A brave Perth Glory came from behind twice to deny Melbourne City the chance to jump to second on the Hyundai A-League table, holding on for a 2-2 draw at nib Stadium on Saturday night.
Despite a brilliant individual game from Aaron Mooy, City twice let slip the lead and failed to take advantage of Glory being reduced to 10 men in the second half when youngster Jacob Collard was sent off for dissent.
Erik Paartalu put City ahead just past the half-hour mark before he conceded a foul on the edge of the box late in the first half, allowing Diego Castro to net a brilliant free kick.
Mooy regained the lead for the visitors shortly after the break before Chris Harold, in his 100th A-League match, broke his goal-scoring duck to prevent Glory from crashing to a third straight loss.
0-1 Erik Paartalu (31’) – The City midfielder managed to get the faintest of touches on a high cross from Aaron Mooy, squeezing the ball between Glory goalkeeper Ante Covic and the back post.
1-1 Diego Castro (45’+2) – With the half-time whistle imminent, the Spaniard brilliantly curled a free kick, courtesy of a foul from Paartalu, from just outside the box into the top-left corner to put the match back on even terms.
1-2 Aaron Mooy (47’) – Two of the A-League’s finest combined for one of the goals of the season. Mooy played the ball to Bruno Fornaroli at the top of the box before continuing his run down the left to collect the return and fire the ball past a hapless Covic.
2-2 Chris Harold (60’) – City goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen was horribly out of position as Glory striker Andy Keogh sized up an opportunity to score. Defender Aaron Hughes managed to block the shot on the goal-line, but could not prevent Harold from picking up the crumbs.
Glory defender Marc Warren looked headed for the bench after appearing to dislocate his right shoulder early in the second half. The maligned left back was strapped up by club medicos and bravely continued on, crucially for Glory following Jacob Collard’s dismissal. Warren’s goal-line clearance in the dying minutes proved the difference between Perth taking any point away from the match.
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Perth seems to be a bogey destination for City, with the club failing to collect maximum points from any of their past six visits to nib Stadium.
Glory youngster Jacob Collard is certain to receive an education session on the consequences of ill-discipline this week after being given his marching orders for picking up a second yellow card in the 63rd minute. The second-gamer was already cautioned for a first-half foul on Bruno Fornaroli, but it was his decision to kick the ball away in disgust after conceding a foul that would have earnt the wrath of Perth coach Kenny Lowe.
City goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen could not stay out of the wars on Saturday night. The former English Premier League stopper crashed to the turf in agony after just six minutes following a collision with Josh Risdon and was noticeably limping for the rest of the first half. The bruised, battered but brave Sorensen again rose to his feet in obvious pain after brutal challenge from Glory’s Mitch Oxborrow shortly after the break.
A brave performance from Glory, particularly after going down to 10 men for the second week in a row. However, Kenny Lowe’s side failed to claim the three points for the fifth consecutive week and remote finals aspirations the club still holds could be all but crushed if Perth does not secure a win against the Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium next Sunday.
City will rue the chance to jump to second of the table and move within just one point of leaders Western Sydney. Expect John van’t Schip to manage his squad meticulously over the next week before they embark on two games in five days, first against Wellington Phoenix at home on Monday week before heading north to tackle the Wanderers the following Friday.
Perth Glory: 1.Ante COVIC (GK), 3.Marc WARREN, 7.Gyorgy SANDOR, 9.Andy KEOGH (24.Jamal REINERS 68’), 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 14.Chris HAROLD (11.Richard GARCIA 77’), 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Mitch OXBORROW, 19.Josh RISDON (C), 25.Jacob COLLARD, 29.Aryn WILLIAMS
Melbourne City: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 3.Aaron HUGHES, 6.Erik PAARTALU, 8.Aaron MOOY, 9.Harry NOVILLO, 11.Michael ZULLO (19.Ben GARUCCIO 68’), 18.Paulo RETRE (15.David WILLIAMS 74’), 22.Jack CLISBY, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 24.Patrick KISNORBO (C), 25.Jacob MELLING (16.Jason TRIFIRO 77’)
Scorers: Erik Paartalu (31’), Diego Castro (45’+2), Aaron Mooy (47’), Chris Harold (60’)
Red cards: Jacob Collard (63’)
Yellow cards: Jack Clisby (23’), Jacob Collard (30’), Erik Paartalu (45’+1), Andy Keogh (63’), Aryn Williams (78’), Ben Garuccio (80’), Jason Trifiro (86’)
Conditions: 30C, humid