Date: 9 February 2003
Venue: Litis Stadium, Perth, Western Australia
Western Australia : Corey Hugo, Troy Bernard, Doug Ithier, Shaun Kilkelly, Todd Howarth, Todd Harnwell, James Afkos, Carl Medica (Rob Giorgi 51), Stuart Montgomery (Scott Campbell 51), Andreas Oliviera, Branimir Mikulic (Ryan Newhill 51)
Perth Glory : Vince Matassa, Mohammad Mouhouti, Shane Pryce, Jamie Harnwell (David Tarka 40), Mark Byrnes, Jamie Coyne, Simon Colosimo, Anthony Danze, Adrian Caceres, Bobby Despotovski (Nick Mrdja 40), Brad Hassell
Referee: Stephen Muldoon
On a day which saw the mercury in Perth exceed 41 degrees celsius, National Soccer League leaders Perth Glory went to battle with the West Australian State team under lights at Litis Stadium. Prior to kick-off State coach Gary Marocchi questioned the value in having the State team playing so far out of season, the opening round of the 2003 Night Series still a week away. With the match reduced to two halves of 40 minutes due to the heat, it was the State side which started the stronger with right wingback Todd Harnwell creating several nervous moments in the Glory defence. The first clear-cut opportunity of the evening came the way of Glory when Anthony Danze hit the frame of the goal after 7 minutes. The young Glory midfielder had better luck with his next attempt 60-seconds, his header from an Adrian Caceres cross coming back off the post and, as Corey Hugo attempted to gather, the midfielder made no mistake with the rebound.
The State team immediately set about finding an equaliser. A long diagonal ball into the area by Andreas Oliveira narrowly evaded the out-stretched boot of Harnwell as he charged in at the far post. The same two players combined again in the 19th minute when Harnwell's low shot beat goalkeeper Vince Matassa only to crash into the post following a weaving run to the by-line by Oliveira. Six minutes later Carl Medica tried his luck from long-range, Matassa diving full-length as the ball whizzed narrowly wide. Jamie Coyne should have doubled Glory's margin after 27 minutes when, despite legitimate appeals for offside, he raced onto a defence-splitting pass from Caceres only to pull his shot across the face of goal. Three minutes later the State failed to adequately deal with a corner, the ball falling at the feet of Coyne who was this time denied by a fine reflex save from Hugo.
It took Glory just 46-seconds into the new half to extend their lead. Substitute Nick Mrdja raced away down the left before centring low to the unmarked Brad Hassell who knocked in the simplest of goals from close-range. With the State team short on match practice, two goals down, and showing clear signs of tiring, Glory would control the remainder of the match. A darting run into attack by Caceres was deserving of better finishing as Hassell sent his shot well over the crossbar. On the hour Hassell squandered another opportunity to add to Glory's tally by shooting wide after again being teed-up by the hard-working Caceres. Shortly after Nick Mrdja shot disappointingly into the side-netting from close-range after some good lead-up work by Coyne.
The State team upped the ante in attempt to peg back the margin with twenty minutes remaining. James Afkos made a surging run into attack where Oliveira quickly relayed the ball to Ryan Newhill whose explosive strike was brilliantly saved by Matassa. Moments later, and down the other end, Hugo came to his sides rescue by pulling off a smothering save at the feet of Mrdja as he attempted to get the better of the State goalkeeper. Doug Ithier's explosive 76th minute free-kick went under the Glory wall only to be gathered on the line by Matassa. Danze gave Glory fans more reason to celebrate in the 77th minute when he steered home a low Caceres cross at the back post to make it 3-0. Glory were not finished yet and, in the very last minute of play, David Tarka headed in the side's fourth after Shane Pryce flicked on Hassell's near post corner.
It was a brave performance by an under-prepared State side who, ultimately, were over-powered by a far fitter and more composed team. While Glory really should have made more of their opportunities in front of goal, their general play and movement both on and off the ball would have pleased coach Mich d'Avray. There were good performances from right-sided midfielder Coyne and his counterpart on the left Caceres, while Simon Colosimo improved as the match progressed in his debut outing for the club. For the State team - who had only one training session prior to match day - Afkos and Harnwell provided the drive as the side went forward as Oliveira worked tirelessly without result in attack.
