGH AT BURTON
Socceroo Jackson Irvine became a cult hero at Burton Albion and fellow Australian Ryan Edwards is out to do the same at the English League One club. Edwards left Scottish side Hearts in the off-season to join the Brewers, where he has hit the ground running with 24 appearances already.
Playing under manager Nigel Clough, the former Olyroo and Young Socceroo is thriving. "It’s been really good," Williams said. "I signed in July, I had a amazing four years in Scotland so it was a good time to come back to England and the Football League."
"I’ve been enjoying it. The manager’s top quality, it’s been a good start. I’m playing regularly so I’m happy. We’re playing a 4-3-3 and in the midfield three we’ve got a good balance in the type of midfielders who’ve been playing."
"I’ve been playing on the right side of midfield and have been more of a box-to-box, number 8 kind of midfielder. Playing a lot of minutes and a lot of high energy, trying to get in the box and score goals, which has happened a couple of times this season, so it’s been good.”
Burton are a small club that was largely unknown until the past decade when they remarkably rose from non-league football all the way to finally reaching the Championship in 2016. Irvine was the club’s record transfer signing three and a half years ago from Scotland's Ross County and enjoyed a stellar 2016/2017 season.
Edwards is on his way to becoming a fan favourite at the Brewers, just like Irvine was. "The joke at the moment is they like Australians with long hair," the 26-year old said. "I think you find that generally in the UK and Europe, if an Aussie does well at a certain club, they hold you in high regard."
"Jackson’s very similar to most of the Australian players where you’re a good professional, a good person and you’re a hard-worker, and I think they really appreciate that. He’s definitely held in high regard at the club, I think he won player of the year here and he made the club a good amount of money as well."
"The recent history of the club has been really good. It’s a small club, I think the stadium holds 9,000 or 10,000 (but) the fans are quality, they just want to see you perform well and work hard and they clap you off the pitch regardless of the result if you show you’ve given everything."
"The fans are awesome and the club’s run really well. With Nigel Cough being the manager, he’s a legend there, he played for the club and managed the club, came back after Derby and Sheffield United, so he knows the club inside out and runs it really well."
"We’ve got a squad of maybe 18, 19, 20 players so it’s a really, tightknit group. Especially with the amount of games we play, we play pretty much an A-League season by November. It’s good playing that hectic schedule of Saturday-Tuesday, so the manager’s been really good at managing the squad. I’m really enjoying it at the moment.”
Born in Singapore and the son of ex-Socceroo Alistair Edwards, Ryan’s career has taken him around the world. He came through AIS before heading to England to sign for Reading in 2011 at the age of 17. The midfielder was with the Royals for four seasons and also spend time with Perth Glory on loan.
Edwards was released by Reading in 2015 and then had four years in Scotland with Patrick Thistle and Hearts before moving to Burton. England’s League One may have a bad reputation in the eyes of some Australian fans, but it’s where the like of Massimo Luongo, Bailey Wright, Lucas Neill and Tim Cahill cut their teeth.
“League One is a good stepping stone,” Edwards said. “You look at Cahill and Aaron Mooy joined the Premier League in their mid to late twenties. It’s something you want to target. I’m really enjoying my time on and off the pitch at Burton, so to get promoted into the Championship with them would be fantastic."
Burton currently sit in mid-table in League One, 14th out of 23 teams, but are just six points below the playoff places. Edwards his club has the team to push for a play-off spot this season. “Yeah, within the squad we know we’ve got a good enough squad to challenge for the playoffs," he said.
“On our day we can more than hold our high against the top teams like the Ipswiches and Rotherhams. It’s just a matter of getting the points, which has been difficult because we’ve had some rescheduled games. If we win our catch-up games… it’s a target of ours to get into the playoffs as we’re more than good enough."
ONE BIG OMISSION IN NPLW-WA
The new teams for the new NPLW-WA were announced in mid-week but there was one huge omission to the eight-team league, that of Queens Park. The club have been in the top flight of WA women's football for a number of season's and are one of the strongest teams, but there is no place for them in the new league is a real smack in the teeth for everyone involved at Coker Park. We don't know the ins and outs of the decision but it looks like the governing body have put an end to a club and that has been a standout in the league for many years.
Queens Park have a list of achievements, more than another club in the league. In 2013 they won the Night Series, and in 2014 won the Premier League with Brooke Johnston winning the leagues fairest and best and top goalscorer. In 2017 the club won Premier League and the Night Series, and Katarina Jukic, who signed for Perth Glory this season, won the leagues fairest and best and top goalscorer. In 2018 they went back to back winning the league and went on to win the Cup, while Jukic won the Fairest and best and top goalscorer again. Last season they won the Night Series and were runners-up in the Premier League, but went on to win the Top Four Cup.
Unfortunately, that isn’t worth anything now, and the club are coming to terms with the decision, and player Brittany Woodfin said it came as a huge shock. “I am so sad and disheartened by the news we have not been selected in the new women’s NPL,” she said. “For those of you that don’t know Queens Park has been one of the most successful women’s Premier teams for the past 19 years. Some club volunteers even played back in the 70s. In recent times Queens Park has broken records for most goals scored in a season, and they had an unbeaten year in 2018. They have also had both first team and reserves win the league.
This season Queens Park had the best U23’s Premier league team and have had many players selected to play in the W league. Queens Park hosted night series, Glory games and an international team when Football West needed a venue. For those of you that have asked about juniors, many of our past first-team players were developed from juniors. Currently, we have girls only miniroos and a U12’s girls-only team coached by 2 ex-state league players and a W-League player.
“I know that there are players that are so hurt by this decision and want to stick by the club, but the club is encouraging these players to continue to play at the highest level and to do Queens Park proud. Queens Park has always been a club known as a ‘family’, and they have done so much for women’s football in the past. All volunteers have put their heart and soul into the players and the progression of women’s football, and it is a very emotional time for all involved. The club wishes all their talented players all the best for the future and know they will carry Queens Park forever in their hearts. I will treasure the memories made forever. Q.P.S.C you will be forever in my heart.
FOOTBALL IN THE SPOTLIGHT IN WA
“The WA Government is very excited at the prospect of being part of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023,” Premier McGowan said. “We have also partnered with FFA to secure at least two Socceroos games in Perth, including two guaranteed World Cup qualifiers next year and in 2021. The benefits to our State will be significant, in terms of having a major economic impact on and providing a massive increase in exposure to the rest of the world.”
FFA Chief Operating Officer, Mr Mark Falvo, acknowledged the WA Government’s support for football, and said both commitments would excite and inspire football fans from Bunbury to Broome. “FFA is delighted that the Premier and people of WA share our vision to bring the FIFA Women’s World Cup to Australia,” he said. “Some of the great Westfield Matildas – including current stars Sam Kerr and Lydia Williams – hail from WA, and hosting matches, training, and other events in and around Perth in 2023 would ensure that WA is part of a truly global celebration of football.”
“It is also fantastic that the Caltex Socceroos are set to return to the west consistently over the coming years. Five men’s ‘A’ internationals have been held in Perth since 1975, and with the WA Government’s commitment today that figure will rise over the next two years.” - Australia v Kuwait - Date: Thursday, 26 March 2020
Venue: HBF Park, Perth, Western Australia - Kick-off: To be confirmed - Football Family Tickets: On sale Tuesday, 10 December 2019 at 9am AWST/12pm AEDT (check www.socceroos.com.au for details) - General Public Tickets: On sale Thursday, 12 December 2019 at 9am AWST/12pm AEDT - check www.socceroos.com.au for details)
ALL CHANGE AT THE ROOS
After a year of consolidation for Kelmscott Roos, new head coach Richard Bryant will be looking to build on that next season after taking over from Richard Changadzo. The club were on the verge of dropping out of the state league after finishing bottom of the Division Two table in 2018, but they bounced back to finish well clear of the drop zone last season and Bryant said the club are doing all they can to improve in 2020.
"In 2018, we finished bottom, and were fortunate to stay up, but last season Richard stopped us from going down," Bryant said. "I’ve been involved at the club for a number of years, and I think this has been a factor for my appointment – the club knows what they’re getting, as opposed to bringing an unknown coach in. We are looking forward to the challenge, and are looking to do a lot better than last year." Bryant, who played for Surrey-based Whyteleafe FC in England before heading to WA, said they have identified players for next season and is hoping to bring a stability to the club.
"There are players coming back from when Chris Bates was in charge a few years ago, which will definitely strengthen the team," he explained. "But first and foremost, there needs to be a togetherness and a willing to play for each other, and a good attitude - I will be bringing stability to the team for the 2020 season." The Roos pre-season officially kicks off on Sunday February 2 when they take on Western Knights at Edinburgh Oval in their first State League Night Series game. Also, in Group D are Joondalup City and Joondalup United.
TAGGART WINS K-LEAGUE GOLDEN BOOT
Socceroos striker Adam Taggart has capped a stellar 2019 by becoming the first Australian to win the K-League Golden Boot. In his debut season with Suwon Bluewings, Taggart scored 20 goals in 33 appearances to win the award ahead of Ulsan Hyundai's Junior Negao (19 goals) and Daegu FC's Cesinha (15 goals).
Taggart joined Suwon from Brisbane Roar in February and hit the ground running, scoring on his K-League debut against Ulsan Hyundai and converting in 15 games - including scoring a hat-trick and three braces. That form was translated to the national team with two goals Taiwan and one against Jordan.
Taggart, 26, headlines a list of in-form Socceroos strikers ahead of February's World Cup qualifiers. Also on that list are Jamie Maclaren, who has scored nine goal in four A-League appearances for Melbourne City, and Nikita Rukavytsya, who has scored seven goals in ten appearances for Israeli side Maccabi Haifa.
SPIRANOVIC REBUFFS GLORY REUNION
Socceroo Matthew Spiranovic has rejected a return to Perth Glory, as his absence from the game stretches beyond six months and speculation mounts over his football future. After the high of lifting an A-League Premier’s Plate and landing a Socceroos recall, Spiranovic is back in Melbourne from a lengthy stay in Europe with no hint on what his intentions are.
Rumours emanating from Perth suggest Spiranovic may even be on the cusp of quitting the game all together. But they were flatly denied on Sunday by his agent, who declined to comment further on what might lie ahead for the 31-year old. Glory coach Tony Popovic reached out to Spiranovic again in mid-November over the prospect of a second stint in the west.
But that, according to Glory cheief executive Tony Pignata, was politely declined, leaving 36-cap Spiranovic in a limbo of his own design. “We spoke to him about coming back but I don’t think he’s keen at the moment,” Pignata said. “There were discussions a couple of weeks ago. There was some interest but that subsequently went cold.”
With spells at Nurnberg, Urawa Red Diamonds, Al-Arabi, Wanderers, Zhejiang Greentown and Glory on his resume, Spiranovic has sampled a smorgasbord of football destinations, and clearly has much still to offer - should he decide to pull on the boots again. Glory have keenly felt his absence after an indifferent start to the new season.
THE SOCCEROOS ARE COMING TO PERTH!
Perth will play host to the Socceroos following an announcement by Premier Mark McGowan yesterday. The Australian national team will meet Kuwait at Perth Oval on Thursday 26 March in their next qualification fixture on the road to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Should the Socceroos progress to the third round of Asian Football Confederation qualifiers for Qatar, an additional qualification fixture will be held in Perth during 2021. “We have partnered with FFA to secure at least two Socceroos games in Perth, including two guaranteed World Cup qualifiers next year and in 2021,” McGowan said.
“The benefits to our State will be significant, in terms of having a major economic impact on and providing a massive increase in exposure to the rest of the world.” The Socceroos currently sit atop Group B, two points clear of joint second-placed Kuwait and Jordan.
SYDNEY TOO STRONG FOR GLORY
Perth Glory are still searching for their first point in the Westfield W-League after losing 1-3 against Sydney FC in a Grand Final re-match at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday afternoon. It was the worst possible start for Glory, going 0-2 down after only six minutes, both scored by Remy Siemsen. Former Glory striker Caitlin Foord added a third from the spot before half time, and despite Caitlin Doeglas' goal early in the second half Glory couldn't find a way back into the game. Post-game, Glory's Head Coach Bobby Despotovski said his side's slow start had left them a mountain to climb, but expressed his pride at their second-half response.
"The first ten minutes was identical to the Canberra game and we may have to have a look at how we approach the game from the start," he said. "Obviously the start was not what we expected and we'll address that again on the training ground and move on. In the first half we were not smart enough to close their full-backs at the right times and they exposed us on the left-and side which cost us the goals. At half-time we addressed that and Ayeesha [Norrie] came in and did a great job for us. We set ourselves a target not to lose the second half and to pinch a goal and credit to our players, they stood up and delivered."
It was a warm day in the west but it didn't hinder the Sky Blues who were ahead on three minutes, Siemsen's cross-shot flew past Glory custodian Eliza Campbell. The Sky Blues were handed the second goal three minutes later when a defensive error from Mexican defender Arianna Romero gifted the ball to Siemsen and she finished past Campbell via both posts. The striker who is a guest on the Fox Sports show 'Bill and Boz', and has scored a brace the next game every time she has been on the show, and Sydney coach Ante Juric is looking for a permanent role on the show.
Glory settled and went close themselves on 14 minutes, Leticia McKenna curling effort was superbly saved by Sydney keeper Aubrey Bledsoe, before Alexia Moreno headed over the top moments later. Sydney should have added a third on the half hour, but American midfielder Sofia Huerta somehow missed a close-range header. Glory striker Katarina Jukic went close on 35 minutes, her quick feet turned Natalie Tobin inside out but her shot was straight at Bledsoe. But three minutes later it was the visitors who added a third when Julia Sardo tripped Princess Ibini-Isei in the box and referee Rachel Mitchenson pointed straight to the spot. Foord stepped and marked her 100th Westfield W-League appearance by calmly sending Campbell the wrong way from the spot.
Despotovski made a change at the break bringing on Ayesha Norrie for Moreno, and the home side reduced the margin in the opening sixty seconds. Good work by former Queens Park striker Jukic saw her set up Doeglas, whose shot flew past Bledsoe much to the delight of the 797 Glory faithful. The goal seemed to kick Sydney back into gear and Matildas midfielder Chloe Logarzo's shot from the edge of the box whistled just wide. It was end-to-end football and Andrews' long-range strike was saved by Bledsoe at the second attempt on the hour, before Foord rattled the crossbar after a good shot on the turn six minutes later. Logarzo was inches away from a fourth, her header hitting the crossbar again, and she again denied by a brilliant reaction save from Campbell
In other games Melbourne City maintained their hold on third with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Adelaide United on Saturday, as Kyah Simon netted her first goal since returning from long-term injury in Shepparton. Norwegian striker Elise Thorsnes bagged the winner as Canberra United quelled a spirited Newcastle Jets' comeback to win by the odd goal in five in Newcastle earlier on Saturday. Perennial underachievers Western Sydney Wanderers continued their strong start to the season on Thursday, with their 3-2 win over Brisbane Roar built around a hat-trick from American forward Kristen Hamilton.
Perth Glory: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 5 Shannon MAY, 6 Arianna ROMERO, 8 Morgan ANDREWS (12 Jenna ONIONS 67'), 10 Julia SARDO, 11 Leticia MCKENNA (19 Hana LOWRY 82'), 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS, 15 Alexia MORENO (4 Ayesha NORRIE 46'), 24 Natasha RIGBY, 28 Katarina JUKIC - Subs not used: RGK Morgan AQUINO
Sydney FC: GK Aubrey BLEDSOE, 2 Teresa POLIAS, 5 Ally GREEN (16 Julia VIGNES 85'), 6 Chloe LOGARZO, 7 Ellie BRUSH, 9 Caitlin FOORD, 10 Remy SIEMSEN (3 Shadeene EVANS 67'), 11 Sofia HUERTA, 12 Natalie TOBIN, 17 Angelique HRISTODOULOU, 20 Princess IBINI (15 MacKenzie HAWKESBY 76') - Subs not used: RGK Trudy BURKE - Referee: Rachel Mitchenson
WA JOINS AUSTRALIA’S 2023 WORLD CUP BID
Striker Sam Kerr will play in front of a home crowd if Australia wins the right to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Premier Mark McGowan confirmed Western Australia had officially joined Australia’s 2023 World Cup bid. And the bid is successful WA would host several games at the 20,500 capacity Perth Oval.
“Sam Kerr, the best player in the world, was born and bred in Perth, so it makes sense for Perth to be a host city if Australia’s bid is successful,” McGowan said. “The benefits to our State will be significant, in terms of having a major economic impact on and providing a massive increase in exposure to the rest of the world.”
The announcement ensures Western Australia will feature in Football Federation Australia’s final submission to host the Women’s World Cup in 2023. Australia’s bid to host the tournament adds to commitments already received by the New South Wales, Victorian, Queensland, and South Australian Governments.
GLORY HIT ROCK BOTTOM AFTER LOSS AGAINST VICTORY
Perth Glory dropped to the bottom of the Hyundai A-League after a 0-1 defeat against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Friday evening. Robbie Kruse scored the only goal of the game midway through the first half, and even though Glory dominated possession and hit the woodwork twice they couldn't find the equaliser. It makes it only one win in the opening seven games for last season's Premiers, which must be a concern for everyone involved at the club. "In terms of the performances we're controlling the games better than we did last year, so that's an improvement," Popovic said post-match. "Unfortunately, we're not seeing the rewards of that as yet but I firmly believe that will happen - I have no doubt that will happen. If we can keep controlling games and performing the way we are, that will turn."
Popovic made two changes to the side that lost to Sydney FC last week, giving a starting A-League debut to his son Kristian, who replaced Joel Chianese, while Alex Grant returned from suspension to replace Dino Djulbic. It was an even opening to a game which was vital for both sides, who had only won once this season. The first chance fell to the hosts on 13 minutes, skipper Ola Toivonen got on the end of a quick counter attack but his shot was saved by Liam Reddy. The pressure has been on Victory coach Marco Kurz, whose image on the big screen pre-game had attracted a rumbling of boos from a small section of the 13,084 in attendance.
Glory hit back and Neil Kilkenny's curling effort flashed over the top, before Grant headed Kilkenny's corner just wide moments later. Victory almost hit the front when Andrew Nabbout's mis-hit cross headed goal wards, and Reddy had to race back to tip the ball over the top. Then from the resulting corner Nabbout's glancing header whistled just wide. But on 32 minutes it was the home sdie who opened the scoring. Jakob Poulsen found Adama Traore, whose cross found Nabbout at the back post, his low cross picked out Kruse, who got in front of Glory defender Gregory Wuthrich to score.
It was a good start to the second half from Glory and they went close to levelling five minutes in. Ivan Franjic made space down the right ad his low cross found Fornaroli, who lost his marker at the back post but his first time shot cannoned off the post and away to safety. It was a golden opportunity for the striker, and he was in again on the hour, but again he failed to find the target. Kilkenny was having a great game and his teasing cross moments later found Grant, who’s headed crashed off the crossbar. Glory were dominating but Victory were dangerous on the counter attack and Reddy had to produce a smart save to deny Nabbout. Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas was having a blinder and he got down well to save Kilkenny's low shot, and he was at it again saving well from Fornaroli's header. It was one-way traffic and it looked like Glory would snatch a dramatic stoppage time equaliser, but Thomas was out bravely to save at the feet of Wuthrich, who made a great run into the box.
"It was a tough game,” Melbourne Victory head coach Marco Kurz said. "I think we started not perfect or not well, we had a moment with I think was a crossbar from Perth but then we came much better in the game and you saw after we scored the first goal then the players get self-confident, they started to play, to set up, to build up. I think it was a big game for the club, for all of us, with Broxy's 300th and it was very important that we got the win. I think the boys they fought really well and that's what we expect from the boys and at the end you need as well a little bit of game luck, but I think a good result and we are happy."
In the other games this weekend Brisbane Roar beat Central Coast Mariners 2-0 at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday. In front of 11,763 supporters Roy O’Donovan scored on the hour, before former Glory defender Scott Neville wrapped up the points six minutes later. Also, on Saturday Newcastle Jets beat Western Sydney Wanderers 2-0 at McDonald Jones Stadium with late goals from Angus Thurgate and Dimitrios Petratos. On Sunday Sydney FC moved to the top of the table after a brace from English striker Adam le Fondre gave them a 2-0 win against Western United at GMHBA Stadium. In the final game Wellington Phoenix came from behind to beat Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium. Nikola Mileusnic gave the hosts the lead on the hour but goals from David Ball and a Ulises Davila penalty gave the Phoenix the points.
Melbourne Victory: GK Lawrence THOMAS, 4 James DONACHIE, 6 Leigh BROXHAM, 8 Jakob POULSEN, 9 Andrew NABBOUT (3 Corey BROWN 90+2'), 10 Robbie KRUSE (7 Kenny ATHIU 88'), 11 Ola TOIVONEN, 17 Elvis KAMSOBA, 18 Migjen BASHA, 21 Adama TRAORE, 24 Anthony LESIOTIS - Subs not used: RGK Brendan WHITE, 16 Josh HOPE, 19 Ben CARRIGAN
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC (12 Kim SOO-BEOM 57'), 8 James MEREDITH, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 27 JUANDE (7 Joel CHIANESE 78'), 29 Kristian POPOVIC (20 Jake BRIMMER 65'), 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 14 Chris HAROLD – Attendance – 13,084 - Referee: Alex King
GLORY YOUNGSTERS GO DOWN TO VICTORY
Perth Glory Youth side have put in another strong performance, but have come away empty handed, going down 2-1 to Melbourne Victory in week three of the Foxtel Y-League game at AAMI Park on Friday afternoon. It was a great start for the youngsters, in the first part of the double-header between the two clubs on the night, with Gabriel Popovic converting from the spot on 19 minutes. But Victory hit back with Australian under 17’s midfielder Birkan Kirdar levelling just after the half hour, and they ultimately won with William Wilson strike on 62 minutes. Glory had their chances and had a strong penalty appeal turned down, but the youngsters will reset and look to prepare for next Sunday’s clash against Brisbane Roar at Dorrien Gardens.
Head coach Richard Garcia thought they deserved more from the game. “We improved from the last two weeks and played some very good football," he told the Glory website. “We made a good start to the game in attack and defence and with Gabriel’s penalty putting us ahead, we were in control and we probably could have had another one when Ciaran (Bramwell) was brought down, but it wasn’t to be. I thought we controlled long periods of the game, but lapses in concentration cost us. We have been progressing each week and have another chance to improve against Brisbane next week."
Garcia made one change to the side that drew against Melbourne City last week with Tomislav Mrcela coming into the side for more game time, as the A-League squad defender continues his recovery from injury, he took the place of Daniel Walsh in the starting line-up. Victory, who won for the first-time last week against Adelaide United, were on the front foot early and Joshua Varga curling shot from long-range flashed wide of the post on 13 minutes. But six minutes later the Glory hit the front. Josh Rawlins raced into the penalty area and was brought down and referee Seun Yinka-Kehinde pointed to the spot, and Popovic stepped up and finished past Matthew Sutton.
Glory were convinced they had another penalty when Bramwell was brought down in the box, but the referee waved away the strong protests. Victory got back into the game, and levelled on 32 minutes. Wilson found Kirdar on the edge of the penalty area and he found the bottom corner of the net giving Josh Langdon no chance. Moments later Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio hit the side-netting from an angle for the home side, but at the break it was all-square and all to play for.
Glory went close to regaining the lead after the break, Bryce Bafford turned between two defenders and raced into the penalty area, but his effort went agonizingly wide of the target. It was end-to-end football with both sides going close, but it was Victory who hit the front on 62 minutes. Glory lost possession in the middle of the park and the ball found Wilson, who made no mistake from the edge of the box. Victory went close to a third on 79 minutes, second half substitute Jack Morton’s cross from wide, but Lawrie-Lattanzio headed wide of the target. Glory pushed players forward late looking for the equaliser and they almost found it in the last-minute. Trent Ostler eased forward and his powerful shot from 25-yards flashed inches wide of the post.
In Saturday’s game Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar drew 0-0 at John McEwan Reserve, while on Sunday Newcastle Jets thrashed Canberra United 6-1 at No2 Sportsground. Blake Archbold, Sam Donnellan and former Glory midfielder Kosta Petratos gave the Jets a 3-0 lead early. Nikola Ujdur pulled one back for the visitors but further goals from Petratos, Patrick Langlois and Jack Simmons gave the Jets a comprehensive win. In the final game Central Coast Mariners thrashed Western Sydney Wanderers 5-0 at Marconi Stadium with Alou Kuol scoring a brace, with others to ?Dylan Ruiz-Diaz, ?Harry McCarthy and ?Michael Katsoulis.
