Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson said he was extremely proud of the courage his men had shown coming from two goals down to rescue a point in a remarkable 2-2 draw with Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium on Sunday
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson said he was extremely proud of the courage his team had shown coming from two goals down to rescue a point in a remarkable 2-2 draw with Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Glory looked out on their feet after Melbourne had shot to a 2-0 lead on 58 minutes, particularly considering the visitors had had Liam Miller sent off in the first half.
But faced with a fourth straight defeat, they lifted themselves off the canvas through goals from Andrezinho and Shane Smeltz to claim a share of the spoils.
Ferguson said the players had every reason to think circumstances were conspiring against them and they were destined for another defeat, but they lifted superbly.
"The situation that we were in, 2-0 down and a man sent off, with a penalty, it looked as though the world was against us at one point, but to come back from 2-0 down against Melbourne away from home and get a point shows great character and determination from the boys, which I was really proud with," he said.
"I was feeling as low as a snake's belly button. That's the gut-wrenching feeling you get when you lose three when we shouldn't have and then we were in that position."
Ferguson felt the change in the game came when he brought on Andrezinho for Billy Mehmet, which saw them change formation with 20 minutes to go.
Andrezinho made an immediate impact with a brilliant 25m goal from a free kick, while Perth dominated the final stages with more mobility, making it look like Melbourne were the one holding on for a result.
"We change the shape a bit and we went to three at the back. We went for four across the middle and that caused them problems," the Perth coach said.
"We had to chase the game and it worked for us. I though the midfield took control of the game and I thought the boys up front were outstanding."
"We were able to use our substitutes well, Andrezinho hits an absolute cracker and Todd Howarth comes off the bench to provide the cross for Smeltz."
"We were able to control the game with ten men which was pleasing."
Meanwhile, Ferguson said he believes the referee had erred in awarding a penalty against defender Bas van den Brink in the 53rd minute, while the club would review the red card against Miller.
Perth's task of breaking a four-match winless run next week won't be easy with Glory to play top of the table Brisbane next Saturday.