Date: 22 November 2003
Venue: Collingwood Park, Albany, Western Australia
Western Australia (squad): Jeff Bright, Keith Brown, Darren Broxton, Scott Bulloch, Adam Bunce, Aaron Cole, Kevin Coreira, Shane Crampton, Alan Dunlop, Simon Harland, John Higgins, Todd Howarth, Cory Hugo, Anthony Jones, Shaun Kilkelly, Jamie Kuzmanovich, Dale McCulloch, Andy Mason, Andreas Oliveira, Leon Russell, Craig Surtees, Adrian Sutton, Glen Thomas, Daniel Trim, Neil Young
Iraq (squad): Rafid Badraddin, Haidar Jabar, Saeed Muhsin, Nashat Akram, Abbas Hassan, Qusai Munir, Jassim Swadi, Mohanad Mohammed Ali, Haidar Abdul-Kadir, Emad Aoda, Ahmed Manajid, Odai Talib, Haitham Khadim Tahir, Nassir Talaa, Basim Abbas, Qusai Hashim, Younis Mahmoud, Saad Nassir, Salih Sadir, Haidar Obaid
Iraq have ended their ten-day visit to Western Australia with a 4-0 defeat of the State team in an exhibition match played at Collingwood Park in sunny Albany this afternoon. Played in front of a crowd numbering around 1,500 the State opened brightly to quickly have Iraq under pressure. In the 14th minute Dale McCulloch's quickly taken free-kick found an unmarked Andy Mason who superbly controlled the ball before volleying past goalkeeper Jammel Saad, only to have the goal disallowed by referee Angelo Nardi who called play back to have the free-kick retaken. A few minutes later Keith Brown combined down the left with Todd Howarth whose glorious cross into the area was side-footed in by Garin Collins but it too was disallowed, this time for offside. Iraq immediately launched a counter-attack in which Ahmed Rafid was brought down outside the area, and with the aid of a strong breeze Jassim Swadi crashed the ball into the back of the net from a tight angle. In the minutes that followed the State side were tested as Iraq sought to increase their lead but with captain Adrian Sutton leading by example West Australia survived the onslaught. Eight minutes from half-time Iraq did add to their tally with a fine move down the left that resulted in captain Mohannad Mohammed Ali firing in from the top of the 18-yard box.
The second half began just as the first had ended, Iraq doing all the attacking and forcing the host side on to the back foot with some exquisite first touch and lovely movement off the ball befitting the nations' 42nd place on the FIFA world rankings. But for all their possession Iraq were unable to capitalise and West Australia worked their way back into the match. Leon Russell clipped the ball over the defence for substitute Jeff Bright to run on to and send a tempting cross to Daniel Trim whose header flashed wide of the near post with the ‘keeper beaten. Not long after Brown won the State side a free-kick which Bright brilliantly curled around the defensive wall only to see it narrowly miss the target. Iraq then pretty much killed off the game as a contest when Mohannad, after intercepting a throw-in, squared from the left to Ahmed Manajid who made no mistake with a tap-in. With ten minutes to go Adam Bunce found Bright with a tremendous cross-field pass which the youngster took past the defender to deliver a low cross to Collins whose effort bounced just the wrong side of the post. The visitors final goal of the afternoon came a minute from full-time when second half substitute Nasser Talaa converted from the penalty spot after he was brought down inside the area.
"In truth the four goal margin to Iraq did not reflect the game," said State coach Paul Simmons after the match. "We had them under the pump for much of the match. At nil-all we had the ball in the net twice and they were ruled out … I believe a fairer result would have been 3-3. People have underestimated the results the State side achieved Iraq - a team who are now ranked 42 in the world by FIFA. The players showed all the qualities expected of them and have done not only soccer but the people of WA proud. Every member of the squad is worthy of praise, they put in a great effort, were disciplined and their commitment over the series was second to none. I think Bernd Stange put it best when he summed up the WA boys application to the games by saying “the State side played like lions”. But the big winner here was soccer and the hope of peace with good bonds created and friendships formed between the two sides.”
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