Melbourne Victory: GK Matthew SUTTON, 2 So NISHIKAWA, 3 Matthew BOZINOVSKI, 4 Aaron ANDERSON, 5 Dalibor MARKOVIC, 6 Jay BARNETT, 7 Lleyton BROOKS, (13 Nishan VELUPILLAY 59?'?), 8 William WILSON (12 Jack MORTON 70?')?, 9 Luis LAWRIE-LATTANZIO, 10 Joshua VARGA (14 Jack PALAZZOLO 81?'), 11Birkan KIRDAR - Subs not used: RGK Branko SKOCIC
Perth Glory: GK Josh LANGDON, 2 Luke BODNAR (14 Joshua SAMSON 46?'?), 3 Dane INGHAM (15 Charlie LEECH 66?'), 4 Riley WARLAND, 5 Tomislav MRCELA, 6 Jordan ABRAHAMS, 7 Joshua RAWLINS, 8 Bryce BAFFORD, 9 Gabriel POPOVIC, 10 Trent OSTLER, 11 Ciaran BRAMWELL (13 Giordano COLLI 66?') - Subs not used: RGK Jackson LEE - Referee: Seun Yinka-Kehinde
GLORY HEAD EAST LOOKING FOR THE VICTORY
Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory haven't made the start many had expected, and with only one win in the opening six and seven games respectively Friday's clash between the pair at AAMI Park is a vital game to kick start their season. (4.30pm WA Time) Both sides are coming off 3-1 defeats, Glory at home against Sydney FC last week, while Victory were beaten on the road at Adelaide United. Victoria was a happy hunting ground for Glory last season, beating the Victory twice, and Glory head coach Tony Popovic said his side is fired up to provide the performance required to do just that.
"It's quite easy to just look at the results and where we are on the table, but we know that the performances deserve better than what we've got in return,” he said. “But that's the reality and we've just got to keep getting better and working hard and we're sure that will turn. We are just looking at ourselves and we know that we're not far off. We competed very well with Sydney and we know we're close. Now we have to take the performance, which we know was good, into the Victory game which is another challenge against another big club. The players had a fantastic training session yesterday [Tuesday] and you can see that they are really upbeat and ready for the game. It's a big game and a tough game, but the group is ready to put on a performance that we believe will get us a good result away from home."
The coach is well aware their position on the table isn’t ideal but he is confident they will change that during the season. "It's not that the ladder doesn't concern us; we want to be at the top," he said. “We said last year that we want to be a club that challenges for honours and we did and we want to do the same this year. So, it's not a case of us not caring where we are on the table. Yes, we do care, of course we care, but we also put things in perspective and know that when you're playing poorly, you're a fair way away. We're not playing poorly, we're playing well. Can it be better - Yes it can, and we've got to keep working towards that. But we have to improve and that's the mindset of everyone at the club." In team news Alex Grant returns from suspension, while Jacob Tratt has been added to the travelling party. Osama Malik will not make the trip, the defender hasn’t managed to shake off his hamstring injury in time, while Brandon Wilson continues not to be selected.
Glory keeper Liam Reddy is looking forward to the game and believes a win would do wonders in the context of their season. “Looking back at last year’s [Round 2] win, that was a real turning point for us,” he said. “We went 2-0 up and they came back to make it 2-2… I think previously we might’ve actually gone down and lost that game 3-2, or maybe just hung on. But Chris [Ikonomidis] popped up and got the winner and that really flicked a switch for us. Hopefully we can do something similar.” Glory posted 12 clean sheets last season but have struggled this season, and Reddy said the team is determined to post one this week. "Definitely as a goalkeeper and as a team we pride ourselves on keeping clean sheets," he said. "That's something we haven't had this season, and we'll be desperately looking to rectify. That's something we need to work on as a group of players, and that starts from the top. The back four and the goalkeeper are never the ones that keep the clean sheet, it's the whole team. We're playing good football. We're still producing chances, the mood around the playing group is really positive, and the coaching staff are positive. It's the little lapses that we've been suffering and we've been getting punished for (that hurt). If we can cut those out, we'll give ourselves the best opportunity to keep that clean sheet."
It’s a huge game on Friday for Victory’s Leigh Broxham, the midfielder will play his 300th game for the club and he said all he is concerned with is getting the three points, but they will need to improve from last week’s disappointing performance in Adelaide. "We addressed it the first day we were back, with the coach," he said. "It's a bit of a line in the sand, saying we have to start picking up points or the season is going to get too far away from us. There are a few little things we think we can improve and a bit of continuity now will help. I think coming up until Christmas and the next month, four games or so (are vital). You could call it a thick line in the sand. This game at the weekend, Perth are struggling a little bit too, we are close to each other points-wise, so it is a little bit (critical). We can raise some intensity at training. If things aren't going perfect you can keep a high intensity of your own standard. Everyone should just look at themselves to see what they can do better every day and what can you do better when you leave the training ground. It starts there and getting back to basics. Just getting how we want to play, not complicating anything, executing the little things really well."
Melbourne Victory squad: GK Lawrence THOMAS, RGK Brendan WHITE, 2 Storm ROUX, 3 Corey BROWN, 4 James DONACHIE, 5 Tim HOOGLAND, 6 Leigh BROXHAM, 7 Kenny ATHIU, 8 Jakob POULSEN, 9 Andrew NABBOUT, 10 Robbie KRUSE, 11 Ola TOIVONEN, 16 Josh HOPE, 17 Elvis KAMSOBA, 18 Migjen BASHA, 19 Ben CARRIGAN, 21 Adama TRAORE, 22 Kristijan DOBRAS, 24 Anthony LESIOTIS, 25 Brandon LAUTON - *2-4 to be omitted*- Ins: HOPE (promoted), CARRIGAN (promoted), DOBRAS (promoted) - Outs: 14 Thomas DENG (groin) - Unavailable: 1 Matt ACTON (shoulder)
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jacob TRATT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 James MEREDITH, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM, 14 Chris HAROLD, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 27 JUANDE, 28 Gabriel POPOVIC, 29 Kristian POPOVIC, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: GRANT (returns from suspension), TRATT (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 13Osama MALIK (hamstring – 1 week) - Referee: Alex King
GLORY LOOKING FOR HOME COMFORTS IN W-LEAGUE
There will be another Perth Glory v Sydney FC Grand Final re-match, when the pair meet at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday afternoon in week three of the Westfield W-League. Sydney won last season’s showpiece 4-2 and Glory’s Head Coach Bobby Despotovski has reshuffled his pack this season, and he said he’s looking forward to seeing how his new look side go against the Champions. “We took a different direction this year, and we’re going to see where that’s going to take us,” he said. “It’s a different proposition for us with different playing personnel. You’re not going to see us with speedy strikers so we’re going to take a different approach, using possession football to break defences down if we can.”
Glory are coming off the bye last week, but after their first up loss against Canberra United they sit bottom of the table, but Despotovski is hoping their loyal supporters get behind the new look side in their first home game. "I'm looking for our members and fans to play their part, 100%," he said. "But I'm also looking for them to support what we're trying to achieve and not be short-sighted. I want them to understand the direction that we have taken and where we're heading and not to judge any players against someone like Sam Kerr. That is just totally unfair.
“If these local girls don't have an opportunity to play, I don't think that's sustainable or the road to go down for Perth Glory. So, I want them to get right behind the current playing group and give them all the support they can. There will only be three or four players in the team on Sunday who actually played in the Grand Final, it’s a completely different team and a completely different direction that we've taken this year. So, for the players that played, there might be some extra spice in the game and their preparations for it, but for the rest of the players, it's the same preparation as they'd have for any other game. Sydney are the reigning champions and have won two out of two this season. They have a strong squad full of internationals, Matildas and Young Matildas and are a quality team, so it will be a good challenge for us."
Sky Blues boss Ante Juric is wary of underestimating last season’s Grand Finalists, who he admits are an unpredictable entity at this early stage of the season. “We know their system, and that’s as much as we know at the moment,” he said. I don’t know which foreigners they have and I don’t know if they’ve come in for this week. We know they’ve got a few young players and inexperience in a way, but again they cause problems in their own way. We focus on ourselves more than others, when we do that - play at our highest level and work at our highest level - we’re hard to beat.”
In team news, Shannon May could return to the starting eleven having coming off the bench against Canberra and she may be joined in midfield by new American recruit, Morgan Andrews. Ari Romero, meanwhile, is likely to slot into the backline as she starts her second spell in purple and there could be a debut for U.S. forward, Crystal Thomas, if the imports international clearance as been received by the club.
WUTHRICH SAYS GLORY READY TO KICK-START THEIR SEASON
Perth Glory defender Gregory Wuthrich says tonight’s clash with Melbourne Victory is not a line-in-the-sand occasion that will define the rest of their season. But they do need to keep their first clean sheet to help kick-start their wobbly A-League campaign.
In their Premiers’ Plate-winning season 12 months ago, Glory boasted the tightest defence in the competition, allowing just 23 goals in 27 games with 12 clean sheets. This year they have shipped nine goals in six games and slipped to seventh spot with just one win.
“It’s not a defining game. It’s a big game, but it’s not a defining game,” the Swiss international said. “But it’s important that we get our first clean sheet of the season. They will be aggressive, they will press us and we have to be ready. We will be.”
Injuries and suspension forced coach Tony Popovic to move from his preferred three central defenders and two wing backs to a back-four formation for the past two games, but they were caught out by Sydney FC’s fast break in last Saturday night’s 3-1 loss.
“I thought we played very well, just fell asleep for 10 minutes in the second half,” Wuthrich said. “Against a good team like Sydney that’s enough to lose the game ... I feel we have made good progress (and) we have a lot of potential, that’s why I’m confident.”
Wuthrich, who joined Glory from Swiss club Young Boys on a one-year deal, has been trying not to check the ladder. “I try to avoid it a little bit because it doesn’t look so nice at the moment,” he said. “It’s just better that we focus on our game, our strengths, and go from there.”
WALSH READY FOR VICTORY CHALLENGE
Perth Glory will be looking for their first win of the Foxtel Y-League season when they take on Melbourne in the first half of Friday's double-header at AAMI Park. (1.30pm WA Time) Glory won their first point of the new season against Melbourne City last week in a 12-goal thriller, the youngsters battling back from three goals down to earn a point in a 6-6 draw. Australia under 17’s defender Daniel Walsh scored in the draw and it said it was a crazy game. “You never like conceding six goals like we did last week in any game,” he said. “But the team showed good mental toughness and resilience to fight back and claim a point away from home which was pleasing.”
Walsh said Friday’s game is vital and they are determined to get a positive result. “The NYL is a short season so it’s important that we get some points on the board and we are determined to do that,” he explained. “The match being part of a double header at AAMI Park presents a great stage and opportunity for the lads to get the season back on track.” They will be up against a Victory side that has produced two very different results in its opening games, being thrashed 7-0 by Brisbane Roar in Round One before bouncing back and winning 1-0 at Adelaide last weekend.
Victory, and former Perth Soccer Club coach, Gareth Naven is looking for a similar performance to the win last week. "We'd like to pick up where we left off from Adelaide, especially in the second half,” he told the Victory website. “We learned a lot about ourselves the week before leading into Adelaide and we're just trying to train our processes defensively and attackingly and get better and better and for our players to understand when they do it, how they do it and who does it. That's been really our focus this week so it gives us an opportunity to try and repeat the performance.
"We understand Perth is a very combative team, very hard, work hard and they come to AAMI Park which is a nice stadium to play in. There's a lot on offer when you come to AAI Park, especially for the opposition, and there's a lot that'll be on us as a team in regards to our home town, our home match, playing at AAMI Park, our home ground, so we're looking forward to that challenge." Last season's corresponding fixture ended in a 1-1 draw, with Trent Ostler finding the net and the Joeys winger will be out to repeat that feat on Friday having opened his account for the new FYL campaign in the 6-6 draw last week.
HUGE HONOUR FOR FORMER REDBACKS MIDFIELDER
Former Northern Redbacks midfielder Demi Vance has been named Women's Player of the Year by the Northern Ireland Football League. The 28-year-old spent two seasons at the Redbacks, helping them to back-to-back WA Womens Premier League titles in 2015 and 2016. Vance, who has been a regular in the Northern Ireland side, said it had been a good season for her club side Glentoran, and she helped them to the Irish Cup, League Cup and County Antrim Cup as well as a third-place finish in the league, and to win the award topped the season off. "It’s a great honour to win this award when it’s voted by fellow players and managers, so it’s a great feeling," she said. "We had a good season with Glentoran lifting three trophies. Unfortunately, we got hit with illness/injuries at a clinical time in the league and if affected us but I believe we deserved to win it, going into next year hopefully next year we can show that."
The talented midfielder has played over 50 games for Northern Ireland, and recently played against Norway and Wales in the UEFA Euro 2021 qualifies, and she said although the results didn't go their way it was another great experience wearing the green jersey. "It’s a great feeling to be picked and represent your country each time, I love nothing more than putting on a Northern Ireland jersey," Vance explained. "Norway are one of the best teams in the world and we knew what we were up against, they are quality side. With Wales, we were unlucky not to get a result on both occasions. We’ve got a new manager and coaching staff and we’re building something new which will take time, we’re all enjoying it and excited about the future."
While at the Redbacks Vance was coached by Tim Hodgson and Conrad McKelvie, and many thought she would go onto play W-League with Perth Glory but surprisingly it never happened. McKelvie said she took the side to another level. "Demi came to the club along with fellow Northern Ireland player Nadene Caldwell, they were fantastic to work with," he explained. "Phenomenally talented, but willing to listen and work within our team structures, and they really helped take the team to another level while they were here. I believe Demi trained with the Glory, but I'm not sure what happened or why she wasn't persuaded to play. Maybe she wasn't high enough a profile, but I would have thought she'd have made a big difference on the Glory team when she was here, but it wasn't to be."
Her time in WA is something Vance remembers fondly, and if the chance came up again, she would jump at the chance to head back down under. "I absolutely loved my time in WA and playing for Northern Redbacks. We had a great team who gelled and worked together and I was sad to leave, and in the end, they were even starting to understand my accent," she joked. "While I was there, I trained a few times with Glory and played against them with the State team on two occasions. I loved playing in Australia, and if the opportunity came up again, I’d definitely consider moving back, it was a great experience and I was sad to leave."
IREDALE RIDING THE RELEGATION ROLLERCOASTER
West Australian defender Jack Iredale is confident Carlisle United can beat the drop out of the Football League this season. Carlisle sit 21st in the 24-team League Two, currently five points off bottom having won only five of its 19 games to date. That record lead to the sacking of manager Steven Pressley two weeks ago.
But former ECU Joondalup junior Iredale, who joined the Cumbrians from Greenock Morton in May, is keeping the faith. "To be honest it doesn’t feel like a relegation battle right now," Iredale said. "We’re confident we’ve got enough quality in the team to get results."
Iredale admitted it was tough to see Pressley depart. "It was tough, I really liked him," said the 23-year old, who has made 23 league and cup so far this season. "I knew exactly what he wanted and he put a lot of trust in me as well."
Irelade is enjoying the switch from Scotland to England. "I am loving English football," he said. "I’m playing every week and every game … I’m appreciating that the style of football here is more suited to passing-based football (and) I feel like the standard is better too. More tactical analysis and stuff like that."
POPOVIC MAKES CASE FOR THE DEFENCE
Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic will take a long, hard look at his defence in the wake of Saturday night’s home loss to Sydney FC. Popovic built last year’s Premiers Plate success on a solid back line, but the hosts suffered anxious moments and were vulnerable to the fast break in the 3-1 defeat.
Last season Popovic used a back-three system complemented by wing backs, but he has used a four-man system in the past two games. The departures of Jason Davidson, Shane Lowry and to a lesser extent Matthew Spiranovic have hurt Glory’s defensive spine.
Swiss international Gregory Wuthrich and James Meredith are two of Popovic’s new acquisitions but he will be relieved to have Alex Grant’s defensive steel when he returns from suspension. He will also hope fellow defender Osama Malik recovers from a hamstring problem soon.
Popovic concedes his team need to tighten up after conceding in each game so far this season. “We’ve got to get better defensively, yes I agree,” Popovic said. “The reality is that all the players that came in, came very late, at very different fitness levels with previous injuries or lack of fitness.”
“Dino (Djulbic), that was his first start since the Grand Final, Greg (Wuthrich) is still getting fitter, James (Meredith) it’s only his second game, Kim (Soo Beom) has come off a back injury. There are a lot of players in the back line that are needing time. We are limiting chances. We have got to limit the chances even further.”
MARINERS OUT TO END ANOTHER BAD STREAK
Having ended a 38-game run without an A-League clean sheet, Central Coast Mariners will look to break a near two-year spell since last logging successive league wins. A 1-0 home win over Western United on Sunday enabled the Gosford-based side to keep their first clean sheet since February 2018.
And it's been even longer since Central Coast notched A-League back-to-back wins, last achieving the feat almost two years ago in December 2017. They can tick that box by beating Brisbane Roar next Saturday but, having claimed three wooden spoons in the last four seasons, Central Coast aren't getting ahead of themselves.
"You don't want to get too carried away and hopefully by the end of the season we have enough wins to play finals football. That would be massive for the club," commented goalkeeper Mark Birighitti, who pulled off a series of fine saves on Sunday to secure the clean sheet.
Birighitti says coach Alen Stajcic has given the players confidence to perform. "Everyone wants to play for him. He's just a fantastic guy, he knows how to win games. ," said Birighitti. "Hopefully plenty more to come because us goalkeepers and the back four pride ourselves on clean sheets."
The 28-year old custodian is enjoying his opportunities on the Central Coast after being parked on the Melbourne City bench last season. "I've got nothing against the playing group at Melbourne City, a great bunch of boys there," Birighitti said.
"But just disappointing the way the club handled things from the coaching staff and from behind the scenes. I don't want to go into it in depth. I've found a fresh start here at the Central Coast. I'm just in a really good head space at the moment, I'm enjoying my football more than ever."
TAGGART KEEPING COOL AMID HEATED GOLDEN BOOT RACE
Socceroos marksman Adam Taggart has played down the significance of winning the K-League Golden Boot, as he goes neck-and-neck with Brazilian Junior Negao in the race for the award. Both players currently sit on 18 goals apiece, with Taggart only having played 31 games to Negao’s 34.
Negao failed to score in his side Ulsan Hyundai's 1-1 draw with Jeonbuk on Saturday, leaving Taggart in the box seat with two games up his sleeve to Negao’s one. Should they remain level, 26-year old Taggart will take the honours courtesy of his fewer match minutes.
In any event, Taggart isn’t necessarily salivating at the prospect of bookmarking his debut year in South Korea with the accolade. “It’s a bit of a tough one because while it’s nice to win those sorts of things at the same time, they don’t exactly mean that much,” said Taggart.
“You want to be scoring on a regular basis regardless, whether you win the Golden Boot or not. It’s all about reaching your own personal targets and the goals that you set at the start of the season. My goal was to be scoring regularly for my club and to try and win an FA Cup, which we did.”
“So I’m really happy with that side of things. Any awards on top of that are obviously nice because it’s something that stays with you for your whole life but there’s more important things - and that’s just to be a regular scorer. As a striker you just have to capitalize when things are going well.”
Whatever happens, it’s been a year to cherish for the former Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar front man, with an excess of 50 games across all competitions, a return to international football with Australia and a reputation as an ice-cold finisher greatly enhanced.
“We’re looking to end the season on a high, although there’s not much to play for in the league,” Taggart commented. “And if I can get a couple more goals that would be great. We’re now back in the ACL after our cup win and that’s really important to the club … top six will be an absolute minimum for us next season.”
Coming off the back of his clinically executed winner in Jordan, Taggart is looking the goods for Australia as Graham Arnold’s men look to clinch qualification for the final phase to Qatar 2022 with a flourish. “It’s taken a few camps to build that confidence and really feel part of it again but I’ve known most of the boys for a long time,” he said.
“All of us really enjoy having Arnie for a coach and we’re in a period where we’re really building - I think the win in Jordan showed that … a win is a win and you can’t have a perfect performance every single time. Good teams are going to win even when you don’t play as well as you know you can.”
“A big positive from the Jordan match was that even when we’re not at our absolute best we’re still able to grind out results. It’s a difficult place to go as has been the case for us in the past and I was really proud to be part of that performance. It was an ugly win - but the even the best sides in the world need them.”
DE SILVA: I'M READY TO GO
Daniel De Silva is ready to return from injury against Western United as Central Coast Mariners seek their second victory of the season. De Silva missed last weekend's loss to Adelaide United with a knee complaint but the playmaker says he is ready to help Central Coast bounce back.
"It's great to be back in the squad," 22-year old De Silva said. "It always sucks when you miss a game. The knee is going good. I’ve had no problems with it in training, I’ve been slowly building up to full fitness. I’m feeling good and ready to go."
Central Coast went ahead early in Adelaide but were punished by a trio of goals. De Silva said his side have been working hard this week on improving their defence. "Adelaide had a good game," he admitted.
"But maybe our goals came from our mistakes. We’re just looking to bounce back and show the character and resilience we have as a team. (We've worked on) being a bit more solid in defence, try not to cop goals like that. Try to tighten up a bit at the back."
Western United will be out to move back into the top two with a victory in Gosford. "We’re not going to make it easy for them," De Silva warned. "We’re going to play to the best of our ability and try our best to get the three points."
MASTRANTONIO HAS 'THE BEST TECHNIQUE IN MEN'S OR WOMEN'S GAME'
Despite the star factor around her, Ella Mastrantonio could be one of the signings of the season. Western Sydney Wanderers’s coach Dean Heffernan has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal including foreign stars Lynn Williams, Denise O’Sullivan and Kristen Hamilton and local talent Courtney Nevin, Cortnee Vine and Kyra-Cooney Cross.
However, right at the thick of the action is ever reliable Mastrantonio. The former Matilda, who has played 94 W-League games, is fast becoming one of the most important pieces in Heffernan’s jigsaw puzzle. “Ella’s got some of the best technique I have seen in the boy’s game and the women’s game,” praised Heffernan. “She can pass the ball better than most people.”
Heffernan admitted it's a coach's dream to have Mastrantonio and O’Sullivan working together with Amy Harrison in the middle of the park, along with the club’s young stars. “It’s a good little balance we have, Denise O’Sullivan is one of the best midfielders in the world, her and Ella complement each other,” said Heffernan.
CASTRO ASKS QUESTIONS OF GLORY’S WILL TO WIN
Perth Glory captain Diego Castro believes tonight’s Grand Final re-match with Sydney FC will show whether the side has the will to win and the desire for more silverware. The Premiers Plate holders have had a spluttering start with just one win in their first five games.
And Castro said it was time for players to step up. “We want to test our will. It will be an interesting game to see what we are willing to commit,” stated Casstro before offering an explanation as to why the team are not scoring as freely as last year.
“The chemistry we have played with the last year, we are missing a bit of that ... It’s not just about the system or what we want to play. It’s more about the willingness too. Now is the time to step up, face this type of game. We want to fight this important game.”
Glory occupies sixth-placed on the A-League ladder having not won at home so far this season. They drew with Brisbane Roar in Round 2 and lost to Central Coast Mariners a fortnight later. “Being strong at home was the key to last year,” Castro said.
“When you look at the ladder it is not the best scenario for us, especially after what happened last year and the success we got. You have to live with the frustration. That’s a big part when you have the mindset that you just want to win. But we know we are making progress. The potential is there.”
Castro said the heartbreaking Grand Final penalty shoot-out loss to Sydney was a distant memory. “You have to learn when you lose a final, you have to move on, new season, new players,” he said. “We are a different squad, we are looking for other goals.”
Coach Tony Popovic will have to re-think his defensive line-up with Alex Grant suspended after a red card against Newcastle Jets and Osama Malik recovering from a hamstring injury. He is likely to keep a back four, as he did in Newcastle, rather than his preferred three central defenders and two wing backs.
DOMFEH WINS PERTH SC F&B
In his first season at Dorrien Gardens Michael Domfeh has won the Fairest and Best award at Perth Soccer Club. The big striker, who joined the club from Perth Glory Youth, after a stint at Armadale, beat defender Bojan Radinovic to the award, and he said it's a humbling experience to win the award. "Personally, I’m not one for individual honours," he explained. "But with a club such as Perth with its history, I was very thankful and respectful to be given the award as It was a reflection of the year the teams had."
Perth head coach Ramon Falzon said Domfeh was a worthy winner of the award. “We are very proud of Michael and we are pleased to see him win the Club’s F&B,” he said. “He is young and humble, and he recognises that John Gibson contributed a lot to his development. He joined us 12 months ago from Perth Glory, just after we had won the double against Glory. Missing out narrowly on two trophies with Glory gave him extra motivation to integrate quickly within our playing group and hit the ground running.
