Melbourne City FC
Perth Glory
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AAMI Park
2021-01-31T07:40:00+00:00
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Gutsy Glory hold firm as D’Agostino’s header finishes off City

Perth Glory held off the Melbourne City onslaught as Nick D’Agostino’s late header clinched a resolute 3-1 away win at AAMI Park.

Glory went into the match with the competition’s worst defence after leaking 10 goals in three games but Richard Garcia’s side, led by the returning Diego Castro, managed to shackle Jamie Maclaren and company through the second 45 minutes and build on their half-time advantage.

Despite playing their fourth match in 11 days, Glory came out firing with Daniel Stynes netting his first A-League goal in the 11th minute, but Patrick Kisnorbo’s side quickly settled on their first run-out in 15 days as star striker Maclaren pounced to level the scores in the 33rd minute.

The Socceroos ace could have secured a match ball in the first half, benefiting from the excellent service of Japanese winger Naoki Tsubaki and English attacker Craig Noone, but a combination of tenacious defending, Tando Velaphi’s reflexes and the frame of the Perth goal kept Maclaren at bay.

Kiwi defender Dane Ingham slipped his marker, debutant Kerrin Stokes, to score a crucial header from Neil Kilkenny’s 42nd-minute free-kick, given after a VAR review, to take a 2-1 lead into the sheds. Garcia’s team then showed the resilience and mental strength that has so often eluded them this season to fend off wave after wave of City attacks and preserve their advantage.

Another superb Kilkenny delivery sealed all three points as substitute D’Agostino powered in his fourth goal of the season in the 84th minute, lifting the Western Australians off the bottom of the A-League to move level with City in the middle of table on six points from four games.

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Key moments

With Glory having both scored and conceded the most goals in the A-League this season, despite only playing three games, it was no surprise this encounter was wide open from the start. Perth surged forward, Carlo Armiento saw a shot blocked from Bruno Fornaroli’s chest pass, and Dane Ingham’s header from the resulting corner crashed off  the crossbar in the seventh minute.

City were quick to reply as Darryl Lachman denied Jamie Maclaren a sight of goal with a fine block before the Socceroo found space and cannoned a shot that off the post and back into Tando Velaphi's grateful arms. Then, in the blink of an eye, Glory were ahead as Fornaroli robbed Craig Noone and Diego Castro set up Daniel Stynes to slam an 11th-minute strike off Curtis Good and into the City net for his first senior goal.

GOAL: Stynes - Glory take the lead at AAMI Park

Tsubaki then came to life, crossing for Maclaren to head over on the quarter hour, and the Japanese winger made another chance for City's hitman but Velaphi was quick to gather his flicked effort. Back came Glory in the 22nd minute, Joshua Rawlins’ cross evaded everybody apart from Castro, who ghosted behind debutant Kerrin Stokes, but the Spanish maestro could not find the target from close range.

Perth were living dangerously, surviving a scramble with Maclaren lurking, and the poacher finally found the net with an instinctive finish after Jonathan Aspropotamitis gifted the ball away and Noone’s effort came back off the upright. Minutes later, Glory coach Richard Garcia made a tactical switch with Brandon Wilson replacing Callum Timmins, and City’s Adrian Luna and Armiento traded more attempts off target.

GOAL: Maclaren - Former Perth striker draws things level

Glory had the final word of the half when Neil Kilkenny's whipped free-kick found its way to Ingham and the Kiwi edged ahead of his marker Connor Metcalfe to finish from close range. City led the shot count 11-7 in a breathless opening 45 minutes, and Perth went for the jugular three minutes after the restart with the fleet-footed Castro so close to finding Fornaroli with a low cross, before the skipper teed up Stynes to blaze over. 

GOAL: Ingham - Perth go into the tunnel a goal up

Patrick Kisnorbo’s side continued to pile forward on the hour mark, with Velaphi making a fine stop to deny Luna’s half volley on the turn, and the Uruguayan turned provider as Metcalfe missed a free header midway through the second stanza. The midfielder drilled another attempt in the 74th minute but could not control his strike and Glory edged closer to a 45-minute shutout.

SAVE: Velaphi - Glory shot-stopper covering all his angles

Adrian Luna again threatened the Glory goal in the 78th minute but the hosts were not able to break down a determined Perth defence in the same way they did in the first half, and City's comeback attempt soon came crashing down. Another pinpoint Kilkenny delivery later, and another Nick D'Agostino goalscoring cameo, and the Western Australians were celebrating a stunning away triumph.

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Next fixtures

Matchweek 6
Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne City 
Wednesday, 3 February 2021
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEDT
Match Centre

Matchweek 7
Adelaide United v Perth Glory
Friday, 5 February 2021
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEDT
Match Centre

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