A gutsy run from a teenage debutant helped Perth Glory upset Melbourne Victory 1-0 at nib Stadium on Wednesday night.
Jamal Reiners, 17, charged down the left wing in the 74th minute before firing in a low cross to Diego Castro on the goal-line to seal Glory’s second win in five days.
The win helped lift Glory to eighth on the Hyundai A-League table as Victory, having now failed to score in their past three matches, was left to rue a missed opportunity to jump to second.
1-0 Diego Castro (74’) – Seventeen-year-old striker Jamal Reiners, in his starting debut, made a dashing run down the left wing, taking the ball deep into the box before firing a low pass to the Spanish winger on the near post for the easiest of tap-ins.
Besart Berisha – the footballer Perth fans most love to hate – had the chance to ice the match for the visitors in the 65th minute when he took possession of the ball, all alone, in the middle of the penalty area. The Albanian international had goalkeeper Ante Covic well beaten but his left-foot strike crashed into the crossbar before the ball was hastily cleared by Glory’s miserly defence.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
Victory had found the back of the net in each of its past 15 A-League matches against Perth, but the reigning champions have now gone more than five and a half hours without registering a goal.
Glory defender Josh Risdon gave football fans a timely reminder of his immense talent on his return from a three-week absence due to a thigh injury. The 23-year-old, who made his international debut last month, consistently found space down the right wing and created several scoring opportunities for his teammates with his clever foot skills and pinpoint passing.
Glory midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic, who scored a match-winning brace against Central Coast last weekend, left the pitch seven minutes into the second half after pulling up during a chase and clutching at his left hamstring. The Serbian set-piece specialist was not noticeably limping as he walked to the bench, but it appears unlikely he will suit up against Western Sydney on Sunday. Perth left back Marc Warren also hobbled from the pitch in the 66th minute after copping a knock to his right foot.
THE FINAL WORD
Glory coach Kenny Lowe hope last weekend’s breakthrough win against last-placed Central Coast would reignite his team’s season. The men in purple now have two wins on the trot and will take that confidence into Saturday’s clash with league leaders Western Sydney at home. And in a further boost for Lowe and Perth, star striker Andy Keogh is waiting in the wings to resume his A-League career as early as next month.
Victory has now lost three consecutive matches for the first time since February 2013 – not the form Kevin Muscat’s side will want to take into Saturday’s derby against crosstown rivals Melbourne City. No goals in any of those three matches is also a worrying concern, as is the form of key playmakers Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Oliver Bozanic.
Perth Glory: 1.Ante COVIC (GK), 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Marc WARREN (29. Aryn WILLIAMS 66’), 7.Gyorgy SANDOR, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC (17.Diego CASTRO 52’), 11.Richard GARCIA (C), 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 14.Chris HAROLD (18.Mitch OXBORROW 79’), 19.Josh RISDON, 23.Michael THWAITE, 24.Jamal REINERS
Melbourne Victory: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (GK), 2.Jason GERIA, 6.Leigh BROXHAM (C), 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 13.Oliver BOZANIC (22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS 77’), 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH (11.Connor PAIN 61’), 15.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO (19.George HOWARD 89’), 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 18.Dylan MURNANE
Scorers: Diego Castro (74’)
Yellow cards: Rashid Mahazi (55’)
Red cards: Nil
Conditions: 23C, clear
Attendance: 5398 at nib Stadium