“We worked very hard to ensure that the striking partnership between Michael and Gustavo Catarcione yields dividends to the Club and both players have been superb in 2019. Personally, I think Michael’s special moment in 2019 was against Heidelberg. He knew he had to make an impact off the bench, and deep in injury time he assisted the second goal and scored the third. I am sure he will remember that game for a long time.”
It was a fantastic season for the Azzurri, winning the title and going back-to-back. Domfeh said to help them achieve this was special, and he hopes to continue it in 2020. "Being my first year at Perth I was really impressed with the standard that the club set for the year, which I believe led to a very successful season. The game against Heidelberg in Melbourne also was a strong statement by the club," he explained.
"Given the success we had this year it was expected that there could be players coming and going. However, the club is structured in a way to maintain a strong squad. So next season will be another challenge but one to look forward to." In other awards on the night Jason Petrie won the under 20’s F&B, edging out Leigh Morgan, while Lachlan Byrd won the under 18’s F&B, ahead of Alex McLean. Top four Cup Final hero Alex Silla won the clubs Robert Giorgi Memorial Trophy, while Thomas Southgate won the clubs Youth development award.
HEALING AND WYNNE WIN GWELUP CROATIA F&B
Gwelup Croatia will play in the NPLWA for the first-time next season after winning the State League Division One title, and their successful came to end with Ellis Healing and Sam Wynne becoming joint winners of the clubs fairest and best award. Striker Healing also won the clubs and the league’s top goalscorer while Wynne tipped in with five goals and some great performances during the season. Wynne was delighted to win the award, especially with the talented players at the club.
"Personally, it's a great achievement to win the award for fairest and best player," he said. "I never expected to win the award with so many top players next to me throughout the season, so when Taki called my name, I was happy to say the least. Just need to work that bit harder now to stay consistent throughout next season." Healing bagging 19 goals, with some special set-pieces, and Gwelup Head coach Taki Nicolaidis said the pair were worthy winners. "Both players played a major part in helping Gwelup gain promotion into the NPL and thoroughly deserved the F&B award."
Wynne said there was a lot of hard work put in and around the club last season, and he said to win the league was a great reward. "It was a great season for the club as you would expect winning the league there is nothing better, all the hard work around the club certainly paid off," he explained. "The season was no walk in the park though, everyone knows Division One is a struggle to get out of, as each team is always a battle week in week out. We had a rocky couple of weeks coming to the end of the season, especially with Knights and a few other clubs on out tail, but we managed to get the job done in the end."
The midfielder knows next season is a huge challenge, but he said they are ready for it. "Yes, it’s a big step up next year to the NPL and feel like the club couldn't be more prepared with the players we have and the new ones coming in," Wynne said. "We still have a lot of experienced players in the squad who have been in the NPL for many years before so nothing will be new to them. One thing I must say is that if the trainings as good as last year we should have no problem matching the standard of NPL, especially with the new lads coming in to fight for spots it will raise the bar that bit more."
In other awards on the night Andrew Scaldaferro won the first team Coach’s Player of the Year, while Adrian Koios won the Reserves F&B, and Jordan Costanzo won the Coach’s Player of the Year and the reserves top goalscorer. There was also a tie in the under 18’s with Kieran Abrams, who was also top goalscorer, and Ray Teakle taking out the F&B, while Aaron Hinshelwood won the Coach’s Player of the Year.
SKY BLUES AND VAR TAKE THE POINTS
Perth Glory’s recent poor record against Sydney FC continued after the Sky Blues won 3-1 in the week seven Hyundai A-League game at HBF Park on Saturday evening. It wasn’t without controversy with the VAR centre stage again, with Sydney scoring one that looked off side, while Glory scored one that was rubbed off. But saying that Sydney showed again they are a quality side and the three points moved them into second place, just one point behind Melbourne City, and they do have a game in hand. Sydney were ahead when English striker Adam le Fondre scored from the penalty spot, after VAR spent a lifetime looking at the incident.
Bruno Fornaroli levelled for the hosts just before time, the striker becoming the quickest player to reach 50 goals in Hyundai A-League history. But second-half goals from Kosta Barbarouses, which VAR had another long look at, before Milos Ninkovic won the three points for the Harbour City club. Let’s get it right, all the VAR incidents on the night were correct, but there must be more information given to the supporters in the ground, as the frustration was palpable - A message on the big screen for example, 'VAR checking on offside against the player in question' could be the answer.
"We lost to a very good side, a ruthless side," Glory Head Coach Tony Popovic said post-match. "They punish mistakes and when they get a chance, they put it away. I think that was probably the difference. I thought all the goals were against the run of play, really. Sydney does what Sydney does. They defend very well, they're structured and they try and hit you on the break and when they hit you on the break, they punish you.
"But in saying that, when you think of the numerous chances we had tonight, it's by far the most chances we've created in the three home games and we did it against the best team and did it quite comfortably. But unfortunately, when we were on top, we couldn't get the goal to get the ascendancy and make it difficult for them to come out of their shape. We were always chasing the game and for Sydney, that suits them."
Once again there was a poor crowd in attendance for the Premiers v Champions rematch, and it was the visitors who hit the front on 11 minutes. There looked little danger when Ninkovic was forced wide by Castro, but a silly pull on the shirt by the Glory skipper saw the Serbian midfielder fall over like he had been shot, but the penalty was there and Le Fondre stepped up and convert from the spot. Glory hit back and good work out wide by Joel Chianese set up Chris Ikonomidis, whose first time shot flashed wide of the target.
The home side were now asking all the questions and Fornaroli tested Andrew Redmayne with a low shot, then saw a snap shot well blocked by Sydney defender Alex Wilkinson. But the Uruguayan striker wasn't to be denied and on 44 minutes he brought Glory level. Neil Kilkenny ball to the edge of the box was head back across goal by Chianese, and Fornaroli volleyed home, much to the delight of the Glory faithful.
Glory started well after the break and Ivan Franjic fired just wide of the target early, but on the hour, against the run of play Sydney regained the lead. Brandon O'Neill's through ball sent Barbarouses clear down the right, he cut inside and finished with aplomb past ready. VAR again looked at the incident, as it was a tight decision of offside, but after what seemed an age the goal was awarded, much to the displeasure of the Glory supporters.
It got worse for the home faithful when Sydney added a third on 65 minutes. Barbarouses and Rhyan Grant combined to set up Ninkovic, who finished well from just inside the box. Chris Harold was introduced on 74 minutes, to set a new club record for Hyundai A-League appearances with 143, and his dangerous cross moments later was almost turned into his own net by Wilkinson. Glory were pressing and Dino Djulbic header from Kilkenny's corner was well saved by Redmayne, before Fornaroli thought he had reduced the margin, but VAR again checked and the Uruguayan had strayed inches offside, this despite Harold's cross being deflected off a Sydney defender.
It wasn't Glory's night, but Redmayne was determined to keep them out, the Socceroo custodian producing a great save to deny Castro late. But at the final whistle it was Sydney leaving with the points and its back-to-back home defeats for Glory, something that must concern the coaching staff. In other A-League games this weekend Melbourne City remained top after Jamie Maclaren's stoppage time goal gave them a 3-2 win against Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium. Wellington Phoenix have won for the first time this season after a 2-1 win against Brisbane Roar at Westpac Stadium, while Adelaide United continued Melbourne Victory's poor start to the season with a 3-1 win at Coopers Stadium. In the final game Central Coast Mariners leapfrogged Glory into sixth spot after a 1-0 win against Western United in Gosford.
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE (14 Chris HAROLD 74'), 8 James MEREDITH (12 Kim SOO-BEOM 74'), 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 17 Diego CASTRO (c), 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 27 JUANDE (28 Gabriel POPOVIC 78'), 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: GK Tando VELAPHI, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 29 Kristian POPOVIC
Sydney FC: GK Andrew REDMAYNE, 4 Alex WILKINSON (c) (8 Paulo RETRE 88'), 5 Alex BAUMJOHANN (17 Anthony CACERES 77'), 6 Ryan McGOWAN, 7 Michael ZULLO, 9 Adam LE FONDRE, 10 Milos NINKOVIC, 11 Kosta BARBAROUSES (12 Trent BUHAGIAR 86'), 13 Brandon O’NEILL, 23 Rhyan GRANT, 26 Luke BRATTAN - Subs not used: RGK Tom HEWARD-BELLE, 2 Patrick FLOTTMANN, 18 Luke IVANOVIC - Att: 8741 - Referee: Daniel Elder
BRAMWELL HAT-TRICK SEES GLORY YOUNGSTERS HIT BACK TO DRAW AT CITY
Perth Glory Youth side have fought back from three goals down to draw 6-6 in a pulsating Foxtel Y-League game against Melbourne City at CB Smith Reserve on Saturday morning. The hosts were ahead early with Raphael Borges Rodrigues on target, before Glory’s Australia under-17’s winger Trent Ostler levelled just after the half hour. Ciaran Bramwell then gave Richard Garcia’s side the lead five minutes before half time, but late goals from Moudi Najjar and Kerrin Stokes gave City the lead at the break.
The game looked over when Stefan Colakovski scored in the first minute of the second half, but Glory’s Australia under-17 defender, Daniel Walsh, pulled one back moments later. A second goal to Rodrigues and another to Jordi Valadon looked to have put the game to bed for the hosts, but the Glory youngsters showed great resolve and Bramwell bagged a couple to complete his hat-trick, before Bryce Bafford levelled things up with seven minutes remaining.
“It was an entertaining game, but we showed good character to come back from 6-3 down mid-way through the second half to take a point,” hat-trick hero Bramwell said. “I believe we could have also got the win as we had chances to win it in the last 20 minutes including hitting the post in the last minute. Although we scored six goals, it was also disappointing to concede six preventable goals, but personally for me it was nice to get my first goals of the NYL season.”
After last week’s disappointing result in their opening game against Adelaide the youngsters were on the front foot early, but found themselves behind on 21 minutes, with Rodrigues on target. Glory hit back and Ostler eased past his marker on the bye-line and fired into the roof of the net. Glory then hit the front on 35 minutes, Luke Bodnar’s cross was headed back across goal by Josh Rawlins and Bramwell lost his marker to score from close-range. But the home side hit back with City’s Australia under20’s striker Najjar levelled things up, before defender Stokes gave the hosts the lead at the break.
City striker Colakovsk made it 4-2 in the first minute of the second half, but Daniel Walsh got on the end of Ostler’s free kick to reduce the margin ten minutes later. The game was end-to-end, and a great advert for the competition, but it was City who took control again and Rodrigues added his second and Valadon made it 6-3, and it looked all over. But Richard Garcia’s side rolled up their sleeves and Bramwell pulled one back on 67 minutes, firing home from a tight angle, before the striker completed his hat-trick seven minutes later.
Ostler was the supplier again picking out Bramwell on the edge of the box and his shot found the bottom right corner of the net. What a game, and it wasn’t over and seven minutes from time Glory levelled. Bafford was sent in on goal and he finished clinically past Joe Gauci. Both sides pressed for the winner, the best chance falling to Jayden Leader in the final minute, his effort crashed off the woodwork.
Melbourne City: GK Joe GAUCI, 30 Moudi NAJJAR, 35 Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES, 36 Kerrin STOKES, 44 Nicholas HATZIGEORGIOU (52 Luca TEVERE 75?'), 45 Mark KARLIC, 48 Luke ORESTI, 49 Stefan COLAKOVSKI, 51 Akok AROK (56 Giovanniliam STELLITANO 90?’), 54 Jordi VALADON, 57 Daniel LUCENTE (43 Alec MILLS 83?'?) - Subs not used: RGK Ahmad Taleb
Perth Glory: GK Josh LANGDON, 2 Mason TATAFU (13 Giordano COLLI 65?'?), 4 Riley WARLAND, 5 Daniel WALSH, 6 Luke BODNAR, 7 Dane INGHAM (17 Albert FULLARD 57?'), 8 Jordan ABRAHAMS, 9 Bryce BAFFORD, 10 Trent OSTLER (16 Jayden LEADER 90?+?2?'), 11 Joshua RAWLINS, 18 Ciaran BRAMWELL - Subs not used: RGK Jackson LEE ? - Referee: Yoav Fisher
WA AMATEUR SIDE EDGED OUT BY UIMT FC
The Gold Fields WA State Amateur Team finished their tour of Malaysia on Friday evening with a 4-3 loss to Malaysia Premier League side UIMT FC at the UIMT Stadium. The win saw the hosts crowned champions of the Australasia International Friendly tournament, which also included Kuala Lumpur FC and an NPL select side from the Northern Territory. “I thought we were very unlucky not to finish the tournament unbeaten, but that’s football,” Head Coach Colm Costello said. “Jason (Winter) and I are so proud of these lads who have applied themselves so well all week. In six days, we have played three games and 50 minutes against a National under-22 team, trained twice and picked up good results against absolute quality opposition.
“Such a great opportunity and experience for us all, especially myself and Jason. We were put to the test in every game and had to change up the way we play and our shape and structure, but I’m sure it will only benefit us all playing top sides. Some lads played every minute of every game and that’s a serious effort. The schedule and work load was hectic but the lads stood up to the test and should all be very proud of themselves.”
Costello’s side needed a win in this game to retain their title, but they found themselves behind early with Justin Samaan on target for the hosts. But WA were level after some great lead up play ended with Liam McManus, and the Quinns FC striker finished superbly from the edge of the penalty area. UIMT FC, who were promoted to the Malaysian Premier League last season, regained the lead before half time through Faiz Hanif, and early in the second half Ahmad Khuzaimi made it 3-1.
But WA weren’t finished and they pulled on back after McManus was brought down by the UIMT FC keeper, who was lucky to stay on the park as he was the last-man. Quinns FC’s Liam Hunt stepped up and produced a stunning free kick to reduce the margin. But it looked all over when UIMT FC added a fourth with Asraff Hayqal on target. But the game was far from over and WA grabbed another, when good work from Leeming Striker’s Ben Greaves on the right ended with a ball into the box and Kwinana United’s Lee Bates finished well.
WA pressed for the equaliser and they thought they had found it when Hamersley Rovers Cosimo Figliomeni’s free kick was headed home by Quinns FC’s David Long, but the flag was up for offside, but it was a tight decision. WA skipper Juraj Galba said to lose the final game was disappointing but the tournament was a great success. “I thought the final game, we were well prepared for what they were going to play, but unfortunately we conceded three goals after our individual mistakes,” he said. “Despite this, the whole team displayed a great spirit and character, and always tried to come back. We even scored an equaliser but because of alleged offside the goal was disallowed. Following the final whistle, we felt disappointed as UITM were not a better side.
“But the tour on whole was such an amazing week with some unforgettable experience. The tour was perfectly prepared and organised. Thanks to the organiser we had a great opportunity to compete against two Malaysian professional teams and the NPL team from Northern Territory. Although we did not win any game, it was great to see that we were able to match the teams that train at least twice as often as we do. On the top of that we had a privilege to play against Malaysian U-22, which had in squad some players that had played for a senior national team only two days before our game.”
GLORY LOOK FOR REDEMPTION AGAINST SYDNEY
Perth Glory and Sydney FC go head-to-head for the first time since the 2018-19 Hyundai A-League Grand Final when they meet at HBF Park on Saturday evening. (6.45pm) Glory Head Coach Tony Popovic is looking forward to the clash and he believes his side are close to recapturing the kind of form that swept the club to a maiden Hyundai A-League Premiership last season. "It's a big game because it's Sydney FC, but it's also a big game because it's Perth Glory, we can't forget that," he said. "Everyone will be watching this game, not just because of one side, but because they know the other team that they're up against, Perth Glory, is a very good team and I’m sure we'll show we're a great side on Saturday.
"We were disappointed with our last performance at home, in particular, the first half. We've had a couple of weeks to train and reflect and we really want to put in a top performance in front of our fans. We need to keep improving and working hard and we know that the team is becoming more stable. We're seeing that in terms of our training, the combinations becoming more natural and the understanding getting better and I'm sure that will continue to grow. We're not far off. We've been performing well enough, can we do better? Of course, in both defence and attack, but we feel that that stability is coming. We're getting good opportunities and I feel we're really close. I'm sure we're going to see a real improvement in our performances in this next block of games."
Popovic went on to reaffirm his ambition at the Glory, he wants to establish the club as one of the best in the league. "Our motivation is to be a team that challenges for the title again this year," he said. "Last year we were a big team and we need to challenge again consistently to be a big team once more. We're up against the biggest club [Sydney FC] this week. We're on a path that we want to be among those two Melbourne and two Sydney teams in being regarded as big clubs and that takes time. First, we need to establish ourselves as a big team and for that you need consistency. We're confident that we're on the right path to be a team that can challenge for honours once more.”
All Glory fans will want to forget last May’s game, where the Sky Blues won the Championship, with a penalty shoot-out win at a packed Optus Stadium, and many Glory supporters will be looking for redemption. But that is not on the agenda for Glory midfielder Neil Kilkenny, who said he doesn't want revenge. All his energy will be going into helping Glory kick start their season. "It's just another game, the grand final was months ago," he said. "At the end of the day we just want to get results, it doesn't matter who it's against. We just want to win, that's the main thing."
Glory are coming off the bye, but in their last home game they were beaten by Central Coast Mariners, and Kilkenny said they want to get back to winning ways in front of their loyal supporters. He was quick to acknowledge they have been playing well without being rewarded for their efforts, but with a strike force of Bruno Fornaroli, Diego Castro and Chris Ikonomidis, they should have scored more goals than the six they have this season. "I think a lot of teams have shown us a lot more respect this year," he said. "We dominate the game possession wise. A lot of teams sit compact and try to hit us on the break. But we haven't scored the goals that we need, so hopefully we can change that now." In team news, Glory will be without the suspended Alex Grant and fellow-defender Osama Malik will also miss out as he continues to battle a hamstring injury. To cover for the pair Jacob Tratt and Tomislav Mrcela have been added to the squad, while Nick D’Agostino and Kristian Popovic also return, but there still isn’t a spot for Brandon Wilson
Like his Glory counterpart Sydney FC's Brandon O’Neill insists the grand final rematch is just another game. The former Glory midfielder said he had left behind memories of his successful penalty, and there will be no torn loyalties for the ECU Joondalup product, who made his A-League debut for Glory in 2012 before heading to Sydney four years ago. “I know a lot of people will be calling it the grand final replay, but the grand final is on this season’s to-do list,” O’Neill said. "It’s a new season, new commitments, new goals, but by God I want another grand final win this year.
“We’ve consistently been able to put in good performances week-in week-out this season, building towards the end of the year when we want to be hitting our straps. In the A-League you don’t want to hit your straps too early because no one really remembers whether you’ve won the league or not — it’s all about winning the Grand Final. We want to be consistent, play good football and it will be no different this week. It’s another stepping stone on what we want to achieve this year ... winning everything.”
Sydney are coming a come-from-behind win in the 'Big Blue' against Melbourne Victory last week, a result that moved them to second on the table, but O'Neil is well aware the talent the sixth-place Glory have he remains wary, and he will also have to get tickets for his family and friends again, after he had to find 80 tickets for last season’s Grand Final. “They (Glory) are a very good team, they are very well organised and they’ve got some quality players,” he said.
“They’ll be wanting to get a result, but we’re quietly confident. We know it’s very difficult to go to Perth and play well, but we know we are a very good side. “I’ll say this. In terms of family and close friends Perth is home. I’m the only lad in our team that looks forward to the four-hour journey. The O’Neill clan will be there on Saturday ready to sing their little hearts out. They are the adopted Sydney FC fans. But Sydney is my footballing home, it’s where I’ve been able to celebrate so many amazing achievements.”
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 3 Jacob TRATT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 James MEREDITH, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM, 14 Chris HAROLD, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Nick D’AGOSTINO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 27 JUANDE, 28 Gabriel POPOVIC, 29 Kristian POPOVIC, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: TRATT (promoted), MRCELA (returns from injury), D’AGOSTINO (returns from injury), Kristian POPOVIC (returns from international duty) - Outs: 2 Alex GRANT (suspended – 1 week), Brandon WILSON (not selected) - Unavailable: 13 Osama MALIK (hamstring – 1 week)
Sydney FC squad: GK Andrew REDMAYNE, RGK Tom HEWARD-BELLE, 2 Patrick FLOTTMANN, 4 Alex WILKINSON, 5 Alex BAUMJOHANN, 6 Ryan MCGOWAN, 7 Michael ZULLO, 8 Paulo RETRE, 9 Adam LE FONDRE, 10 Milos NINKOVIC, 11 Kosta BARBAROUSES, 12 Trent BUHAGIAR, 13 Brandon O’NEILL, 16 Joel KING, 17 Anthony CACERES, 18 Luke IVANOVIC, 21 Harry VAN DER SAAG, 23 Rhyan GRANT, 24 Marco TILIO, 26 Luke BRATTAN - *2-4 to be omitted* - In: VAN DER SAAG (return from international duty), TILIO (promoted) - Out: Nil - Unavailable: 3 Ben WARLAND (ACL - indefinite), 19 Chris ZUVELA (knee)
GLORY YOUTH LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK IN MELBOURNE
Perth Glory Youth started their Foxtel Y-League season with a disappointing 0-3 defeat against Adelaide United last week, and they will be looking to bounce back when they take on Melbourne City in Week Two at CB Smith Reserve on Saturday morning. It’s a new look squad this season, with a number of players who haven’t played in the competition before.
Luke Bodnar wore the Captains armband las week and he said their heavy work load could have been a factor but that is know excuse. “The game in Singapore in midweek was a factor in terms of fatigue, but we can’t use that an excuse for a poor performance from the group,” he said. “It’s always an honour to captain your side, it’s an important role and a big responsibility.”
Richard Garcia’s side looked good in patches against Adelaide, but the young side were punished for errors and they will be hoping to get a few players back for the trip. The last visit to the venue was a six-goal thriller when Kristian Popovic scored a last-minute goal to seal a 3-3 draw, and Bodnar said they are looking to bounce back and get a positive result. “Being our first away game it’s very exciting for the squad,” he said. “We want to brush off the first game and look forward into putting on a strong performance into this game and getting back on the right track.”
In other games on Saturday, Central Coast Mariners entertain Sydney FC at Pluim Park on Saturday morning, Western Sydney Wanders host Canberra United at Marconi Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile on Sunday Melbourne Victory will hope to bounce back from 0-7 loss at Brisbane Roar last week when they Jack Smith Park to take on Adelaide United.
DJULBIC BACK AND READY TO FIRE
On the eve of the Hyundai A-League Grand Final re-match between Perth Glory and Sydney FC, one moment from that game that stands out, was the sight of Glory defender Dino Djulbic on the ground on the hour with what looked like a serious knee injury. But the veteran defender has told A-League.com.au the only thought he had to get up and defend, and despite a ruptured ACL he played through the pain like the warrior he is, but we all know how the game ended.
Many thought it that was the end of his career at the club, but the never-say-die mentality that has been ingrained in Djulbic's DNA throughout his career once again came to the surface, and he made a miraculous return to action in Round 1 of the 2019/20 campaign. “Once I landed and came back down, I could feel something went,” he said. “I was thinking in my head ‘surely it’s not happening now’. I was on the floor and I remember turning around and I could see Sydney having a counter attack.
“I was like ‘oh no, I better get up and start running and chasing back because I’d probably get in trouble with the boss for laying on the floor. So, I got up and just started limping around, it didn’t feel the greatest but I managed to get into a sprint, and from then on, I think the adrenaline just took over. I could feel pain but I’ve got a really high threshold of pain management which always helps, and I just continued. I guess that was the adrenaline really, and the desire. I didn’t show any weakness or any sense of facial expression of the pain because I saw the boss send someone to warm up. I managed to hide all the feelings and pain so the boss didn’t realise until the next day."
That wasn't the only pain the big defender felt on the day, losing to the Sky Blues on penalties was a bitter pill to swallow, made all the worse by the diagnosis of his injury the next day. “The Grand Final last year, yeah, it’s still a sore point obviously,” Djulbic said. “Losing to Sydney on penalties, but the bad news came after. The next day finding out that it is actually the ACL, there were a lot of things in the air for me at that stage. It was a very big decision because I’m 36 and I’ve never had a big injury like that, I didn’t know what to expect exactly."
Djulbic had a huge decision to make, but he was unwilling to retire or go under the knife, so he looked for alternative options. Out of contract and facing 12 months of post-operative recovery, the centre-back sought advice on the alternative routes to take to accelerate his return to full fitness. “Speaking to the boss (Tony Popovic) and the club they were very, very supportive of whichever way I wanted to take this,” he explained. “My meeting with the boss I said straight away ‘I want to play, I want to continue to play, I feel good’.
"He said look, I want you here at the club and we’ll support you with whatever needs to be done, and they did. I went to the surgeon and he said ‘you’ve got to have surgery and you’ll be out for 12 months. I said that’s great, but what are the other options...how about I don’t have surgery? He said ‘I’m not sure about that’, but I said I wanted to try it, I did some research about it and I know it’s something a lot of people succeeded (with). He said ‘why don’t you try it we’ll go for a month and see how it goes."
So Djulbic got to work, with his sights firmly set on securing a new contract at the Glory and atoning for last season’s Grand Final heartbreak. But there was always one driving factor inspiring him the most as he set off on his unique path to recovery. “The funny thing is I had my kids at home and was talking to them, saying ‘Daddy might not play again’,” Djulbic said. “My daughter and son had the Glory song (on) every day from YouTube, the (Steve) Armstrong old Glory song. That was a big driving factor for me.
“I opted to do something different and go without surgery with the hope to be back in January or December. I was never really one that shies off hard work, I love hard work. It was one of those things I said ‘just blank it out and just go and work hard’, so I think short of three months (after the injury) I started training with the team. Here I am now six months (after), I’ve been involved, I’ve played a couple of games, full training and I haven’t missed a session yet. So far so good.”
Djulbic has featured twice so far for Popovic off the bench throughout Glory’s first five games of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season and will be hoping to be called upon once again when his side face Sydney FC in a Grand-Final re-match on Saturday night. The physical and mental pain from that night has left a lasting imprint on both Djulbic's body and mind, but he says the gruelling work he has put in on the training track ever since has him raring to go for the Grand Final rematch. “To finish my career on a loss, it wasn’t really an option,” Djulbic said. “I’m a big winner, for me (I’d do) anything just to win really.
"Obviously this weekend we’re playing Sydney, it’s a big game. I don’t say it’s a revenge (game) because we’re playing now for three points. They got the better of us on that day but you want to play big teams and big games, so I’m really looking forward to the game. I want to win all the games and it doesn’t matter if it’s Sydney or anyone else. It’s a big thing for me, I’m a big believer in winning, I haven’t had the opportunity before to win things and when the boss arrived all those things changed. That’s another reason I wanted to be a part of it, he was staying here and he wanted me to be part of the team.”
GLORY MIDFIELDER BANNED
Perth Glory midfielder Brandon Wilson, along with Melbourne City duo Nathaniel Atkinson and Lachlan Wales and Olyroo captain and Adelaide United midfielder Riley McGree have all paid the price for an incident at the Olyroos camp in Cambodia earlier this year, all were given suspensions on Tuesday by the FFA. Wilson, Atkinson and Wales are all banned from international football until August 2020, which will mean the trio will miss the Olympics, if Australia qualifies. McGree, who is now at Adelaide United, but was at City at the time of the complaint by a woman, was also banned, but only until April of next year, which means he will be eligible to play in the Tokyo 2020 tournament if Australia make it and coach Graham Arnold picks him.
All four will also have to take part in education courses and counselling as directed by the FFA. The sanction follows a finding that the players engaged in conduct in breach of the FFA's Code of Conduct during the Asian Football Confederation U-23 Championship qualifying tournament in Cambodia in March this year, the FFA said after a lengthy probe into the case. "The matter came to the attention of FFA in April 2019 following a complaint by a woman. FFA initiated an independent investigation shortly after the complaint was received and due to its complexity, the investigation took months to complete," the organisation said on Tuesday afternoon.
"The FFA Board considered the findings of the investigation in early October 2019 and subsequently determined to initiate its Code of Conduct process, which involved providing each Player with the opportunity to make submissions to FFA on the alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct. FFA considered those submissions, including submissions made by Professional Footballers Australia, in reaching its determination which was communicated to the Players today."
FFA Chairman Chris Nikou added: "These sanctions are commensurate to the nature of the breaches of the National Code of Conduct which is in place to safeguard both the players and the reputation of Australian football. "Upholding our commitment to respect and responsibility cannot be compromised. Our game is built on equality, inclusivity and respect and these are values that we will continue to uphold. The players have understood the gravity of their actions and have positively commenced respectful relationship programs that will ensure they appreciate these values in the future."
All four had been scheduled to travel to Asia on November 9 as part of the current Olyroos squad which has been playing warm-up games in China ahead of the final series of Olympic qualifiers next January. But as a result of their pending sanction, none of the quartet travelled with their international colleagues. Any of the four can appeal FFA's determination in respect of their sanction to the independent FFA Disciplinary and Ethics Committee. A subsequent appeal may also be made to the Independent FFA Appeals Committee.
The players' union, Professional Footballers Australia, said it would provide support to all four players. "The PFA has, and continues to, represent the players throughout this process and will work closely with each of them on their options, including appealing the sanctions imposed," the PFA said in a statement. "From the outset the players have accepted responsibility, undertaken respectful relationships counselling and at all times acted cooperatively with the FFA during the investigation."
ORR LEAVES CHAMPIONS
After helping Perth SC to back-to-back NPLWA titles, midfielder Harley Orr has become the latest player to head interstate after signing for Oakleigh Cannons for the upcoming NPL Victoria season. Orr has signed a two year deal at the club and the 24-year-old has now set his sights on a new opportunity in Victoria and working with Cannons Head Coach Chris Taylor. “I’m really looking forward to a new challenge in Melbourne,” he said. “I know the competition in Melbourne is right up there with the best, so I’m really looking forward to testing myself in a new environment. I'm also really looking forward to working with Chris, I’ve heard great things.”
The Cannons have also signed Joe Knowles from ECU Jooondalup, and Orr believes the club’s recruitment in the off-season has been exciting and is expecting “big things” in 2020. “I’m expecting big things for sure this season,” he said. “Knowing the club fell short last year makes me really keen to go that little but further and start adding some trophies to the cabinet." Orr said the decision to leave Dorrien Gardens was a difficult one after spending most of football career at the club. "It was an extremely tough decision to leave the club, it’s been my real home ground since I was 12 years old, and it’s like a second home to me, I was around that place a lot," the midfielder explained.
"But it’s also very exciting and a new chapter is about to start for me and couldn’t be happier. I had four fantastic years with the first team 2016-2019, and in that time we won three double championships, and going back to back in 2018/2019 was just incredible. My time at the club has been the best years of my life, the team chemistry we had was unmatchable with anyone else, and hopefully the boys can continue on with our awesome run."
After such along time at the club Orr said he can't thank everyone enough. "There’s a lot of people I would like to thank and hopefully I don’t forget anybody," he said. "Firstly a massive thanks to President Gary Marrochi for laying the foundation for all of us boys and giving us the best facilities and best possible chance to be our best his hard work is unforgettable. Also Will Garas for his countless hours making sure us boys always feel right at home and try to give us whatever we need. To the coaches Ramon and Mark without them I probably wouldn’t even be going to Melbourne, both of them have had great faith in me and have given me the best opportunities to flourish in the position I play in now, I couldn’t thank them enough. And lastly but certainly not least, the Azzurri boys and my teammates, leaving these boys is gonna be super tough."
WA REMAIN UNBEATEN IN MALAYSIA
The Gold Fields WA State Amateur Team continued the Australasia International Friendly tournament in Malaysia on Wednesday, with a 1-1 draw against Northern Territory at the UITM Stadium. Quinns FC’s Liam Hunt had given WA the lead in the first half, but in hot and humid conditions NT hit back to level ten minutes from time. In the other result on the day UITM FC, who WA play on Friday, were held 2-2 by Kuala Lumpur FA. It means Colm Costello’s side must win the final game on Friday, if they are to go back-to-back in the competition
“I thought a draw was definitely a fair result,” WA Coach Costello said. “They (NT) are a very good team and made things difficult for us. Both teams had chance in a typical derby type game. Again, Jay and I are very proud and very happy with the squad’s efforts. Conditions were so hot, and for the lads to keep fighting and working hard for each other is an absolute credit. To concede a goal late on was a tough one to take but as said NT thoroughly deserved a draw
“I’m delighted for Liam (Hunt), it was an absolute belter from 25-yards (he will say 35-yards), but overall it was a great team performance. We had a lot of tired bodies and lads were exhausted, but we will reset now for Friday and we know will need to be at our best. Hopefully one last push now will see us get our rewards on a very hectic week of football.”
Leeming Strikers’ Tom Grant was outstanding and he said both games have showed they can match it with the best. “I thought it was a tough game in very tough hot and humid weather conditions. Northern Territory were a very solid well organised side attacking wise, and I thought we all defended as a unit really well against them,” he explained.
“All the lads, including subs, put in 100% effort and I felt like both sides had chances during the game to win it. Overall a draw was probably a fair result I thought. If we win on Friday and go on to win this tournament it’s a huge achievement for this squad as we are playing against two professional Malaysian teams and a top-quality Northern Territory team”
KNOWLES HEADS EAST
ECU Joondalup striker Joe Knowles has left the club and signed for NPL Victoria side Oakleigh Cannons. The club worked hard to keep Knowles, a player who rose through the ranks of the clubs academy before signing for A-League side Perth Glory, where he made 15 appearances and scoring against Newcastle Jets in Round 10 2017, but Knowles said he needed to challenge himself and the move to Melbourne will do that. “I’m excited to move over to Melbourne and play for Oakleigh,” he said. “I’ve made this decision to move out my comfort zone and push myself to try get the best out of me and also to gain experience from this opportunity.”
The 23-year-old said he will be supporting the Jacks from a far next season. “I’d like to thank Dale McCulloch for looking after me since I’ve been with the Jacks. Also, a big thanks to David Tough, Ross Edwards and Jon Higgins and the rest of the coaching staff for the hard work they have put into last season. Thanks to the boys for putting up with me and my moaning, they are a great bunch of lads and I have no doubt they will be a great team next year and will be turning those draws into wins. Good luck next season to everyone involved I’ll be supporting from Melbourne.”
ECU Joondalup SC Football Operations Manager Steve Amphlett wished the 23-year-old all the best. "Joe was great for us last season and obviously we did everything we could to keep him at the Campus, but there seems to be an exodus of WA players heading over to the NPLVIC this season. Joe is a quality player and a quality lad too and we hope the move can get him an opportunity in the A-League again, something we believe he deserves. We wish Joe all the best in future endeavours and hopefully one day he will head back to Perth and return to the Jacks."
WILSON SUSPENDED FROM NATIONAL DUTY
Brandon Wilson's Olympic Games dream has shattered after being found to have engaged in unprofessional conduct on tour with the Olyroos. Wilson, Riley McGree (Adelaide United), Lachlan Wales and Nathaniel Atkinson (Melbourne City) were found to have breached Football Federation Australia's code of conduct during the AFC Under-23 Championship qualifying tournament in Cambodia in March.
Wilson, Wales and Atkinson have been banned all national teams until 10 August, a day after the 2020 Olympic Games end, while McGree has been banned until 1 April. The quartet will miss January's AFC Under-23 Championships in Thailand which doubles as qualification for Tokyo 2020. The players can appeal to the independent FFA Disciplinary and Ethics Committee and to the independent FFA Appeals Committee.
CANNING GET THE NOD
Canning City will play State League Division Two football next season after winning the race for the spare position in the league this after South West Phoenix pulled the pin just two weeks before the 2019 season. It looked a certainty that Canning would be selected a few weeks ago, and it was stated that the State League Standing committee unanimously voted for their inclusion. But with a number of clubs also applying for the position, including the Phoenix and Carramar, Football West took their time to come to the decision, but on Tuesday they officially announced it on their website.
They said; “Canning City will fill the final vacancy in State League Division Two in 2020. All clubs were advised of the opportunity to submit an Expression of Interest for the vacant State League Division Two position. It was a competitive process with the State League Standing Committee assessing the merits of each application and making a recommendation to Football West. Football West has ratified the recommendation. Canning City has been advised of the decision and informed Football West that they will accept the offer. The NPL WA, State League Division One and State League Division Two will each have 12 teams from 2020. Football West would like to thank all clubs who submitted an application to be considered in the 2020 State League Division Two competition.
Canning City President Jeff Rowlands said they are delighted with the outcome. “Everyone at Canning City FC are extremely pleased with the decision from Football West for the State League Division Two position for 2020,” he said. “We are looking forward to progressing with our promotion of home grown and local youth in our Canning teams for the upcoming season.”
WA STATE AMATEUR TEAM FIGHT BACK TO EARN A POINT
The Gold Fields WA Amateur team have started their tour of Malaysia with a come from behind 2-2 draw against a Kuala Lumpur FA side at UITM Stadium on Monday evening. Colm Costello’s side found themselves two goals down in the second half, but Quinn’s Liam McManus pulled one back, before the game has held up for 70 minutes due to a thunder storm and lightning. But on resumption WA deservedly levelled through Leeming Strikers Tom Grant.
The performance and the comeback pleased Head Coach Colm Costello. “What a great performance from the lads, I was really proud of them,” he said. “To come back into the game against a very technical and well-drilled Kuala Lumpur side was pleasing and I thought we responded well and showed we can mix it against good teams. It now sets up a cracker of a game against Northern Territory on Wednesday.
“It’s hard to pick out individuals, because it was a great team performance, but I thought (Liam) McManus and skipper Juri Galba were excellent. The substitutes also made a massive impact off the bench and we were very happy that we adjusted to our opponents style of play, and I thought it had an immediate impact, especially in the tough conditions. Wednesday’s game against NT will be a different task, but it’s now a must win game but one we’re looking forward too.”
It looked an uphill battle for WA after they found themselves behind at the break, and they conceded a second against the run of play after half time. But the WA side showed great spirit to fight back and they reduced the margin after some good link up play involving Wembley Downs winger Stephen Geoghegan, was finished clinically by McManus. But then the heavens opened and the referee took both sides off pitch, and with lightning around the Stadium, the game was held up for 70 minutes.
But on resumption the WA sides were on the front and they rewarded with equaliser. Some good movement saw the ball find Grant on the edge of the box and he fired home superbly to level. WA looked for the winner and created some good chances but they had to settle for a draw.
DE VANNA HELPS FIORENTINA FLY HIGH
Lisa De Vanna’s Fiorentina got back to winning ways with a 3-0 victory on the road against Bari in Italy. La Viola had won their first three Serie A Women’s matches in 2019/20 before falling to leaders Juventus and drawing against second-place AC Milan last week.
But De Vanna’s side were back in the win column at Stadio Antonio Antonacci, keeping them two points off the top of the table. The Matildas veteran came on as a second half substitute and set up Tatiana Bonetti to score her second goal of the match and wrap up a convincing 3-0 win.
Denmark international Frederikke Thogersen opened the scoring on nine minutes for the visitors, before Bonetti struck on the stroke of half-time. The Italian striker added the third in the 85th minute after Greta Adami’s crossfield pass was controlled and flicked on by De Vanna.
REDS TO STRONG FOR GLORY YOUTH
Adelaide United Youth produced a great team performance to beat Perth Glory Youth 3-0 in the opening Foxtel Y-League game of the season at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday morning. Lively Reds striker Carlo Armiento was the star, bagging a brace, and he had a hand in the other, while skipper Lachlan Brooks was outstanding, the Young Socceroo striker was everywhere. Glory struggled to get into the game and Head Coach Richard Garcia was very disappointed with his side’s performance. “A very disappointing performance today,” he explained. “Yes, it’s been a tough week for the boys travelling to Singapore, but we can’t use that as an excuse, it’s part of their growth and they need to back up and play their best every week, we didn’t get that today. We showed good signs in patches, but it wasn’t good enough, I’ll be looking for an improvement next week at Melbourne City.”
There was a good crowd in at kick off, and the temperature was in the low 30’s, but it didn’t seem to effect the visitors and they were ahead on five minutes. Brooks picked out Armiento on the left and he eased past his marker and fired low past Jackson Lee. It was nearly 2-0 on 20 minutes, Brooks was again the supplier finding Jai King-Brown on the edge of the box, but his curling effort was superbly tipped around the post by Lee at full stretch. Glory’s first chance came four minutes later, Charlie Leech sent Albert Fullard into the penalty area on the left, but his shot on the run was saved low Dakota Ochsenham. The Reds continued to dictate terms and Yared Abetew headed wide from an Armiento corner, before Armiento’s goal bound shot was well blocked by Zayd Farah, but at the break it was Adelaide in control.
It was more of the same after half time and King-Brown fired over the top early before Brook could only fire into the side netting moments later. Glory keeper Lee then produced a smart save to deny Jason Konstandopoulos, but there was nothing Lee could do when Adelaide doubled their advantage on 52 minutes. King-Byrne sent Armiento down the left, again he cut inside and fired home, his effort deflecting off Glory skipper Luke Bodnar to beat Lee from a tight angle. Garcia made a triple change on 56 minutes with new signing Joshua Langdon coming on for Lee between the sticks, while Mason Tatafu and Ciaran Bramwell came on for Joshua Samson and Gabriel Popovic respectively. Glory started to make inroads and new recruit Giordano Colli saw his effort flash wide of the post, before the former Bayswater City midfielder set up Bryce Bafford whose shot was saved low by Ochsenham.
But with Glory pushing players forward they were caught out again on 77 minutes when Adelaide added a third, Armiento eased past his marker and his deflected shot beat former Gold Coast Knights keeper Langdon. The debutant keeper then produced a good save to deny Daniele Bressan, but at the final whistle it was Adelaide who ran out comprehensive winners. Adelaide Head Coach Paul Pezos was really pleased with his sides dominate performance. “Always positive to start the season with a win, especially to come over here and the conditions, but the boys were fantastic and the set up without the ball was very affective,” he explained. “Take nothing away from Perth they looking sharp and tried to shift us, but we changed things at half time and went on to score three, and could have had more, but the positive was not to concede, so very pleasing.” In the other first round Group A game Brisbane Roar thrashed Melbourne Victory 7-0 at Eric Evans Oval on Saturday, with Mirza Muratovic bagging a hat-trick. In Group B game Sydney FC were also in the goals beating Newcastle Jets 8-3 with Marco Tilio scoring a hat-trick at Leichhardt Oval, while in their first game in the competition Canberra United went down 3-1 to Central Coast Mariners at McKellar Park.
Perth Glory Youth: GK Jackson LEE, (RGK Joshua LANGDON 56’) 2 Zayd FARAH, 4 Alessandro CIRCATI, 5 Luke BODNAR, 6 Joshua SAMSON (13 Bryce BAFFORD 56’), 7 Fraser DUNLOP (17 Mason TATAFU 46’), 8 Jordan ABRAHAMS, 9 Charlie LEECH, 10 Giordano COLLI, 15 Albert FULLARD, 18 Gabriel POPOVIC (16 Ciaran BRAMWELL 56’) - Subs not used: Nil
Adelaide United: GK Dakota OCHSENHAM, 2 Jackson WALLS, 4 Jai KING-BYRNE, 5 Noah SMITH (15 Michael CITTADINI 68’), 7 Taras GOMULKA, 11 Carlo ARMIENTO (16 Alexandar POPOVIC 89’), 12 Yared ABETEW, 13 Daniele BRESSAN, 17 Lachlan BROOK, 19 Jason KONSTANDOPOULOS (18 Mohamed TOURE 60’), 22 Cooper NUNN - Subs not used: RGK Ethan COX
CHARLEY AT THE DOUBLE FOR CANBERRA
Perth Glory haven't started the 2019-20 Westfield W-League campaign well, going down 2-0 to Canberra United at McKellar Park on Sunday afternoon. Last season's beaten Grand Finalists conceded both goals in the opening 11 minutes, with American Simone Charley bagging a brace, and although they pressed to get back into the game, they failed to trouble the scoreboard, but Glory Head coach Bobby Despotovski said there were some positives to take out of the game. "It is always a tough trip and it was a difficult start for us in the game, but after the first 25 minutes we got into it and in the second half we came out with a completely different attitude," he told the Glory website.
"We were not scared to play and took the game to Canberra. So, although I wasn't very happy with the start, I was happy with about 65 minutes of the game and now we'll work hard for the next two weeks to make sure that we're better when we play Sydney FC. It's difficult for the young players to jump in and be told to play against one of the most successful teams in the W-League, but it's an experience that is only going to make them better. I'm ever so proud of what this group that we brought to Canberra did today. Some of the players have had to step up from the State League, but they never stopped running and fighting for the team. So overall, even though we lost, I'm very happy at this moment in time." In their first game without Sam Kerr, and Despotovski gave a Glory debut to Katarina Jukic up top, while new imports Celia Jimenez Delgado, Morgan Andrews, Crystal Thomas and Arianna Romero were unavailable.
But it was the home side who opened brightly with Brazilian Camila in the middle of everything for them. They opened the scoring on six minutes, a cross into the box by Camila found Charley and she made no mistake from close-range. It was 2-0 on 11 minutes, Charley received the ball out wide on the right, and cut inside the penalty area and curled home superbly giving Eliza Campbell no chance. Caitlin Doeglas and Kim Carroll both went close for Glory as they looked for a lifeline back into the game, but in the shadows of half time Glory had keeper Campbell to thank for keeping it to two. Camila was given far too much room in the middle of the park and raced forward before unleashing a powerful long-range strike, but Campbell was equal to it, producing a great save at full stretch to deny the Brazilian.
After the break, Katie Stengel came close to giving United a three-goal buffer, after having a shot blocked and then coming inches away from finishing a Charley cross from point-blank range. Charley nearly sealed a hat-trick on debut when she was played in on goal in the hour, but she was unable to bury her low shot past Campbell. She found herself in more space minutes later and despite taking the ball past the defender, her left-footed shot from outside the box was blocked.
Glory weren’t without chances too and Leticia McKenna played Jukic in on goal, but she was flagged for offside. Then, Alexia Moreno picked up the ball in a dangerous position, but her low, left-footed shot from outside the box was saved by Sham Khamis. McKenna had another attempt from outside the box with just over 10 minutes to play, but the shot floated wide of the goal.
Elsewhere in the league Western Sydney Wanderers opened the season with a 2-1 win against Adelaide United at Marconi Stadium on Thursday evening. May Fowler gave the hosts the lead on 39 minutes, before Kristen Hamilton levelled for the home side five minutes later. Wanderers won it in the second minute of stoppage time with Kyra Cooney-Cross on target to give new coach Dean Heffernan a win on his game in charge. Sydney FC won the big blue beating Melbourne Victory 3-0 Jubilee Stadium on Sunday. First half goals from Remy Siemsen gave the Sky Blues a 2-0 lead at the break, with Shadeene Evans adding a third late. In the final game Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City have fought out a 1-1 draw at No2 Sportsground, Broadmeadow. Matilidas star Emily van Egmond gave City the lead at the break, but a goal from Teigan Collister gave both sides a share of the spoils.
Canberra United: GK Sham Khamis, 2 Laura Hughes, 3 Kaleigh Kurtz, 4 Jessie Rasschaert, (23 Lauren Keir 85’), 5 Nikola Orgill, 7 Simone Charley, 8 Olivia Price, 9 Katie Stengel, 10 Camila, 16 Karly Roestbakken (6 Emma Stanbury 73’), 19 Leena Khamis (15 Ashlie Crofts 63’) - Subs not used: RGK Annalee Grove - Yellow Cards: Camila 68’
Perth Glory: GK Eliza Campbell, 3 Kim Carroll, 10 Julia Sardo, 11 Leticia McKenna, 13 Jamie-Lee Gale, 14 Caitlin Doeglas, 15 Alexia Moreno (4 Ayesha Norrie 62’), 17 Liana Cook 12 Jenna Onions 75’), 18 Isabella Foletta (5 Shannon May 46’), 24 Natasha Rigby, 28 Katarina Jukic - Subs not used: RGK Morgan Aquino – Yellow Cards: Moreno 54’, Rigby 75’ - Referee: Isabella Blaess
AUSTRALIA UNDER 23 IMPRESSIVE IN CHINA
Australia under 23's are warming up for their upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic games qualifies in Thailand in January with a tournament in China against the hosts, DPR Korea and Lithuania. They started the tour with an impressive 5-1 win against hosts China at Chongqing City Dazu District Sports Centre Stadium on Friday evening. Young Adelaide United winger Al Hassan Toure capped off an impressive debut in Green and Gold by scoring the third on the night, with other goals from Daniel Bouman, Jacob Italiano, Ramy Najjarine and Ben Folami. The 19-year-old looked at home after declaring himself to Australia ahead of the country of his birth, Guinea, and the country of his parents, Liberia.
Australia hit the front on 20 minutes when Panos Armenakas' free kick found Bouman, and the SC Cambuur player headed past the Chinese keeper. It was 2-0 with former Perth Glory midfielder Jacob Italiano on target, the Borussia Mönchengladbach player found space on the edge of the box and curled home a stunning strike. It was 3-0 before the break, Toure's stinging drive from the edge of the penalty area gave the keeper no chance. The hosts did pull one back before half time, but it was a good first 45 minutes from Australia.
But Australia took control again after the break and it wasn't a surprise when they made it 4-1 on the hour. Fortuna Düsseldorf left-back Josh Laws’ superb delivery into the box found Najjarine, and the Melbourne City youngster headed home. The performance was impressive and the icing was put on the cake eight minutes from time when they added a fifth. Folami, of English side Ipswich Town, produced a fine sol effort, beating two defenders and scoring, to make the final score 5-1.
In the second game on Sunday the side ran out 4-0 winners against DPR Korea at the same venue. Australia took the lead on the half hour when Alex Gersbach’s cross caused havoc in the penalty area, leaving Zach Duncan, Gersbach’s teammate at Danish Superliga outfit AGF, to lash home the opener. Wellington Phoenix starlet Reno Piscopo doubled the advantage following a superb free-kick from 25-yards just after the hour mark. Tass Mourdoukoutas of Western Sydney Wanderers made it 3-0 with a powerful header from Ramy Najjarine’s corner.
The rout was completed by Daniel Bouman in dying minutes of normal time, with the midfielder from Eerste Divisie outfit SC Cambur tapping home at the back post after Connor O’Toole’s excellent assist. Australia U-23 wrap up their three-match tour of China against Lithuania on Tuesday, 19 November (kick off 7.00pm AEDT. The 16-team 2020 AFC U-23 Championship, hosted by Thailand in January, will decide the three Asian teams who join host nation Japan at the Olympic football tournament. Australia will meet the host nation, Iraq and Bahrain in Group A,
Australia Under-23 squad: Panos ARMENAKAS (Panathinaikos, Greece), Keanu BACCUS (Western Sydney Wanderers FC), Daniel BOUMAN (SC Cambuur, Netherlands), Jake BRIMMER (Perth Glory), Gabriel CLEUR (U.S. Alessandria, Italy), Thomas DENG (Melbourne Victory), Zach DUNCAN (AGF Aarhus, Denmark), Ben FOLAMI (Ipswich Town FC, England), Alex GERSBACH (AGF Aarhus, Denmark), Thomas GLOVER (Melbourne City), Kosta GROZOS (Western Sydney Wanderers), Jordan HOLMES (Ebbsfleet Town, England), Jacob ITALIANO (Borussia Monchengladbach, Germany), Anthony KALIK (HNK Hajduk Split, Croatia), Josh LAWS (Fortuna Dusseldorf II, Germany), Daniel MARGUSH (Adelaide United), Connor METCALFE (Melbourne City), Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS (Western Sydney Wanderers), Ramy NAJJARINE (Melbourne City), Connor O’TOOLE (Brisbane Roar), Nick PENNINGTON (Olbia Calcio, Italy), Reno PISCOPO (Wellington Phoenix FC, New Zealand), Dylan RYAN (Willem II Tilburg, Netherlands), Al Hassan TOURE (Adelaide United), Harry VAN DER SAAG (Sydney FC)
BURGESS PLAYING FOR THE CLASS OF '92
West Australian Cameron Burgess is making his mark at the highly ambitious Salford City, the English club owned by Manchester United's famous Class of '92. The 24-year old defender joined Salford on a season-long loan from Scunthorpe United in July, following the club’s promotion to League Two.
Salford has enjoyed a fairytale run since it was bought by Ryan Giggs, the Neville brothers, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and David Beckham. The former Manchester United greats took over in 2014 and in that period the Ammies have been promoted four times and reached the Football League for the first time in their 79-year history.
Salford currently sit 11th in League Two, just three points below the play-off places. Burgess admits expectations are high at a club firmly ensconced in the spotlight. “It’s pretty ambitious, to be fair,” said Burgess, who played for ECU Joondalup as a junior.
“It’s high standards, especially on the field with the people off it who are involved, from all angles to the coaches, the director of football, the directors and all things like that. It’s a pretty well-run club that is very ambitious, as you can see from the outside, and it’s all about getting the results and getting the club where the fans and the directors want us to be.”
“You can see where they (the Class of '92) want to go. They’ve been successful so quickly that it’s all going to catch up. It is really exciting times for the club. You can see with the little changes that day-in-day-out they’re trying to improve on, where can they go next on and off the pitch. It is pretty cool to be involved in.”
Burgess didn’t get on the field in the first seven matches of the season but has been a mainstay since September, playing the past ten games in a row. The towering centre-back has scored twice in the past two league goals, finding the back of the net against parent club Scunthorpe and Newport County.
“It’s been good. It’s been a case of moving across, getting used to a few things, the way they want us to play, and biding my time really,” he explained. “We got some decent results towards the start of the season, I’ve made my way into the team and it’s been good since then. The gaffer here, he’s the one that signed me at Scunthorpe.”
“I always had a relationship with him anyway and they happened to be in the market for a centre-half and at that time at Scunthorpe they wanted to rejig a few things after being relegated. I was given the chance to come on loan here and work with a manager I’ve worked with before.”
“You know what’s expected of you when you come in, you know the bare minimum expected and he knows what I have to offer. So it was a pretty smooth transition in terms of on the field. There’s a lot of competition. I didn’t get in the team straight away, as I was just moving across and getting settled.”
“But obviously once you get your shirt you want to keep it, it’s highly competitive and that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. If I can help the team with a couple of goals here and there then it’s all good. Also trying to get some wins, that’s the important one, and trying to climb the table.”
Phil Neville, Gary Neville, Butt, Scholes, Giggs and Beckham all own a 10% stake each of the Ammies, with the remaining 40% owned by Valencia CF owner Peter Lim. Burgess says he has yet to meet the group of ex-Red Devils in person, but their presence and high expectations of the club remains noticeable at Moor Lane.
“They’ve got other jobs on the weekend, they’re either coaches or pundits, so they don’t get too much chance to come along,” the former Olyroo said. “But they’ve got people in place who do, who are there all the time. They’ve got people in place like Chris Casper, he’s the director of football.”
“They’ve got a really good relationship so I don’t think they actually have to be there as much. It’s kind of a weird one as you’d think with them having a football background they’d be there all the time, but it’s not the case, as they are the owners.”
“At a normal football club you’d never see the owners. They obviously want us to do well, they’re always paying attention and keeping an eye on us and all the rest of it, but with other jobs it’s hard for them to be there all the time.”
The Class of '92 have set heady goals for Salford, with a target of reaching the Championship by 2029. Burgess isn’t ruling out another push at going up this season. “There’s got to be some kind of stabilising at some point because it’s hard to go and get back-to-back promotions every year,” he said.
“It’s a small club at its highest level, and that will always be remembered and for the next couple of seasons, but here it’s kind of - we’ve done that, what’s next? It doesn’t really get spoken about, look what we’ve achieved. It’s more: what can we achieve next? That’s the attitude around the place so it’s quite good.”
KNOWLES WINS ECU F&B
ECU Joondalup Soccer Club striker Joe Knowles, who returned to the club after stints at Perth Glory and overseas, capped off a stand out season by being voted the clubs Player of the Year at the club’s presentation at the ECU Football Stadium club rooms. He won a close count ahead of keeper and club skipper Johnny Perkins, midfielder, Josh Whitmore, defender Shane Cassidy, and the striker also won the top goalscorer award.
Knowles was shocked to win the award but thanked the club for giving him the opportunity to play this season. “Yes, it was a little surprising considering only playing half the season but very grateful for the award,” he explained. “I worked hard to get back fit and sharp and to help the boys out for the uphill battle which was the second half of the season.”
Keeper Johnny Perkins has been rewarded for another excellent season between the sticks by picking up the Players Player of the Year. “It’s an honour to have been chosen by my peers for this award, especially when I look around at the talent at the club,” he said. “Obviously, I would trade individual awards for team success but it’s a real privilege nonetheless.”
In the under 20’s James Bruce won the Player of the Year, and he was happy to win it, but disappointed they missed out on the top four finals. “It’s a great achievement winning the under 20s Player of the Year so hopefully it’s just a start of many great things to come,” he said. “I’d like to than the boys for the year and making it an enjoyable season even though we were all disappointed missing out on top four. It’s another year that I’ve been coached by Jonathan Higgins and I’m always learning new things on and off the pitch so a big thank you to him.”
Luke Rhodes broke into the first team late in the season and he was voted as the Player’s Player of the Year. “Yes, it’s been a great year of football with this bunch of lads, one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed,” he said. “Although we didn’t win the trophies we set out to at the beginning of the year, it’s always nice to get some recognition from your mates after a good season.” The top goalscorer award was won by Dor Jok and Ben Hinshelwood. In the under 18’ Harry Blunt won the Players Player of the Year and the top goalscorer awards, while Luke Davies won the Coaches’ Player of the Year award.
KERR EXIT OPENS THE DOOR FOR LOCAL GLORY TALENT TO SHINE
New-look Perth Glory Women face the challenge of repeating last season’s W-League Grand Final appearance with a young squad laden with local talent. They will be without stellar striker Sam Kerr, who has signed for Chelsea, but coach Bobby Despotovski said her departure opened the door to another potential star.
And they will start their season away to Canberra United tomorrow without their four international signings after their arrival was hampered by an administrative mix-up by the United States Soccer Federation. “It means others will take the opportunity to step up and show us what they can do,” Glory legend Despotovski said.
“New players have signed, there’s some old faces from a couple of seasons ago, and plenty of young talent from Perth. We decided to go a different way this year and give a younger generation of kids a go and see what they can produce. There is a lot of local talent on show. It is our determination to give local WA players an opportunity.
“Every year I say the first thing is to be competitive and get into the top four. Everything goes from there. We’re not going to deviate from that. We’ll be starting with that on Sunday. We start with the long trip to Canberra. It’s always hard but it’s not an excuse. We have prepared as much as we can. I’m very happy with where the girls are.”
SOCCEROOS COACHES PLANNED TAGGART'S GOAL
Striker Adam Taggart was expecting Jordan goalkeeper Amer Shefi to go to ground when he scored the winner in Australia's 2022 World Cup qualifier in Amman. The 26-year old's goal lifted the Socceroos to a 1-0 victory in Jordan on Thursday night, their first away win over the hosts.
Taggart's strike seemed simple enough after he ran onto Jackson Irvine's through-ball and chipped goalkeeper Amer Shefi in the 13th minute. The Suwon Bluewings striker says it was like history repeating as he had been practising that same finish in training.
"It was a good team goal, exactly what we worked on the training ground to be honest, so it was nice get that opportunity," Taggart said. "Once I'd gone through I knew exactly what to do from the information we all had from the coaching staff. So it was a nice team goal."
Manager Graham Arnold says the Socceroos coaching staff had worked with Taggart on the scenario after noticing Jordanian defensive habits in their analysis. The mentor said that the hosts' centre backs usually charged out if other players managed to get between the lines, which is what Irvine did in the lead-up to the goal.
"When he starts going into Jackson (you) make a run in the space behind where the centre back comes out from and it worked great," Arnold said. He said the next step was the reactions of the goalkeeper Shefi, who had a habit of falling to the ground in one-on-one situations. Then it was just a matter of lifting the ball into the net.
Taggart said it was an example of the great team goal, given the involvement of both Irvine and the coaching staff. "Literally that exact scenario is what we'd worked on, we knew we would have that situation coming into the game," he said. "So I was ready and I didn't need to much time to think about, I knew exactly what do."
TAGGART PUTS SOCCEROOS ONE STEP CLOSER TO QATAR
Australia has maintained their 100% start to World Cup qualifying with a crucial victory over Jordan which puts them well on the way to Qatar 2022. A goal from Adam Taggart was enough to claim victory in Amman, giving the Socceroos four successive wins in the first stage of qualification.
"It is important to end the year on a high and it's a tough place to come and history has shown how difficult it is for any country to come here," Taggart said. "We're all really happy with the result and I think we've still got a lot to go, and there's still a lot to build on."
The Socceroos struck early, Jackson Irvine threading a perfectly-weighted pass between the centre-backs allowing Taggart to neatly finished past goalkeeper Amer Shafi after 13 minutes. Irvine fluffed a golden chance to double the lead off Aaron Mooy's corner by smashing the ball high from just outside the 6-yard box.
It wasn’t until the second half that Jordan started to spark but a combination of poor finishing and Socceroos goalkeeper Matt Ryan kept the hosts scoreless. Taggart played the opening 70 minutes of the encounter with fellow West Australian Trent Sainsbury featuring for the full 90.
O’NEILL READY FOR THE BIG BLUE
Former Perth Glory and ECU Joondalup midfielder Brandon O’Neill has spoken on the eve of the big blue against Melbourne Victory and he believes the 6-1 hammering Sydney FC handed out to their rivals would have been eating away at them for the entire off-season. As the two sides get set to meet for the first time in the 2019/20 Hyundai A-League campaign on Sunday afternoon, O’Neill says the Sky Blues are more than prepared to face a Victory outfit hell-bent on revenge. “It’s good, isn’t it? It should dig at them,” O’Neill said, reflecting on his side’s Semi-Final win last season. “I don’t think any team or any professional organisation likes being beaten like that, if they want to use that as motivation it would be only just. I think if we were in that similar situation and some team wiped the floor with us in the Semi-Final like that, I’d be exactly the same. I’d want to batter them 7-1 rather than 6-1.”
The rivalry resumes at Nestrata Jubilee Stadium – the scene of Sydney’s mauling of Victory – providing the visitors an early opportunity to start mending the damage dealt to them by the ruthless Sky Blues in the 6-1 win. O’Neill knows exactly what’s on the line as the Big Blue approaches. He’s read all the storylines, soaked up all the pressure, and is confident Sydney FC can not only go out there and win, but win emphatically once again. “We’ll go out there and try and replicate what we did in the Semi-Final,” he said. “They can throw everything at us. We know everyone this weekend will be talking about the 6-1 Semi-Final drubbing, we know everyone will be talking about Victory wanting to get revenge, and it will be built up in the media as a revenge twist to that game. “We’re a team where we’re very composed in difficult circumstances like that. We’re cool, we’re calm, we’re collected, and we’ll do everything in our utmost power that week to prepare as best as we can. If we score four, five or six – happy days, but if we score one and win 1-0, even better.”
GLORY HEAD TO CANBERRA FOR W-LEAGUE OPENER
After losing the Grand Final last season Perth Glory will be looking for a good start to the 2019-2020 season, but they head into the new season with a tough trip to McKellar Park to take on Canberra United. (kick-off ??) pm)'s not been the best hunting ground for Glory, but if you want goals this one might be the game for you with the two sides battling out 4-4 draws in both games last season, and they met each other twice in the opening five rounds of this season, so to get off to a good start is vital for both sides.
They head into Sunday’s game without skipper and marquee Sam Kerr, who signed for Chelsea in the English Super League this week, but Head coach Bobby Despotovski will have a squad bristling with local and overseas talent. Celia Jimenez Delgado, Morgan Andrews, Crystal Thomas and Arianna Romero have all joined the club this week, subject to international clearance, but the youngsters in the squad the likes of Leticia McKenna, Caitlin Doeglas and Lexie Moreno will be better for a season in the competition and all three will be looking for more game time this season.
Glory were the equal-highest scorers in the league last season, but top scorers Kerr, Rachel Hill and Alyssa Mautz, who combined for 28 of the Glory's 34 goals last season, are all no longer at the club so where do the goals come from, that’s the big question, but Despotovski will have no problem giving his youngster a chance. 17-year-old McKenna showed experience beyond her years last season, making 13 appearances and bagging two goals. Meanwhile, 18-year-old Young Matildas midfielder Moreno featured only four times, scoring one goal, but both players showed they can play and it will be interesting to see if Despotovski gives them more minutes.
Head coach Despotovski is looking forward to the season opener. "We've had four good weeks of pre-season and everyone is excited to get going," he told the Glory website. “It's a long trip to Canberra, but it's good to get it out of the way early in the season and we have a bye the week after. So, we'll look to get a good start and then we have some more preparation time before our next game. We are going to look to play the majority of the young girls that we have and we'll see how we go. We have some older girls who will be leaders on the park and help the younger ones that are coming through, plus the four internationals coming in.
"I think it's a good blend of youth, experience and the internationals and now it's up to the young girls to take their chance and keep their place in the starting eleven. I've never been one to worry about the opposition too much in terms of who they have in their team. We always focus much more on how we play, our style and who the best players are for the various positions to give us the best chance of winning the game. If we do all of our things correctly and are organised defensively, we have a good chance to win the game."
They go into this season with a new skipper with Natasha Rigby appointed to succeed Kerr, and the defender is honoured to be selected and was quick to wish Kerr luck in the UK. “It is an incredible honour and I am still pinching myself,” she told the Glory website. “We have such a beautiful team and I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for this opportunity. “It is absolutely heartbreaking to lose Sammy [Kerr], but she has an ocean of opportunities ahead of her and we will be cheering her on from afar.
“They are huge shoes to fill, but I have learned a lot from her over the last few years and I just want to focus on doing my part for the team. All I can do is lead by example, wear my heart on my sleeve and motivate the team to come together and do their best. We have some amazingly experienced players like Kim Carroll and Shannon May, so it will be vital to draw on their knowledge and expertise as well. We have a talented young team, everyone is very respectful, motivated and eager to make their mark and I'm looking forward to the season ahead.”
KERR HEADS TO CHELSEA
The worst kept secret in football was finally announced on Wednesday, with Sam Kerr signing for English Super League club Chelsea. The Blue's currently sit top of the table and with the addition of Kerr, arguably one of the best strikers in the world, they will be hoping to pick up their third Super League title after winning it in 2015 and 2017-18. Kerr has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal at the club and she said she is looking forward to the move. "The WSL is the best league in Europe, and I want team success and I don't want it to come easy," she said. "I feel Chelsea have been building something special over the years and I want to be a part of that - I want to lift some trophies."
Chelsea fought off interest from a number of top European clubs including six-time Champions League winners Lyon, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. Although Kerr will be well paid the striker could have earned more money elsewhere but the opportunity to work with Hayes and live in London, where she has family connections, are among the reasons she opted for Chelsea. She also wanted to end the continuous cycle of playing in the NWSL and W-League back-to-back, as she has done in the past few seasons.
The 26-year-old thanked her former club (Perth Glory) sending a personal message on twitter. "It's been amazing to represent my home town for so long and a huge honour to captain the club," she said. "The support from Perth has always been unbelievable. Thank you to Tony Sage and his family for believing in me and the team. Bobby (Despotovski) has been a huge support to me and I will miss our friendship more than anything. To my Glory teammates, we share a special bond and I will miss you girls tremendously!"
Glory CEO Tony Pignata wished Kerr all the very best for the future. “Sam has been an incredible player for Glory on the field and a superb ambassador off it,” he told the Glory website. "She has played a huge role in lifting the profile of women’s football to an unprecedented level both here in WA and across Australia. We hope that she may return to the club at some point in the future, but for now would like to thank her sincerely for all efforts and wish her all the very best in her future endeavours. I’m sure that everyone associated with Perth Glory will continue to follow Sam’s career closely and celebrate her remarkable achievements.”
Chelsea Head Coach Emma Hayes said Kerr's decision to head to the club is a great boost for the club. "The fact she chose Chelsea when she could have gone to any club in the world is a testament to the players and the staff here," she said. "Sam has proved time and time again in the NWSL that she is a prolific goalscorer, and she's won the Golden Boot many times and she's a player that can make things happen, but she's also a fantastic team player. She saw this as the best place for her to grow and take the next step in her career. That's a wonderful compliment to us all."
RIGBY TO LEAD GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory Women is delighted to announce Natasha Rigby has team captain for the 2019/20 season. The 26-year old defender takes over the captains' armband from Sam Kerr, who has joined English glamour club Chelsea.
Rigby has made 39 appearances for Glory since debuting in 2016 and is thrilled by the prospect of leading the team. "It is an incredible honour and I am still pinching myself," she said. "We have such a beautiful team and I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for this opportunity."
"It is absolutely heartbreaking to lose Sammy (Kerr), but she has an ocean of opportunities ahead of her and we will be cheering her on from afar. They are huge shoes to fill, but I have learned a lot from her over the last few years and I just want to focus on doing my part for the team."
"All I can do is lead by example, wear my heart on my sleeve and motivate the team to come together and do their best. We have a talented young team, everyone is very respectful, motivated and eager to make their mark and I'm looking forward to the season ahead."
Coach Bobby Despotovski is confident Rigby will prove to be an inspirational leader for what is a young Glory Women squad. "Tash came in as a State League pick-up and has never missed a beat since," Despotovski commented.
"She's bubbly, team-orientated, takes everything in her stride and will do everything in her powers to lead the team. She's a very happy, positive person and we need someone like that to help take our younger players to the next level."
SAINSBURY SHINING IN HAIFA
Australia defender Trent Sainsbury's risky decision to swap the Dutch Eredivisie for the Israeli Premier League has helped him rediscover his form. Socceroos manager Graham Arnold has given the nod to Sainsbury's need to prioritise match minutes by ditching Dutch giants PSV for Israeli side Maccabi Haifa.
It's about a year since the defender sealed a move to the Eredivisie but as the northern European winter sets in he's enjoying sunnier climes on the shores of the Mediterranean. The 27-year-old had found himself sitting on the bench during the back end of last season after falling out of favour with PSV coach Mark van Bommel.
So in late August he made the switch to the Israel Premier League and he's enjoying his new life. "There are certain things that are a bit different, like there's a bit of difference in the food that you can find, the mentality is different. They are a lot more open and friendly in Israel," he said. "I guess, for me personally, the hot weather is nice."
Despite a recent two-game injury layoff, Sainsbury has rediscovered form and played his part in four wins in the five games he has started for the Greens. He said his new club has gone beyond what he expected to welcome him and he has grown into a senior role on the field.
"Everyone basically speaks English, they've all got great mentalities, they all really want to work hard and learn and we've got such a young squad as well," Sainsbury said. "It so easy for me to go in and represent that leadership that the club was looking for."
Maccabi sit second in the league after Sunday's 3-1 win over Beitar Jerusalem-a game Sainsbury played in before he flew into Socceroos camp in neighbouring Jordan. Arnold, who first developed the defender at the Central Coast Mariners and is his father-in-law, backed Sainsbury for taking the plunge.
"Trent had a decision to make, he could have stayed at PSV and probably sat and watched again for another year; he didn't play that much football last year," Arnold said. "But he made a decision, he wanted to get out, he wanted to go somewhere where he was going to play every week and enjoy life, and that's what he's doing."
Sainsbury, who's been part of the senior national side since being called up by Holger Osieck in 2013, said being in camp was like being back with his "best mates" again. His recent club performances have him pushing to make his second start of the qualifiers when the Socceroos face Jordan this week.
"The main reason I left PSV is because I wanted to go somewhere and play, and I think at Maccabi I've seen myself playing every week, being a leader and taking the club onto bigger and better things," Sainsbury said. "When you're confidence is high, you're playing your best football. That's what I hope to bring, what I trust I'll bring, to the national team."
ROMERO RETURNS FOR MORE GLORY
Perth Glory Women have confirmed defender Arianna Romero has re-joined the club for the 2019/20 W-League season. The Mexican international is no stranger to Glory fans having spent the 2016/17 season with the club, during which she made 14 appearances.
A resolute, ball-playing centre-back, Romero boasts extensive experience in the National Women's Soccer League with both Washington Spirit and Houston Dash and has also plied her trade in Iceland and Norway. The 27-year old is looking forward to her second spell with Glory.
"When I was in Perth two years ago, I felt as though we made a lot of strides as a team and I evolved as a defender," she said. "I’m looking forward to getting back to work, reuniting with my teammates, coaches and fans and working towards our goal of bringing a championship to Perth."
"With a lot of new talent coming through the W-League this season, I personally can’t wait to compete and work every day to reach our goals. I’ve been itching to get back to soccer after a short off-season, so I can’t wait to meet the squad and to get the season started."
CASTIELLO WINS BALCATTA'S FAIREST AND BEST
After dodging relegation on the final day of the last two seasons, Balcatta Soccer Club were the big improvers in 2019 and they finished fourth, before eventually going down narrowly to Floreat Athena in the Top Four Finals. Their successful season came to end last month when defensive midfielder Alex Castiello took out the clubs Fairest and Best award at their Presentation Night at the Empire Function Centre. In his second season at Grindleford Reserve, Castiello proved to be a versatile player switching from his defensive role to a midfield one during the season and Head coach Goran Stajic said it was a well-deserved award.
"I am proud of Alex’s season and his performances were recognised by winning the club’s F&B. He has invested a lot of energy last season and on top of that I played him in a new position, our younger and dare I say older players will be able to learn a lot from him," Stajic explained. "He is a professional who loves his football and our club, as soon as the season finished the club ensured me that he will be resigned immediately. The challenge for Alex now is to keep going where he left off and to help the club win trophies."
Castiello said to win the award was special, especially with the talent the club has in their squad. "I was very pleased to win the award, and I really enjoyed the season last year with the group we have," he said. "We have a good mix of good experienced players John Kearney and Calum O’Connell and we also have some great talent coming through like Adam Zimarino, Callum Timmins and Anthony Topini. The coaching staff backed me to play a new role, and I am very appreciative of that because I really enjoyed playing my football there."
The 25-year-old said they will be looking to go one better next season and push for the title, especially after recruiting well in the off-season. "It was a good finish for us, and to reach the top four was one of our goals at the start of the year," Castiello said "Credit goes to all the staff who really did put in a lot of time to coach and look after us. We have a taste now though, and collectively we have agreed we want to compete for it all and with the team we have we should. We have some great additions to the team Monty, Harmer and Robinson to mention a few and we are all hungry and ready to compete."
KERR TIGHT-LIPPED AMID CHELSEA RUMOURS
Matildas captain Sam Kerr is preparing for a long-overdue holiday amid rumours she is on the verge is joining English heavyweights Chelsea. “You will see very soon,” she said after Australia’s 1-0 friendly win against Chile last night. “Honestly, I’m just excited for it to all to get out there for everyone to see.”
Kerr declined to detail an announcement timeframe, instead preferring to sights set on a holiday. She has been playing constantly, rotating between Perth Glory in Australia’s W-League and Chicago Red Stars in the United States’ National Women’s Soccer League. “For now, I’m on a break for three weeks... it’s much-needed,” Kerr said.
Asked how many games she had played in a year which included a World Cup campaign, Kerr replied: “Too many.... no - a lot, a lot,” she said. “And I’m really looking forward to a break. It’s the first time ever I have had scheduled time off where I can go on a holiday and take care of myself.
“It’s my body - obviously I have been going back and forth (between Australia and the US) - but also my mind. I have been going non-stop. And the Matildas have gained a whole lot of exposure in the last few years so our lives have changed dramatically. It will just be nice to turn off from football and enjoy myself.”
Kerr planned time with her Perth-based family before holidaying in Bali after playing a customary leading role in the Matildas’ sweep of the two-game friendly series against Chile. After scoring both goals in a 2-1 win on Saturday, Kerr set-up the only goal of last night’s 1-0 victory.
GLORY LAND VERSATILE FORWARD THOMAS
Perth Glory Women has further strengthened their attacking option with the recruitment of American striker Crystal Thomas for the 2019/20 W-League season. The versatile 25-year old made 13 appearances for Washington Spirit last season, scoring three goals as her team placed fifth in the National Women's Soccer League.
Originally from Illinois, Thomas is a Georgetown University graduate who arrives in Perth with European experience having played with Valur (Iceland) and Medkila II (Norway). And the former United States Under-20 and Under-23 international cannot wait to make her W-League debut in the famous purple.
"I think this move to Perth Glory will allow me to play for a club that is dedicated to success," Thomas said. "The players, staff and fans are all committed and I am looking forward to playing with the team and for Head Coach Bobby Despotovski and interacting with our fans."
"I’m excited to work to score goals and help the team win; my objective is to help the team win in every way possible. I know other players that have competed for Perth Glory and they hold the club in high esteem. I am excited to follow in their footsteps as we compete this season. I’m extremely excited to join the team and get the season started!"
KOREA MOVE LANDS TAGGART FA CUP GLORY
The Australian double act of Adam Taggart and Terry Antonis have picked up silverware in their debut season in South Korea, with Suwon Bluewings romping to FA Cup glory. Both started and scored - Antonis on 57 minutes and Taggart on 73 - in Sunday night’s 4-0 thumping of third tier Daejeon Korail after the first leg had finished goalless.
It was the perfect send off for FIFA World Cup duty for Taggart, who claimed his first professional title with the victory. “I’m over the moon to be a part of an FA Cup winning team here in my first year in Korea ... it has really topped off a great season and couldn’t be more proud of the effort from everyone today,” said Taggart.
Taggart is level pegging with Ulsan Hyundai’s Junior Negao for the Golden Boot with 16 goals apiece with just two games left. If they finish tied the 26-year old former ECU Joondalup junior will take the gong by virtue of starting three fewer games than the Brazilian.
FRESH START HELPS RISDON REDISCOVER SOCCEROOS FORM
Defender Josh Risdon has paid tribute to his Western United teammates for their part in his recall to the Socceroos squad. The 27-year old, who has 14 Socceroos caps, last turned out for Graham Arnold’s side in the AFC Asian Cup opener in January, when an groin injury ended his tournament prematurely.
Risdon played only one more A-League game for Western Sydney Wanderers before the injury forced him to shut down the rest of his 2018/19 campaign. After more than six months rehabbing, Risdon returned to the field with his new club Western United and helped them make history by starring in their first five competitive fixtures.
Risdon’s performances in green and black attracted the attention of Arnold, who has called up the defender for the first time in almost 12 months. But the Western Australian says he could not have done it without the efforts of his club teammates, who have collected 10 points to sit second in the A-League ladder.
“It’s really good to be back involved in camp,” Risdon said. “It’s been a while since I’ve been here but it’s always a privilege to come in to the national team set up and I’m really enjoying it. We’ve got off to a pretty decent start and I’m really enjoying it at Western United. The club is really good, we’ve got a great bunch of boys in the team.”
“We’ve started off really well. It’s early doors, we’ve still got a lot to improve on but we’ve started on the right foot and hopefully we can keep going. We’ve got off to a really good start and that’s probably helped me a lot in these first five games to get back into the squad.”
Risdon will battle Sydney FC's Rhyan Grant for the starting right-back spot against Jordan on Friday. “That’s really healthy to have competition for places in the team,” he said. “Rhyan has done really well over the last year or so. I’m coming back in now to put some pressure on him and just do well and make that healthy environment of competition for places in the squad.”
Ahead of the arrival of the rest of his international teammates for the World Cup qualifier in Amman, Risdon paired with Grant to attend a football camp for underprivileged kids at the Jordan Football Association’s headquarters. The community program helps young boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 14 to play football three times a week.
“It’s great,” Risdon added. “We’ve done a lot of this stuff in Australia and to do it overseas is pretty cool. To get out to the communities and see these kids that have got a lot of talent, these ones especially. It’s always great to get out and amongst it and have a smile on your face. It takes you back to doing this sort of stuff for fun.”
GLORY YOUTH BEATEN IN SINGAPORE
The hosts were ahead on nine minutes, when the two senior players in the Singapore side combined. Tajeli Salamat played in striker Faris Ramli, both who are in the squad as over-age players, and Salamat squared the ball to Haiqal Pashia to score. It was 2-0 moments later Irfan Fandi heading home powerfully. Singapore added a third on 57 minutes when Pashia’s cross picked out Hami Syahin, who made no mistake. Glory had a chance to pull one back on the hour when they were awarded a penalty, but midfielder Bryce Bafford saw his spot kick flash wide of the target. But six minutes later the hosts were awarded a penalty when Ramli was brought down by Hristijan Jankuloski, and Ramli picked himself up to score from the spot to make it 4-0. Glory continued to take the be game to their hosts and were rewarded two minutes from time when big defender Alessandro Circati headed home. The Glory begin their Foxtel Y-League this weekend when they host Adelaide United at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday (10.30am kick-off)
Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 3 Nicholas MCDONALD, 5 Luke BODNAR (C), 6 Jayden LEADER, 8 Bryce BAFFORD, 9 Ciaran BRAMWELL, 10 Giordano COLLI, 11 Albert FULLARD, 14 Ethan BROOKS, 16 Joshua SAMSON, 18 Zayd FARAH – Subs: RGK Joshua LANGDON, 2 Nick WALSH, 4 Mason TATAFU, 7 Christian BELLADONNA, 12 Alessandro CIRCATI, 13 Jacob MUIR, 15 Fraser DUNLOP, 19 Joseph FORDE
Singapore U-22: GK Zharfan ROHAIZAD, 2 Haiqal NAJEEB, 6 Jacob MAHLER, 10 Faris RAMLI*, 14 Lionel TAN, 16 Irfan FANDI (C), 21 Joedan VESTERING, 24 Naqiuddin EUNOS, 26 Hami SYAHIN, 27 Tajeli SALAMAT*, 31 Ryhaqn STEWART - Subs: RGK Kenji ASYRAF, 3 Irfan NAJEEB, 4 Shah SHAHIRAN, 5 Amiruldin ASRAF, 7 Zulqarnaen SUZLIMAN, 8 Joshua PEREIRA, 9 Syukri BASHIR, 11 Nur LUQMAN RAHMAN, 12 Syahrul SAZALI, 19 Sharul NIZAM ANWAR, 20 Saifullah AKBAR, 25 Saifullah AKBAR, 34 Daniel GOH * indicates overage player - Referee: Mohd Zulfiqar
GIELNIK STRIKE GIVES MATILDAS WIN AGAINST CHILE
Emily Gielnik’s first-half goal was enough for the Westfield Matildas to beat Chile 1-0 in Adelaide on Tuesday night to wrap-up their two-game series in style. One of four changes to the team that prevailed in Sydney on Saturday, Gielnik made the most of her start with the match-winner midway through the first half latching on to a great through ball from Sam Kerr. The Westfield Matildas created a host of chances in both halves to extend their advantage but had to settle for the one-goal win in front of an excellent crowd of 10,340 at Coopers Stadium.
Coach Ante Milicic said he was pleased with both performances. “If you look at all the key indicators that we do as a team, we dominated clearly,” he explained. “But I feel we should’ve won the game by a bigger margin, and we needed to apply a lot more scoreboard pressure at the time when we did dominate.” Although he admitted they could have been more ruthless in the final third, Milicic said he was happy with the performance of his side given the varying level of recent match minutes played by his squad, and he is confident that their sharpness and composure will be top-notch in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifying, which begins in February next year. “January will be a different scenario for us,” he said. “If you compare now to when we get together again in January, the amount of games and match minutes they get puts them automatically in better shape and better condition than what they were today. Preparation has already begun.”
It was a cagey start from both sides in the first 20 minutes with little goal-mouth action until Kerr’s first moment of magic set-up Gielnik’s opener. The Westfield Matildas skipper’s incisive pass was perfect for Gielnik to finish off on a tight angle for her eighth goal in the Green and Gold. The goal sparked the home side to life and they created a host of chances to double their lead before the break. Ellie Carpenter scooped an effort over the bar soon after, while Amy Harrison and Tameka Yallop both had Chilean keeper Natalia Campos on her toes. Kerr won a spot-kick in first-half stoppage-time when she was brought down in the box by Chilean keeper Natalia Campos. But Kerr was unable to convert, with Campos pulling off a save to down low to her right to palm it away for a corner.
The Matilda’s skipper was keen to atone for that miss, and she cut in from the left early, but her shot crashed off the crossbar. Just a minute later and Harrison got on the end of a powerful run and cross from Ellie Carpenter, with her shot beating the keeper but was hacked off the line by a Chilean defender. The visitors best chance came just before the hour mark as Daniela Zamora got on the end of a free-kick into the box but Lydia Williams denied her with an outstanding save. There was another nervous moment when a deflected strike from distance had Williams back tracking in haste, but the ball went over the top after skimming the crossbar. Both Kerr and Chloe Logarzo had half-chances to double the lead late on but Gielnik’s goal proved enough to hand the Westfield Matildas another win on home soil.
While admitting the team are still striving to produce a 90-minute performance, Steph Catley says there are positive signs heading towards next year’s Olympic Games qualifiers. “I think it was a similar performance to the first game. We were up and down and had patches where we could have scored lots of goals but kind of just missed,” Catley said post-match. “We obviously missed the penalty. It was a good performance and for our first time back in camp in a while there's some really positive signs. We're looking forward to the future.”
Matildas: GK Lydia Williams, 4 Clare Polkinghorne (2 Jenna McCormick 46’), 6 Chloe Logarzo, 7 Stephanie Catley, 9 Caitlin Foord, 13 Tameka Yallop, 14 Alanna Kennedy (23 Emma Checker 77’), 15 Emily Gielnik (16 Hayley Raso 63’), 20 Sam Kerr, 21 Ellie Carpenter 22 Amy Harrison (10 Emily van Egmond 65’) - Subs not used: RGK Mackenzie Arnold, 3 Aivi Luik, 5 Karly Roestbakken, 12 Sarah Willacy
Chile: GK Natalia Campos, 3 Carla Guerrero, 4 Francisca Lara (16 María Mardones 90’), 6 Nayadet López, 8 Karen Araya, 10 Yanara Aedo (11 Paloma López 77’), 13 Fernanda Pinilla (17 Javiera Toro 46’), 15 Su Helen Galaz, 18 Camila Sáez, 20 Daniela Zamora (7 Yazmín Torrealba 86’), 21 Rosario Balmaceda - Subs not used: 2 Rocío Soto, 5 Javiera Roa, 9 María José Urrutia, 14 Daniela Pardo, 23 Antonia Canales - Attendance: 10,342
AMATEUR STATE SQUAD NAMED FOR MALAYSIA
The Amateur State coach has named his squad of 16 players for their upcoming three-game tour of Malaysia. The side won all three of their games last year without conceding a goal. The squad will fly to Kuala Lumpur this Sunday, 17 November, and return to Perth seven days later.
The 2019 Amateur State squad is Lee Bates (Kwinana United), Thierry Berard, Eamonn Kelly, Sean Lahert, Jamie Serra (North Perth United), Cosimo Figliomeni (Hamersley Rovers), Juraj Galba, Stephen Geoghegan (Wembley Downs), Adam Giannasi (Joondalup United), Thomas Grant, Benjamin Greaves, Jordan Jones (Leeming Strikers), Liam Hunt, David Long, Liam McManus (Quinns) and Joshua Waldock (Kingsley). Travelling with the squad are Colm Costello (coach), Jason Winter (assistant coach) and Anthony Cantatore (manager).
ITALIANO CALLED UP FOR
Attacking midfielder Jacob Italiano has been selected in Australia's Under-23 squad that will assemble in Chongqing, China, this week. The one-time Inglewood United junior is the solitary West Australian in coach Gary van Egmond's squad for a three-match friendly series with North Korea (15 November), Lithuania (17 November) and China (19 November).
The Australia Under-23 squad to play North Korea, Lithuania and China is Panos Armenakas (Panathinaikos), Keanu Baccus, Kosta Grozos, Tass Mourdoukoutas (Western Sydney Wanderers), Daniel Bouman (SC Cambuur), Jake Brimmer (Perth Glory), Gabriel Cleur (Alessandria), Thomas Deng (Melbourne Victory), Zach Duncan, Alex Gersbach (AGF Aarhus), Ben Folami (Ipswich Town), Thomas Glover, Connor Metcalfe, Ramy Najjarine (Melbourne City), Jordan Holmes (Ebbsfleet Town), Jacob Italiano (Borussia Monchengladbach), Anthony Kalik (Hajduk Split), Josh Laws (Fortuna Dusseldorf Ii), Daniel Margush, Al Hassan Toure (Adelaide United), Connor O’Toole (Brisbane Roar), Nick Pennington (Olbia Calcio), Reno Piscopo (Wellington Phoenix), Dylan Ryan (Willem Ii Tilburg) and Harry Van Der Saag (Sydney FC).
ROBERTSON ENDS STINT AT GULLS ON A HIGH
Sorrento FC held its 2019 NPL Senior NPL awards Presentations at a gala function at White Salt Restaurant, Sorrento on Saturday, 14 September and defender Scott Robertson was the clubs Player of the Year, edging out Czech defender Jakub Prajza. It was a great way to end his stint at Percy Doyle Reserve, the talented defender will play for Oakleigh Cannons in the Victorian NPL next season, but he said to win the award was a great honour. "On a personal note it was a special feeling to win the award in my first year at the club," Robertson said. "Going back to the very start of last pre-season everyone was really welcoming towards me and I settled in straight away and I think this is why I was able to train well and play well right from the start."
Sorrento head coach Jamie Harnwell said Robertson was a worthy winner of the award. "Scott was a player who lead by example this season," he said. "Despite his relatively young age, he quickly became a leader and driver of the team both in training and games and Scott's professionalism was also second to none. Despite battling injury at times through the season, he always looked after his body to ensure that come game day he was able to perform to the best of his ability. On the park Scott's tenacity without the ball and quality on it meant that he became a linchpin in the middle at the back and a key part of the team for the season. He will be desperately missed next season as he travels to Melbourne to play for Oakleigh Cannons, but we look forward to having him back in the sky blue at some point in the future."
It was a season of ups and downs for Sorrento in 2019, just missing out on a top four spot and losing in the Semi-Final of the State League Cup on penalties against Floreat Athena, and Robertson said inconsistency cost them. "I agree it was a season of ups and downs and perhaps we didn’t reach our full potential as a team but I think everyone played their part in pushing the club back in the right direction," the defender said. "Having just missed out on the cup final and the FFA cup round of 32, to also just miss out on the top 4 was a bitter pill to swallow. We had a really talented group of players who got along well, we know we should’ve done a lot more. There was so many great moments throughout the year and it’s important the club takes all the positives from last season and looks to the future because Sorrento needs to be challenging for trophies."
In other awards on the night Theo Gilsenan's good season was rewarded by winning the Sorrento Under-18's Player of the Year, with leading goalscorer Jamie Swan the runner-up. In the under 20's Jesse Owuor won the Player of the Year, the youngster playing a number of games in the first team during the season, while Tristan Stevens was the runner-up. Owuor won the clubs Most Improved Young Player award, with Cameron Teece winning the clubs Golden Boot. The Sorrento annual Club Person of the Year was won by Kaye Harnwell.
YOUNG SOCCEROOS SECURE AFC U-19 SPOT IN UZBEKISTAN
The Young Socceroos have qualified for the 2020 AFC U-19 Championship in Uzbekistan, after a commanding 5-0 win over Chinese Taipei at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung on Sunday night. John Roberts bagged a brace, while further goals from Lachlan Brook, an own goal from Karl Hu Josefsson and Marco Tilio's fourth of the competition rounded off a resounding victory. In the other game in Group H Laos registered a comfortable 6-0 win over Macau earlier in the day which meant Australia needed to win by at least two goals to finish top, and they started the game the way they intended to go on scoring on two minutes.
A rash challenge from Josefsson on John Roberts earned the Young Socceroos an early free-kick which Brook finished into the roof of the net from the edge of the box. It was great start for Gary Van Egmond’s side and they went close to a second moments later, Roberts rounding the goalkeeper and looked certain to score but a superb last-ditch tackle from Liang Meng-Sin denied the Central Coast Mariners striker. But he made emends on 12 minutes, the striker scoring from close-range after Louis D’Arrigo’s shot was deflected by Chinese Taipei ‘keeper Hung Shih-Cheng right into his path
Australia were well on top and in control and added a third on the half-hour mark when Taipei defender Josefsson scored an unfortunate own goal, lobbing the Chinese Taipei goal with a header from long distance while trying to battle Roberts for an aerial ball. The Young Socceroos scored their fourth goal of the game early in the second half through Tilio, who robbed Meng-Sin of possession in the final third, before racing in on goal and finished clinically under the on-coming Shih-Cheng. The chances continued to flow for Young Socceroos as Tilio and D’Arrigo fashioned multiple scoring opportunities, but failed to take them, but it was Roberts who eventually made it five for Australia, heading home a corner from Alberto Grosso to score his second of the game.
Kai Calderbank-Park had a very quiet night in the Young Socceroos’ goal but burst into action with ten minutes to play, making a stunning double save from one long-range shot and one from much closer on the rebound, ensuring Australia kept their clean sheet intact. Australia held their 5-0 advantage to the final whistle which sent them atop of Group H with 7 points and a superior goal difference over Laos, guaranteeing their place at the 2020 AFC U-19 Championship in Uzbekistan, October 2020.
Australia: GK JAMES CALDERBANK-PARK, 2 THOMAS AQUILINA, 6 LOUIS D'ARRIGO, 9 JOHN ROBERTS, 13 KAI TREWIN, 14 JORDAN BOS, 15 NOAH PAGDEN, 17 MARCO TILIO, 20 LACHLAN BROOK, 22 JAY BARNETT, 23 ALBERTO DEL GROSSO - Subs: RGK NOAH JAMES, RGK CAMERON COOK, 3 MITCHELL GRAHAM, 4 KRISTIAN POPOVIC, 5 THOMAS FAY, 7 JARROD CARLUCCIO, 8 FABIAN MONGE, 11 LOCHLAN CONSTABLE, 16 CALLUM TALBOT, 19 GIANLUCA IANNUCCI, 21 JAKE HOLLMAN
Chinese Taipei: GK HUNG SHIH-CHENG, 2 KARL FREDRIK HU JOSEFSSON, 3 LIANG MENG-HSIN, 4 CHENG CHIH-HUAN, 7 LIN MING-WEI, 8 SANDBERG MIGUEL FILIP, 10 YU YAO-HSING, 13 TAN I-SHAN, 15 YAO NIEN-PING, 19 LU CHENG-EN, 20 CHEN CHUN FU - Subs: RGK TSAI YU HSIANG, RGK LI YUNG-SHENG, 5 TSENG CHUNG-CHIH, 6 LI YEN-CHANG, 9 CHEN TZU-CHUN, 11 CHEN SHIH-HSUN, 12 LIN CHUN KAI, 14 CHENG CHUNG-LIANG, 16 YEH CHUN CHENG, 17 CHENG FU SUNG, 21 LIN SHIH-CHIEH, 23 LAI WEI - Referee: ASSADI ARMAN
TILIO HAT TRICKS PUTS YOUNG SOCCEROOS BACK ON TRACK
The Young Socceroos have bounced back from their 2-2 opening round draw against Laos with a comprehensive 6-0 win against Macau, to move top of Group H at the AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung on Sunday. Alberto De Grosso scored the opener early, then John Roberts doubled Gary van Egmond’s advantage, before Marco Tilio made it 3-0 shortly before half time whistle. The Green and Gold went on with after the break, Gianluca Iannucci extending the lead for Australia, before Tilio added another two to completed his hat-trick.
Australia enjoyed a dream start, going ahead after only five minutes. Iannucci’s deep free kick picked out De Grosso, who headed back across goal and into the corner of the net. They were in again moments later Tilio driving into the box, but his effort flashed inches wide of the far post. But on 37 minutes Australia doubled their advantage. Tilio was brought down just outside the penalty area, and he picked himself up and his free kick picked out an unmarked Roberts who headed home. They added a third three minutes later Iannucci sent Roberts down the left and he cut the ball back to Tilio, who got in front of his marker to fire home from close-range to send Australia into the break with a comfortable 3-0 lead.
It was 4-0 four minutes into the second half, Iannucci was brought down in the box and referee Kochkarov Bakadyr pointed straight to the spot. Iannucci picked himself up to convert from the resulting penalty. The fifth was a great team goal with a number of neat passes ending with Tilio was sent in on goal and the Sydney FC striker finished clinically. Tilio put the icing on the cake just after the hour grabbing the sixth and completing his hat-trick, after he was brought down in the penalty area and he scored from the resulting penalty to seal the big win.
Macau: GK CHEN XUAN, 3 CHEONG MARCOS, 5 CHEANG KA LOK, 6 WONG WENG HEI, 8 KU KOI FAI, 9 PUN NOK HANG, 10 LOK WENG HANG, 12 SOU CHAN WANG, 14 SIO KAM WANG, 19 CHAN HANG KIT, 21 CHIN CHUEN HUNG - Subs: RGK LOU CHON HEI, RGK WONG POU CHON 2 KONG U CHON, 4 LEONG KUN TOU, 7 NG CHI HOU, 11 U CHI IEONG, 13 LAM NOK IO, 15 MAN CHAK NAM, 16 HO TAT FU, 17 IEONG LEK HANG, 18 KUONG CHI KIN, 20 CHAN CHAK MENG
Australia: GK NOAH JAMES, 3 MITCHELL GRAHAM, 4 KRISTIAN POPOVIC, 8 FABIAN MONGE, 9 JOHN ROBERTS, 14 JORDAN BOS, 15 NOAH PAGDEN, 16 CALLUM TALBOT, 17 MARCO TILIO, 19 GIANLUCA IANNUCCI, 23 ALBERTO DEL GROSSO - Subs: RGK JAMES CALDERBANK-PARK, RGK CAMERON COOK, 2 THOMAS AQUILINA, 5 THOMAS FAY, 6 LOUIS D'ARRIGO, 7 JARROD CARLUCCIO, 10 DYLAN RUIZ-DIAZ, 11 LOCHLAN CONSTABLE, 20 LACHLAN BROOK, 21 JAKE HOLLMAN, 22 JAY BARNETT - Referee: KOCHKAROV BAKHADYR
KERR AT THE DOUBLE FOR MATILDAS
Australia have beaten Chile 2-1 in their first game since the disappointment of missing out in the World Cup in France. But Matildas’ skipper Sam Kerr didn't disappoint as she continued her incredible goalscoring run by netting both of the goals in front of a record domestic home crowd for a Matildas game of 20,029 at Sydney’s Bankwest Stadium. Chile did pull one back late from Camila Sáez, but it was too little too late. The brace made it 40 goals in Kerr's past 40 games for either club - Perth in the W-League and Chicago in the NWSL - or country. She also has 38 goals in green-and-gold, surpassing Cheryl Salisbury into third on the Matildas’ goalscoring list.
Coach Ante Milicic made three changes from the team, beaten by Norway at the round-of-16 stage in Paris, including the debut for former WAFL player Jenna McCormick. The home side dominated from the kick-off and were rewarded with the lead on three minutes. Emily Van Egmond free kick was mis-judged by a Chilian defender and Kerr controlled well before beating keeper Christiane Endler and finding the bottom corner of the net, much to the delight of the big crowd. The Chilean keeper was then quickly off her line to save at the feet of the lively Hayley Raso as the home side continued to dictate.
Kerr, who has been linked with a big move to Chelsea, was a constant threat and she was the supplier moments later finding Clare Polkinghorne, but she failed to find the target. Ellie Carpenter was once again a good outlet for the Matildas and her low cross was heading to Kerr, but the star striker had an air swing. Chile settled and had the ball in the net on 13 minutes, but Sáez's volley was disallowed for offside. Chile were playing deep and the Matildas struggled to break them down and the visitors were hitting on the counter attack and Daniela Pardo long-range shot whistled past the post with Lydia Williams at full stretch.
After the break the Matildas pressed for the second and Carpenter's shot from the angle hit a post early, and the crowd thought they had a penalty on the hour after Kerr was brought down in the box, but the referee waved away their protests. But on 77 minutes it was Kerr again who doubled the Matildas' lead, she was sent clear by a great first-time ball over the top by her former Perth Glory team mate Caitlin Foord, and she raced clear before finishing low past Endler, despite the Chilean keeper getting a hand to it.
The Matildas pressed for a third and Stephanie Catley's cut back found second half substitute Amy Harrison on the edge of the penalty area but she couldn't keep her shot down. Moments later Carpenter picked out Chloe Logarzo at the back post but her effort went wide of the target. Chile finished the game well and Williams produced a smart low save to deny Daniela Zamora. But on 89 minutes Chile pulled one back, when Francisca Lara's corner was headed home by Sáez. But it was too little too late, the Matildas running out 2-1 winners.
Matildas: GK Lydia Williams, 2 Jenna McCormick (23 Emma Checker 86’), 3 Aivi Luik, 4 Clare Polkinghorne, 6 Chloe Logarzo, 7 Stephanie Catley, 9 Caitlin Foord, 10 Emily van Egmond (22 Amy Harrison 69’), 16 Hayley Raso (15 Emily Gielnik 75’), 20 Sam Kerr, 21 Ellie Carpenter - Subs not used: RGK Mackenzie Arnold, 12 Sarah Willacy
Chile: GK Christiane Endler, 2 Rocío Soto (15 Su Helen Galaz 60’), 3 Carla Guerrero, 4 Francisca Lara, 9 María José Urrutia (5 Javiera Roa 63’), 10 Yanara Aedo 11 Paloma López (21 Rosario Balmaceda 46’), 14 Daniela Pardo (8 Karen Araya 85’), 16 María Mardones (17 Javiera Toro 85’), 18 Camila Sáez, 20 Daniela Zamora - Subs not used:, 6 Nayadet López, 7 Yazmín Torrealba, ,12 Natalia Campos, 13 Fernanda Pinilla, 14 Su Helen Galaz, 23 Antonia Canales
CASTRO LEAVES IT LATE FOR GLORYS
Perth Glory skipper Diego Castro has scored a late goal to earn Tony Popovic's side a 1-1 draw against Newcastle Jets in week five of the Hyundai A-League at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Glory were behind at the break after Jason Hoffman's well taken goal, but the Spanish maestro levelled four minutes from time, a result meaning they remain unbeaten on their travels this season. But they had to hang on late after Alex Grant was shown a second yellow card and sent off.
"It's a difficult trip for us," Popovic said post-match. "The result is one thing, but I thought the players were outstanding today. It was a top-class performance coming after a difficult result last week at home, but I thought a point was the least they deserved. "The key for us was that we dominated the game, but when we went a goal behind, we didn't crumble which, after last week's disappointment, you can feel a bit sorry for yourself and the game can get away from you. But they stuck in there, they fought and had the desire and kept creating and creating. It was a very good performance away from home."
Popovic gave a club debut to former Millwall and Socceroos defender James Meredith in place of Kim Soo-Beom, who dropped to the bench, while Joel Chianese came in for the injured Osama Malik, with the Glory going back to a back four. It was a ground that held no fears for Glory, having not been beaten there since 2011, and they did start well in this one, but the Jets, who are were still looking for their first win of the season, had the best early chance. Matt Millar picked out Abdiel Arroyo, and the Panamanian striker thought he had opened the scoring, but his close-range effort brought out a superb reflex save from Liam Reddy.
Glory hit back and Castro found space and picked out Chris Ikonomidis on the left side of the penalty area, but Moss got down well to save the wingers shot. Then on 22 minutes the Jets were convinced they had a penalty after Nick Fitzgerald fell under a challenge from Grant, but referee Jonathan Barreiro waved away their protests, but VAR checked the incident, and it could have gone either way, but fortunately it went Glory's way. But the home sides pressure was rewarded with the opener on the half hour. A superb through ball from Steven Ugarkovic sent Hoffman in on goal and he finished clinically past Reddy, for the Jets first goal of the season from open play.
The home side went close to doubling their lead early in second half, Fitzgerald was sent clear and Reddy was out smart to block his first effort, but the Jets midfielder chased the rebound and was in on goal but Grant got back with a goal saving last ditch block. Glory needed to lift and Ivan Franjic's shot from the edge of the box was saved by Moss, but the Jets were also looking dangerous, and Fitzgerald fired inches over the top moments later. Glory made changes and Chris Harold came on for Joel Chianese, to equal Josh Risdon record of 142 appearances for the club, while 16-year-old Gabriel Popovic came on for his Glory debut.
Glory were well on top and Ikonomidis' shot crashed off the crossbar, before another effort flashed just wide of the post. It looked like being one of them days for Glory, but on 84 minutes they found the deserved equaliser. Franjic burst into the penalty area, the ball falling to Harold, whose shot on the turn crashed off the crossbar, Popovic was challenging for the ball and it fell to Castro, and the Spaniard fired home through a crowded penalty area to level. It looked like Glory would go on and win it but two minutes later Grant was given a second yellow card for his aerial challenge on Jets substitute Angus Thurgate. The Jets pressed late but at the final whistle it finished 1-1.
Newcastle Jets: GK Glen MOSS, 3 Jason HOFFMAN, 6 Steven UGARKOVIC, 9 Abdiel ARROYO (2 Bobby BURNS 85'), 10 Dimi PETRATOS, 11 Nick FITZGERALD (32 Angus THURGATE 80'), 16 Matt MILLAR, 18 Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 22 Lachlan JACKSON, 23 Matt RIDENTON (5 Ben KANTAROVSKI 70'), 44Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY - Subs not used: RGK Lewis ITALIANO, 19 Kosta PETRATOS, 28Pat LANGLOIS
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE (14 Chris HAROLD 64'), 8 James MEREDITH (12 Kim SOO-BEOM 64'), 9 Bruno FORNAROLI (28 Gabriel POPOVIC 76'), 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 20 Jake BRIMMER - Red Cards: Grant - Referee: Jonathan Barreiro
GLORY SNAP UP TWO IMPORTS FOR W-LEAGUE
Perth Glory have added Spanish international defender/midfielder Celia Jimenez Delgado and American midfielder Morgan Andrews to their Westfield W-League squad, both subject to international clearance. Delgado arrives at the club fresh off a successful US National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) season with Reign FC in which she made 13 appearances as the Seattle-based club reached the semi-finals. A player who can play in a number of positions and is equally comfortable operating as a midfielder, wing-back or orthodox full-back, Celia represented Spain at both the 2015 and 2019 World Cup having been previously capped at Under-17 and Under-19 level.
Glory coach Bobby Despotovski said Delgado is a huge signing ahead of the season. "Celia is an exciting and versatile player with plenty of experience at the highest level," he said. "We’ll look to play her mainly on the left side of midfield and she is the kind of player whose presence will really help the aspiring young girls that we have in the squad this year.
The 24-year-old is relishing the challenge of playing in the Westfield W-League. "I am excited to play in the W-League, and I believe this is a great opportunity to keep growing as a player," she told the Glory website. "Perth had a really good season last year and I'm excited at what we can achieve together this season.
"The Westfield W-League is a tough competition. I'm familiar with several of the players from the NWSL, but there is a lot of Australian domestic talent that I'm looking forward to getting familiar with as well."
She said playing in another Country is something she is looking forward too. "The move to Perth has been a long time coming and is something that I'm really excited to experience," Dalgado said. "I'm looking forward to experiencing the challenge of a new league, teammates and style of play and I'm pretty sure the weather is going to require a new level of fitness too. The initial adjustment ahead of the first game is going to be tough, but then I'm keen to settle in with the team and bring my experience to the Glory defence. I can't wait to meet the girls and get out on the pitch among the crowd, and I hope we can achieve something really special together this season."
Andrews is a former US Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23 international, and has spent the last three seasons playing in the US National Women’s Soccer League, most recently with Reign FC where she was a teammate of fellow-new Glory recruit, Celia. The 24-year-old, who hails originally from New Hampshire, also enjoyed a stellar collegiate career during which she represented both Notre Dame and the University of Southern California before making her NWSL debut with Boston Breakers in 2017.
Andrews said she cannot wait for the new Westfield W-League campaign to get underway. "I am beyond excited to be playing for Perth Glory and I look forward to competing for a championship alongside the players, staff, and fans," she said. "I look forward to challenging myself to be better as a player and person and to help guide the team back to the championship game (Grand Final). The team is an accomplished squad and I hope to play an attractive and aggressive game, day in and day out. I have many teammates from the Reign FC who play throughout the league and it's known for its competitive culture and enjoyable soccer. My goal personally, is to continue to develop as a player as well as have a great impact for the team and I look forward to being an integral part of the attack for Perth." ???
Despotovski believes that Andrews’ skill-set makes her a perfect fit for his side. "Morgan is a very talented defensive midfielder who also likes to push on and shoot and create things in the final third," he said. "She’s very tough and very energetic and I’m sure she’ll be a major player for us this year." The Westfield W-League season kicks off this weekend when Glory travel to McKellar Park on Sunday (1.00pm WA Time) to take on Canberra United.
MIDFIELD GENERAL KILKENNY MUST DEAL WITH TARGET ON BACK
Neil Kilkenny expects to be a marked man as A-League opponents take an aggressive approach to shutting down Perth Glory’s engine room. Kilkenny and his midfield teammates, especially Diego Castro, have been unable to take a grip on games as they try to rediscover the dominance that took them to last season’s Premiers’ Plate.
Glory have just one win in four games after opening last season with an unbeaten eight-game run. Kilkenny was targeted with tight marking by Central Coast Mariners in last Sunday’s shock loss as the visitors threw bodies into the midfield and pushed players forward. And he is expecting similar treatment against Newcastle Jets today.
“We know they are going to try and stop us from playing,” Kilkenny said. “It shows respect for us as a team, as individuals. We have to deal with that as part and parcel of winning the league last year and being the best team in the league. We’re getting used to it and can deal with it but playing pretty is not always the way to win.”
Kilkenny said the side could not afford to dwell on the loss to Central Coast. “Obviously it’s not good to lose games but it happens and we have to move on to the next game,” he said. “It was one of those things. Bad performances happen but we’ll bounce back. It’s gone, we can’t change that. If we win our next couple of games, nobody talks about the last game.”
Kilkenny said it was always going to take time for new signings to become embedded in the Glory style. “There are new players, particularly in defence, there’s no hiding that,” he said. “The more we play together, the more the chemistry will get better. We will get stronger through the season.
“This is going to be a tough game. We respect Newcastle. They’ve got some good individuals and when they are playing well, they are very good. We need to play well and if we can play at the top of our game, we are going to be hard to beat, hard to stop.”
KERR PFA PLAYER OF THE YEAR AGAIN
The honours continue to stack up for Matildas captain Sam Kerr, who has been named Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Women’s Footballer of the Year. The 26-year old won the prestigious award from a star-studded pool of nominees including Matildas teammates Alanna Kennedy, Caitlin Foord and Hayley Raso.
“It’s a really proud moment. I count this as one of the best awards to win, one that is voted on by your peers and to receive it with this bunch of girls is an amazing feeling because I respect them very much and I feel really honoured and lucky,” said Kerr, who has now won the prestigious award four times (2013, 2017 and 2018).
“Everyone knows this is a team sport and this doesn’t happen without your teammates. I feel very lucky to be part of the Matildas at this time, I feel like it is the best generation of girls coming through. There is a lot of hard work and sacrifice that went into it, so it was nice to have mum and dad there who have been through all of it.”
It’s huge few months for the Kerr. She was named the National Women’s Soccer League Most Valuable Player and also collected a third successive Golden Boot. In June Kerr led the Matildas the Women’s World Cup in France, scoring five goals in four matches, and was recently one of 20 nominees for the Ballon d’Or.
RISDON RECALLED TO SOCCEROOS
Josh Risdon returns to the Socceroos fold as A-League newcomers Western United receive their first international call-up for Australia. The 27-year old defender is joined in Graham Arnold’s squad to play Jordan on 15 November by felow West Australians Trent Sainsbury and Adam Taggart and will likely battle Sydney FC right-sider Rhyan Grant for a place in Graham Arnold’s starting defence as the Green and Gold continue their bid to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022™.
The Socceroo’s will be seeking a fourth straight Group B win in the second round of Asian qualifying on the road to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. After victories against Kuwait (3-0), Nepal (5-0) and Chinese Taipei (7-1), the Socceroos fly to the Middle East once more to face Jordan on next Friday, 15 November.
The Socceroos squad to play Jordan is Aziz Behich (Istanbul Basaksehir), Brandon Borrello (Freiburg), Martin Boyle (Hibernian), Milos Degenek (Red Star Belgrade), Kenneth Dougall (Barnsley), Adam Federici (Stoke City), Apostolos Giannou (AEK Larnaca), Craig Goodwin (Al-Wehda), Rhyan Grant, Andrew Redmayne (Sydney FC), Ajdin Hrustic (Groningen), Jackson Irvine (Hull City), James Jeggo (Austria Wien), Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin), Awer Mabil (Midtylland), Aaron Mooy, Mathew Ryan (Brighton and Hove Albion), Josh Risdon (Western United), Tom Rogic (Celtic), Trent Sainsbury (Maccabi Haifa), Brad Smith (Seattle Sounders), Harry Souttar (Fleetwood Town), Adam Taggart (Suwon Bluewings) and Bailey Wright (Bristol City).
GLORY LOOKING TO BOUNCE BACK AGAINST THE JETS
After last week’s first defeat of the season Perth Glory will be looking to bounce back when they take on Newcastle Jet at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday afternoon in Week Five of the Hyundai A-League (2.00pm WA Time). This weekend will be the annual ‘Remembrance Round’, which is a joint initiative between Football Federation Australia (FFA), the Hyundai A-League Clubs and the Australian Defence Force (ADF), to raise awareness of Remembrance Day nationally, recognise the contribution of ADF personnel.
The 1-2 defeat against the Mariners was a disappointment for the supporters, but more concerning was how the Glory defence were overrun. European import Gregory Wuthrich was dragged by the manager, and his replacement Jacob Tratt then handed the Mariners the winner. Alex Grant was solid as usual, but with Kim Soo-Beom still struggling to come to terms with the league and Osama Malik picking up a hamstring injury the squad fly east looking for answers. Tony Popovic has brought in Socceroos defender James Meredith and Tomislav Mrcela to the squad, but both are underdone and it’s not sure if the coach will risk the pair, but he will also have Dino Djulbic to come if needed, but last week was a concern.
Popovic said the whole squad needs to but in a 90-minute performance to get a result on Saturday. "We need to try and put the package together in defence and attack," he said. “We just need to try and complete the game and get that 90 minutes in terms of a performance that will give us a better chance of getting a result when things aren't quite going for us on the day. We probably have to be more tactically disciplined so we can ride out those periods when we're not at our best. Those periods happen to every team."
Glory will be up against a Jets side coming off a big loss against Sydney FC last week and are still searching for their first win of the season and Popovic is expecting Ernie Merrick's men to come out all guns blazing. "They are at home, so I'm sure there'll be a lot of desperation involved with their team,” he said. “I think we'll see a very aggressive start from Newcastle. We're expecting a tough encounter, which you always get in Newcastle. They are a team that always looks dangerous going forward, even though they haven't got the results that they want so far. We have to be aware of that, but also know that we can cause problems to any team."
Chris Harold has also been added to the travelling party, another player who is still struggling with fitness. One player who isn’t is midfield general Neil Kilkenny, a player who doesn’t like losing and he’s looking to bounce back against the Jets and he’s positive they will. “Obviously it's not good to lose games, but it happens, you're going to win and lose games in the season, but you can't dwell on losses," he said. “You have to look forward to the next game and putting it right and that's what we're doing. In the first half [against Central Coast] we didn't play so well, but in the second half we dominated and probably had the chances to come back and win the game.”
"So, it was just one those things, bad performances happen and now we need to bounce back and we're excited about Saturday's game. "If we win our next couple of games, no-one will be talking about our last game. We know it's going to be a tough game, we respect Newcastle, and we know that they have some good individuals. When they're playing well, they're very good, but we know that if we can play at the top of our game, we're going to be hard to stop."
Jets coach Ernie Merrick said the Jets are struggling to find the net from open play, and that has to change sooner rather than later. “We struggle to score goals from open play, and that (v Sydney) was our third goal we’ve scored from a set play,” he explained. “Even at the end, Jason [Hoffman] was right through, one-on-one, we don’t score again. Abdiel [Arroyo] had his chance, Matt Millar had a chance. We’re just struggling to score a goal during open play and we’ve done so much work on it all of pre-season. I’m not sure if it’s something we’re going to solve in the short term but at training it is not a problem.”
That lack of killer instinct in front of goal is not going to make Merrick tear up his plans at the club. “I refuse to,” he said. “I think it’s very important that we play attacking football and play the style of football that’s always got the teams that I’ve coached into the finals. Our boys, right to the end, tried to score a goal. They should have taken a couple of chances but it wasn’t to be. It’s all mental. It’s performing under mental stress and physical fatigue. They don’t have that a training. They are all fresh, short, sharp sessions. It’s all mental. The best strikers in the world really are cool, calm under pressure. [We will] continue to work at it in training, that’s all we can do.”
Newcastle Jets FC Squad: GK Glen MOSS, RGK Lewis ITALIANO, 2 Bobby BURNS, 3 Jason HOFFMAN, 4 Nigel BOOGAARD, 5 Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6 Steven UGARKOVIC, 9 Abdiel ARROYO, 10 Dimi PETRATOS, 11 Nick FITZGERALD, 16 Matt MILLAR, 18 Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 19 Kosta PETRATOS, 22 Lachlan JACKSON, 23 Matt RIDENTON, 25 Jack SIMMONS, 28 Pat LANGLOIS, 31 Maki PETRATOS, 32 Angus THURGATE, 44 Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: SIMMONS (promoted), Maki PETRATOS (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 8 Wes HOOLAHAN (ankle – indefinite), 14 Kaine SHEPPARD (foot – indefinite)
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jacob TRATT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 James MEREDITH, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM, 14 Chris HAROLD, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Nick D’AGOSTINO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 27 JUANDE, 28 Gabriel POPOVIC, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *2 -4 to be omitted* - Ins: MEREDITH (promoted), HAROLD (promoted), MRCELA (returns from injury) - Outs: 13Osama MALIK (hamstring 2-3 weeks) - Unavailable: 29Kristian POPOVIC (international duty) - Referee: Jonathan Barreiro
JOEYS BOW OUT OF FIFA U-17S WORLD CUP
The Joey’s 2019 FIFA under-17 World Cup has come to end after a 0-4 loss against France in Thursday morning round of 16 game at Estádio da Serrinha, Goiania. Nathanael Mbuka gave the European powerhouse the lead after only six minutes, and the Joeys held their own until Anton Mlinaric was sent off. The wheels then fell off as France powered home, with Mbuka completing a hat-trick with the other one scored by second half substitute Enzo Millot.
It wasn’t the start Joey’s coach Trevor Morgan was looking for as France took the lead after only six minutes. Isaac Lihadji slipped in Brandon Soppy behind the Joeys defender and his cross to the back post was headed home by Mbuka. The Joeys hit back and went close themselves when Cameron Peupion's shot was tipped past the post by keeper Melvin Zinga, before the French custodian produced another smart save to thwart Ali Auglah's curling effort. They went even closer in the shadows of half time, when after some patient lead up play ended with Josh Rawlins, but the Perth Glory defender’s effort bounced off the top of the crossbar.
After the break the Joeys continued to take the game to France, but their task got somewhat harder when Mlinaric was sent off for a challenge on Naouirou Ahamada following a video assistant referee review. The Joeys were now on the back foot and France doubled their lead on 73 minutes, Adil Aouchiche found Mbuka on the left of the box, and he found the bottom corner clinically. It was 3-0 nine minutes later, Aochiche was again the supplier slipping the ball into Mbuka who made no mistake. They added a fourth three minutes from time when substitutes Waniss Taibi and Millot combined, the latter firing home superbly from the edge of the box.
Joeys: GK Adam PAVLESIC, 2 Idrus ABDULAHI, 4 Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS, 5 Izaack POWELL (3 Daniel WALSH 86’), 6 Ryan TEAGUE, 9 Noah BOTIC, 10 Caleb WATTS, 11 Ali AUGLAH (16 Luke DUKEL 67’), 13 Joshua RAWLINS, 15 Anton MLINARIC, 21 Cameron PEUPION (14 Trent OSTLER 60’) - Subs not used: RGK Oliver KALAC, RGK Nicholas BILOKAPIC, 7 Tristan HAMMOND, 8 Birkan KIRDAR, 17 Yaya DUKULY, 19 Michael RUHS, 20 Luis LAWRIE-LATTANZIO
France: GK Melvin ZINGA, 3 Timothee PEMBELE, 4 Chrislain MATSIMA, 5 Nianzou KOUASSI, 6 Lucien AGOUME (8 Enzo MILLOT 77’) 7 Arnaud KALIMUENDO-MUINGA, 10 Adil AOUCHICHE, 11 Nathanael MBUKU (17 Waniss TAIBI 85’), 13 Naouirou AHAMADA, 18 Isaac LIHADJI (9 Georginio RUTTER 71’), 19 Brandon SOPPY - Subs not used: RGK Amjhad NAZIH, RGK Darren LIMA-SEMEDO, 2 Temitope AKINJOGUNLA, 12 Marvin TSHIBUABUA, 14 Melih ALTIKULAC, 15 Haissem HASSAN, 20 Johann LEPENANT
ITALIANO MAKING PROGRESS AT BORUSSIA
The man who convinced Borussia Monchengladbach to invest in Jacob Italiano is wary of “too much pressure” being placed on the youngster. The former Inglewood United junior featured three times in pre-season and on the weekend found the back of the net in Monchengladbach II’s 3-2 win over TuS Haltern.
Whilst happy with Italiano’s progress, Monchengladbach’s chief scout Mario Vossen doesn’t want to burden the Australian youth international with stratospheric expectations. “It’s very important not to place to much pressure on Jacob at this stage,” said Vossen, who introduced Socceroo Matthew Leckie to the Bundesliga.
“We have to develop him carefully. He did a very good (pre-season) training camp with the first team and it was a good step so far. He’s self-confident and open and everybody is happy with his progress so far. But it’s also important not to expect too much too fast.”
“The plan is for him to get minutes on the field and then you never know what’s going to happen because we will be playing a lot of games for the first team with the cup competitions. Our sporting director talked about him in a very positive way, as did our head coach and top talent coach. It’s pleasing when they have a good opinion of a young talent.”
Italiano, 18, played juniors at Inglewood and with the National Training Centre before shooting prominence with Perth Glory in 2018/19. The weekend outing against Haltern was his tenth of the season for Monchengladbach II, who play in Germany’s fourth tier.
EVANS WINS BELT-UP AMATEUR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The 2019 Belt-Up Amateur, Masters and Metro season came to end last weekend with the Football West awards night at the Empire Function Centre at Perth Convention Centre. The Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division Player of the Year was won by Leeming Strikers forward Aydan Evans. He also won the Premier Division Golden Boot after bagging 29 goals and he said he was shocked to win the award, but hopes the Strikers can start 2020 as they finished 2019. "I'm over the moon to have won the golden boot, but I didn't expect to win the player of the year, so that was great for me personally," he said. "Hopefully I can carry this over to next season and push the club up the table."
"On the whole it was a disappointing season for the club, especially after winning the Night Series. We had some great spells throughout the season, especially towards the end, but injuries and holidays hurt us in the middle part. But nobody gave up and when we had nothing to play for, we still came out wanting to play our best which shows strength and character of our team. We have a great set of lads and I'm sure we will all go into next season wanting to push each other to be the best we can."
It was a fantastic season for Kingsley FC, winning the league and cup double and gained promotion to the State League, and it wasn't a surprise when coach Steven Dimitrovich won the Premier Division Coach of the Year. Dimitrovich said it was a group performance. “Yes, coach of the year award is very humbling to receive, as I don’t coach for awards,” he explained. “Such awards can’t be won without a great assistant in Stuart Montgomery and furthermore can’t be achieved without a great group of players who play the way we wanted them to play all season so a big thanks to my boys.”
“The season on a whole was very successful as we achieved our goal of one winning the league and gaining promotion to the state league, and to also defend the Belt Up Cup we won in 2018. It was also pleasing to be able to bring some fresh faces into the squad who made a great contribution to our season and with their age will hopefully be a part of the club for many years to come.”
The Premier League goalkeeper of the season was won North Perth United custodian Jamie Serra, and he said it’s good to be honoured for doing his job. “Yes, it’s always nice to be recognised at the end of a season, and I’m delighted to receive the award,” he said. “Coming into a new season as reigning Premiers meant every team you play against is going to be up for it and want to beat you so I was certainly kept busier than usual. Even though results weren’t always going our way, we never really gave up on a game and so was great to get acknowledged for the hard work.”
On the season for United, Serra said it just wasn’t to be. “We certainly set out to win the league again this year but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. We had a strong run for the first half of the season but unfortunately couldn’t back it up when it counted the most,” the keeper explained. “It got to a point where we knew we were out of contention so it took all of the pressure off and we got back to enjoying it and playing well. We wanted to finish off the season well and lead it into 2020 where we will contend again.”
All the other award winners on the night - Players of the Year - Belt Up Amateur Division Four Tom Dransfield-Brooke (Perth AFC), Belt Up Amateur Division Three Jordan Alexander (Forrestfield United), Belt Up Amateur Division Two Mitchell Kelman (Peel United), Belt Up Amateur Division One Jose Zuniga (Maddington White City) - Golden Boot winners - Belt Up Masters Over 45s South Group B Campbell Ballantyne (Curtin University), Belt Up Masters Over 45s North Group B Brian Yates (Quinns FC), Belt Up Masters Over 45s South Group A Eden Osabofu (FC Shoalwater), Belt Up Masters Over 45s North Group A Chris Holmes (Joondalup United) and Bryn Tester (Woodvale), Belt Up Masters South Division Two Andrew Johnson (South Perth United), Belt Up Masters North Division Two Marc Dascanio (Olympic Kingsway) and Marc Sheddan (Noranda City), Belt Up Masters South Division One Peter Lord (Armadale SC), Belt Up Masters North Division One Adam Buckley (Joondalup United), Belt Up Masters South Premier Division Lucas Whitehouse (Forrestfield United), Belt Up Masters North Premier Division Ross Sheppard (Joondalup City), Belt Up Metro North Division Five Scott Johnson (Whitford City), Belt Up Metro North Division Four Nathan Falcone (Perth SC), Belt Up Metro South Division Three Sean Moring (Baldivis)
Belt Up Metro North Division Three Joseph Love (Swan Valley), Belt Up Metro South Division Two Deependra Pariyar (Belmont Villa), Belt Up Metro North Division Two, Callum Boshell (Mindarie), Belt Up Metro South Division One Bradley Davis (Challenger), Belt Up Metro North Division One Nikolas Rogers (North Perth United), Belt Up Metro South Premier Division Mark Rinaldi (Perth Saints), Belt Up Metro North Premier Division Ben Cowley (Currambine), Belt Up Amateur Division Four Reserves Roberto Colalillo (Fremantle City), Belt Up Amateur Division Four Andrew Pullella (Swan Valley), Belt Up Amateur Division Three Reserves David London (Lynwood United), Belt Up Amateur Division Three Oriol Fernandez (Mandurah City), Belt Up Amateur Division Two Reserves Ali Westwood (North Beach), Belt Up Amateur Division Two, Mitchell Kelman (Peel United), Belt Up Amateur Division One Reserves Jhanssen Camargo (Perth Royals), Belt Up Amateur Division One Shane Flynn (Emerald City), Belt Up Amateur Premier Division Reserves, Cameron Bishop (Kingsley)
Belt Up Amateur Premier Division, Aydan Evans (Leeming Strikers)
LAWSON TAKES OUT THE REDS FAIREST AND BEST
After a stellar season at Alfred Skeet Reserve Michael Lawson has been rewarded by winning the Armadale SC Fairest and Best trophy at their recent Presentation Night at the Novatel Perth. The hard-working midfielder, who also won the top scorer for the side, said it’s a great honour to win the award. “Yes, from a personal point of view I’m obviously delighted with it, I’m turning 35 next week so I’m just happy I can still play a role and make a decent contribution to the team,” he said.
“Hopefully I will be able to go around again next season I still feel I can offer something to the side it’s definitely getting harder as I get older, but I love the game, so will try and put off retirement for as long as can. I think if anyone said at the start of the year I would finish up top goal scorer I would of thought they were mad but after losing Chris [Jackson] last season everybody had to chip in this season and to be fair everyone did and lucky enough I was able to put away a few set pieces.”
It was a season of ups and downs for the Reds, but Lawson said they can learn from it in 2020. “Like you say the season was very up and down. We lost a lot of goals from last season which was hard to replace, but to be fair we got off to a good start but couldn’t maintain it,” the midfielder explained. “We lost three first team players in July due to transfers, plus Ryan [Haslett] broke his leg which made things difficult. I also think we were really only totally outplayed couple of times during the season and for the most part we competed well.”
“But as team where just making way too many individual errors that were costing goals and ultimately points but towards the end of the season, we got a consistent side out on the park cut the errors out and we really came good and gave us something to build for next season. I’m sure John [O’Reilly] has been working hard in the off season to try and get players in so hopefully we can push up the league and not have to worry about relegation next season.”
O’Reilly said Lawson was a solid contributor to the side last season and his goals were crucial. “Mike put in a creditable season for us this year, especially after injury cut short last term for him,” he said. “He worked incredibly hard on his fitness and battled for us every minute of each game he played. He was an unlikely source of important goals this year and an endless supply of deliveries and assists. Well done to the lad he deserves the recognition for his efforts.”
MARINERS SINK THE GLORY
Perth Glory suffered their first defeat of the Hyundai A-League Season after a 1-2 loss against Central Coast Mariners at HBF Park on Sunday afternoon. Former Glory midfielder Daniel De Silva gave the visitors the lead early, but Ivan Franjic levelled on the half hour. A disjointed performance from Glory was again punished after a defensive error let in Samuel Silvera who made no mistake. Glory pressed after half time but couldn't break down a desperate Mariners side with WA-born keeper Mark Birighitti outstanding.
Glory Coach Tony Popovic said the first half was disappointing and they were punished, but he was pleased how the players reacted after half time, but they couldn't find a goal. "Obviously we're disappointed to lose at home," he said post-match. "We gave it everything in the second half, but we were not very good in the first half, we acknowledge that. But we felt that we still had a lot of time in the second half to put it right, but it wasn't to be. We attacked, we were in their box constantly, they [Central Coast Mariners] were desperate in their defending."
"They had something to hold onto and those games are always difficult. You need something individual or something to come off a set-play just to break it and get the momentum, but the goal just wouldn't come. The players were off today in the first half collectively and the back line in particular didn't look as cohesive as it has in the first rounds. Credit to Central Coast, they stretched us and we didn't handle that well or match their intensity in the first half. We brought it more together in the second half, but it wasn't to be."
Glory went into the game unchanged from the side that beat Wellington Phoenix last week, but on the bench were Nick D'Agostino and Jake Brimmer after both recovered from injury, while Kristian Popovic was unavailable due international duty. It was a great day for football but once again a poor crowd was on hand at kick off, which must be a concern for the club. It was Glory who had most of the ball early, but they didn't create any chances, but on the other hand the Mariners did.
First on eight minutes form Bristol City striker Milan Duric's shot beat Liam Reddy, but the post came to the keepers’ rescue, the rebound fell to De Silva who couldn't turn the ball home. But nine minutes later the Mariners deservedly hit the front. Tommy Orr sent Jack Clisby down the left, and the former Glory defender cut the ball back to De Silva who found the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the box. But on 31 minutes the Glory found the equaliser.
Diego Castro found space on the left of the penalty area and he picked out Juande, whose shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Birighitti, but Franjic was quickest to react to the rebound to fire home. Many in the 8,148 crowd thought the Glory would go on with it, but they looked lethargic and the long trip to Wellington looked like it was taking its toll and Popovic noticed it too, dragging defender Gregory Wuthrich and replacing him with Jacob Tratt. But the former Sydney FC defender was caught out on the stroke of half time as the Mariners regained the lead. There looked little danger when Tratt got the ball but he had his pocket pinched by the lively Silvera, whose curling effort beat Reddy to give the visitors the lead at the break.
Glory made a better start to the second half and Man of the Match Birighitti produced a stunning reaction save to deny Bruno Fornaroli, who had been picked out by Neil Kilkenny. The Mariners custodian was at it again on 53 minutes, this time getting down well to save Fornaroli's shot at his near post. It was one-way traffic as Glory pressed and the Mariners were lucky to keep ten men on the pitch after a heavy tackle from Clisby on Franjic on the hour, who had already received a yellow card, should have seen the defender receive a second one but referee Kurt Ams, who had shown yellow cards for similar challenges kept his cards in his pocket this time.
It looked like it wasn't going to be the Glory's day as Fornaroli and second half substitute Joel Chianese both went close to scoring after good work from Castro. Birighitti was then well-placed to claim Chianese's header, before Kilkenny shot from the edge of the box was deflected inches over the top. But the Mariners weren't to be beaten and they defended desperately at the final whistle they had secured their first win in Perth since 2013. Mariners Coach Alen Stajcic praised the win as a result built on heart and effort. “I saw the stat [away record] but I didn’t pass it onto the lads before the game,” he said.
“I thought we were well organised and really dominated in the first half and created four or five good goal scoring opportunities, while Perth had one or two half chances. In the second half we dug in and showed a lot of resilience and toughness, it was good for the boys to put in a hard shift and to know they can play against probably the best front line in the league and get three points away from home. This is probably the toughest draw of our competition this year. Two away games in Perth and Melbourne and our bus broke down as well on the way to the airport so it was a two-and-a-half-hour trip from the Central Coast to Sydney Airport and then the five-hour flight across as well too so we did it tough.”
Elsewhere in the A-League, Melbourne City overcame an early scare from Wellington Phoenix to snare a 3-2 victory at AAMI Park and climb top of the ladder. City's higher goal tally puts them ahead of second-placed Western Sydney, who played out a 0-0 draw with Brisbane on Saturday. Western United conceded two early goals against Melbourne Victory but rallied to defeat their crosstown rivals 3-2 at Marvel Stadium, while Sydney FC hammered Newcastle 4-1 on Friday night at Leichhardt Oval for their third win of the season.
Footballwa.net - Man of the Match - Mark Birighitti
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH (3 Jacob TRATT 37'), 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM (7 Joel CHIANESE 59'), 13 Osama MALIK (18 Nick D’AGOSTINO 75'), 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Sub not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 28 Gabriel POPOVIC
Central Coast Mariners: GK Mark BIRIGHITTI, 2 Ian Zygmunt GORDON, 3 Jack CLISBY, 6 Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO, 7 Milan DURIC, 10 Tommy OAR (19 Matthew SIMON 79'), 11 Daniel DE SILVA (4 Eunsun KIM 58'), 15 Kye ROWLES (21 Ruon TONGYIK 74'), 16 Dylan FOX, 17 Samuel SILVERA, 18 Gianni STENSNESS - Subs not used: RGK Adam PEARCE, 8 Michael MCGLINCHEY, 9 Jordan MURRAY, 26.Joshua NISBET - Attendance: 8148 - Referee: Kurt Ams
WILLIAMS UPBEAT AFTER TOUGH CAMPAIGN TO DATE
Portsmouth winger Ryan Williams didn’t have the best start to life at Fratton Park this summer. Having signed for Kenny Jackett’s side from Rotherham United in the summer, the right-winger missed all of the pre-season through injury before making his Pompey debut in mid-September against Burton Albion.
Williams has now started the last three League One games for Portsmouth, and he believes his best is still to come as he adapts to the standards that Jackett expects from his wingers. “I missed all of pre-season, unfortunately, so have been doing catch up,” aid the former ECU Joondalup junior.
“Once you get 3-7 games under your belt, that is when you really start to bed in, knowing your place in the team, knowing where you need to be. I am nearly there… there’s a little bit more creativity to come from me, a little bit more good bits of what I do, rather than five minutes this, 10 minutes that.”
Williams his professional career with Portsmouth and made six appearances before moving on to Fulham in 2012. He was then loaned to Oxford United, Gillingham and Barnsley, transferring permanently to the latter in 2015, before joining Rotherham, where he totalled 88 appearances across two seasons.
JOEYS STUN NIGERIA TO QUALIFY FOR ROUND OF 16
A brace from German-based striker Noah Botic has given the Joeys a 2-1 win against Nigeria at the FIFA Under 17's World Cup at the Estadio Bezerrão in Brasilia, and has seen them qualify for the round of 16. The Hoffenheim striker, who has scored in every group game in the tournament, gave Trevor Morgan's side the lead early but Peter Olawale hit back for the Super Eagles, but Botic, who played in the NPLNSW with Rockdale City Suns, held his nerve to win it from the penalty spot after half-time.
“It was a game that we had to win and we got three points, it’s an amazing feeling,” Joeys midfielder Idrus Abdulahi said. “We had to fight, we had to defend and this is the part of the game we have to do, we did it really well and got the three points, that’s what matters. The belief that we can win, it doesn’t matter who it is, we showed it and we beat the best team, probably one of the best teams in the tournament.”
It was Nigeria who started the brighter and Joey's keeper Adam Pavlesic. made a smart save to deny Akinkunmi Amoo early. But against the run of play on 13 minutes the Joeys hit the front. No10 sent no 7 down the left channel and he pulled the ball back to an unmarked Botic, who made no mistake. But eight minutes later Nigeria levelled, Olawale was picked out on the right of the penalty area, he did look close to being offside but the flag stayed down and he curled home superbly past Pavlesic. The Joeys still looked dangerous going forward and they almost regained the lead late, but Tristan Hammond shot flashed inches wide, and at the break it was all-square.
Nigeria, who had already qualified for the next stage, went close to the lead early in the second half when Olakunle Olusegun’s long-range shot skimmed the post with Pavlesic well beaten. But on 53 minutes the Joeys hit the front again. A quick counter attack caught Nigeria napping and Southampton youngster Caleb Watts was hauled down in the box by Clement Ikenna and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Botic stepped up and sent Joseph Oluwabusola the wrong way from the spot. The Joeys went close to a third on the hour, Hammond's shot was well saved by Oluwabusola
The Super Eagles, who won the 2013 and 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, weren't going down without a fight and they pressed late looking for the equaliser. Amoo forced a smart save from Pavlesic as Nigeria poured forward and Izaack Powell cleared a goal-bound effort off the line as Australia held on to inflict only Nigeria's third defeat in their last 31 FIFA U-17 World Cup matches and move them into a round of 16 clash with European powerhouse France.
Joeys: GK Adam PAVLESIC, 2 Idrus ABDULAHI, 4 Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS, 5 Izaack POWELL, 6 Ryan TEAGUE, 7 Tristan HAMMOND, 9 Noah BOTIC, 10 Caleb WATTS (8 Birkan KIRDAR 79’), 13 Joshua RAWLINS (16 Luke DUKEL 80’) 15 Anton MLINARIC, 21 Cameron PEUPION (11 Ali AUGLAH 55’) - Subs not used: RGK Oliver KALAC, RGK Nicholas BILOKAPIC, 3 Daniel WALSH, 14 Trent OSTLER, 17 Yaya DUKULY, 19 Michael RUHS, 20 Luis LAWRIE-LATTANZIO
Nigeria: GK Joseph OLUWABUSOLA, 2 Oluwatimilehin ADENIYI, 4 Samson TIJANI, 5 Ferdinard IKENNA, 6 Usman IBRAHIM, 7 Olakunle OLUSEGUN, (18 Ibraheem JABAAR 62'), 8 Hamzat OJEDIRAN, 11 Quadri EDUN, 12 Peter OLAWALE (Divine NWACHUKWU 83'), 13 Akinkunmi AMOO, 20 Ibrahim SAID - Subs not used: RGK Sunday STEPHEN, RGK Daniel JINADU, 3 Charles ETIM, 9 Wisdom UBANI, 10 Peter AGBA, 14 Daniel FRANCIS, 15 Monsuru OPEYEMI, 19 Abba BICHI
GLORY WIN THE GOLD FIELDS CHALLENGE CUP
With the Westfield W-League just around the corner Perth Glory were on form in the Gold Fields Challenge Cup running out deserved 4-0 winners over the Gold Fields WA Women’s State Team at Percy Doyle Reserve on Friday night. Early goals from Lexie Moreno and Caitlin Doeglas got Glory off to the perfect start, before Leticia McKenna added two more after the break to put the result beyond doubt. It didn’t take long for Glory to register the first goal of the match when, after three minutes, Moreno was given too much space on the edge of the box and she finished clinically into the bottom corner past keeper Gabby Dal Busco. They doubled their lead three minutes later through a quality finish from Doeglas after good work from Tia Stonehill to win the ball back high up the pitch.
Moreno headed just wide before the State side had a chance to pull one back when joint-Women’s Gold Medal winner Gemma Craine let off a powerful shot which Glory keeper Eliza Campbell was equal to.
After the break, Glory continued to show their class as they controlled the game well and would add a third after 56 minutes when McKenna’s cross found sailed over the head of WA substitute keeper Rebecca Bennett and in at the far post.
On an unseasonably cold and blustery night, Glory rounded out an impressive pre-season performance with a fourth goal in the 66th minute as McKenna again found the back of the net for the 2019 Westfield W-League grand finalists. The Hyundai NTC forward grabbed her second of the night with a shot on the turn that nestled into the bottom corner. Glory continue their pre-season preparations ahead of the new Westfield W-League campaign which gets under way with an away trip to Canberra United on Sunday, November 17.
Gold Fields WA Women’s State Team: GK Gabby Dal Busco, 21 Christiane Astorp, 15 Carla Bennett, 25 Tiana Botha, 6 Gemma Craine, 17 Tessa De Leo, 8 Jamie Duncanson, 23 Renee Leota, 4 Bronwyn Studman, 12 Larissa Walsh, 20 Laura Waltman - Substitutes: 16 Rebecca Bennett, 11 Melanie Doeglas, 18 Emily Henderson, 24 Poppie Hooks, 13 Emma McMurdo, 14 Sophia Neal, 5 Thalia Organ, 7 Melissa Shepherd
Perth Glory: GK Eliza Campbell, 13 Jamie Lee Gale, 14 Caitlin Doeglas, 15 Alexia Moreno, 18 Isabella Foletta, 24 Natasha Rigby, 25 Tia Stonehill, 31 Aeysha Norrie, 9 Julia Sardo, 32 Hannah Burke, 10 Katarina Jukic - Substitutes: 2 Sarah Carroll, 3 Kim Carroll, 5 Shannon May, 11 Leticia McKenna, 12 Jenna Onions, 16 Isabella Wallhead, 17 Liana Cook, 19 Hannah Lowry, 23 Stacey Cavill, 4 Tijan McKenna, 32 Taneesha Baker - Referee: Shane Skinner
MARINERS UP NEXT FOR THE GLORY BOYS
After two weeks on the road, Perth Glory return home to HBF Park on Sunday afternoon where they will meet Central Coast Mariners in Week Four of the Hyundai A-League. (3.00pm) Buoyed by their first win of the season against the Phoenix in Wellington, Glory will look to get their first home win of the new campaign to keep their unbeaten start to 2019-20. Bruno Fornaroli scored his first goal for the club last week, but his all-round performance was good, and his link-up play with skipper Diego Castro and Chris Ikonomidis caused the Nix's trouble and I'm sure Head Coach Tony Popovic will be looking for more of the same against Alen Stajcic’s Mariners side, who are still searching for their first win of the season.
"That win [over Wellington] just confirms that we played well in the first two games, just not over the 90 minutes for various reasons, we're still not at 90 minutes, that's for sure, but we certainly increased the quality and the time we spent playing at a very good level, they[the players] are all happy about that,” Popovic said. "They have some points to show for it in terms of a win from what is a very difficult away trip for us and now we can see that they're all looking forward to playing at home in front of our fans and their families and friends. We want to do all we can to perform well and get those three points at home. With each match, there's been an improvement and we expect that to continue. We certainly don't feel after a win that we are now at our best, but we have certainly improved and now we hope to continue seeing those improvements for a long period."
Popovic is delighted with the on-field chemistry which has already developed between attacking trio Castro, Fornaroli and Ikonomidis. "The potential of the front three is huge, and when you think where Bruno's been and what's possible with him and with Chris, after a four month lay-off due to his shoulder injury and Diego, who is probably like a really good bottle of wine, he just keeps getting better and better,” he explained. “Hopefully that combination can keep flourishing and with the support of the players behind them, we can keep getting them the ball in the right areas where they can really express themselves and show their quality."
The Mariners will head West after producing good performances in both of their opening two games and the coach knows they will provide his team a stern test. "What we've seen of them is that they are a very well-organised team, and you can see that there is a real fighting spirit amongst them and they're all working for each other really hard and they have some talented players," he said. "They've had a week off with the bye, so we expect them to be very fresh and come with high intensity from the start and we've got to be ready for that. But we're also confident in our own ability that we can continue on from Wellington and put in a very good performance."
In team news, Glory duo Nick D'Agostino and Jake Brimmer are in the squad, both still returning to full fitness and could come into contention for selection, while Chris Harold and Brandon Wilson are also added to the squad, but Kristian Popovic is unavailable due to international commitments with the Young Socceroos. Mariners Irish defender Dylan Fox said the vibe remains upbeat amongst a squad despite still searching for their first win. “Everyone has been really upbeat,” the 25-year-old said. “Those two games we all know that we should have got results so everyone is really positive and knows those results are coming. We’ve been putting the hard work in at training, executing the coach’s instructions and working on those little moments and everyone knows we can match the teams. Everyone [in the team] gets along well regardless of position and the group has been top notch which is something I’ve really enjoyed.”
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jacob TRATT, 4 Gregory WUTHRICH, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 12 Kim SOO-BEOM, 13 Osama MALIK, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Nick D’AGOSTINO, 19 Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 27 JUANDE, 28 Gabriel POPOVIC, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: HAROLD (promoted), WILSON (promoted), D’AGOSTINO (returns from injury), BRIMMER (returns from injury) - Outs: 29 Kristian POPOVIC (international duty) - Unavailable: Nil
Central Coast Mariners: GK Mark BIRIGHITTI, RGK Adam PEARCE, 2 Ian Zygmunt GORDON, 3 Jack CLISBY, 4 Eunsun KIM, 6 Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO, 7 Milan DURIC, 8 Michael MCGLINCHEY, 9 Jordan MURRAY, 10 Thomas OAR, 11 Daniel DE SILVA, 14 Abraham MAJOK, 15 Kye ROWLES, 16 Dylan FOX, 17 Samuel SILVERA, 18 Gianni STENSNESS, 19 Matthew SIMON, 21 Ruon TONGYIK, 22 Jacob MELLING, 26 Joshua NISBET - *2-4 to be omitted*- Ins: MELLING (Promoted), NISBET (Promoted) - Unavailable: 25.John ROBERTS (International Duty) - Outs: Nil - Referee: Kurt Ams
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This page was last updated on the 24th October, 2019