Andy Keogh broke an Australian national league goalscoring record as Perth Glory held off a late Melbourne City fightback to win 3-2 at nib Stadium on Sunday.
The hosts scored three times in a stunning 15-minute period shortly after the restart before City mounted a late comeback that fell narrowly short.
Despite Bruno Fornaroli and substitute Marc Marino cutting the margin to a single goal, City were unable to keep pace with Perth and are now outsiders in the race for the Premiers’ Plate.
Keogh and Gyorgy Sandor earlier fired Glory to a 2-0 lead before Diego Castro’s outstanding volley effectively secured all thee points.
1-0 Andy Keogh (55’) – Nebojsa Marinkovic’s free-kick was bundled back across the face by Diego Castro, leaving an unmarked Andy Keogh to coolly sweep home the opener.
2-0 Gyorgy Sandor (67’) – Freed by Keogh’s clever ball over the top, Sandor stormed into the area and finished well over Thomas Sorensen.
3-0 Diego Castro (69’) – Sensational technique from Castro as he positioned his body perfectly to twist and volley Keogh’s cross into the far bottom corner.
3-1 Bruno Fornaroli (73’) – All class from the league’s leading scorer to race away, fight through Shane Lowry’s challenge and keep his composure in rounding Ante Covic.
3-2 Marc Marino (90’+2) – Mooy’s intelligent pass in behind picked out the run of substitute Marc Marino, who calmly finished under the body of Covic.
Ante Covic’s stunning second-half denial of Harry Novillo laid the platform for Glory’s two-goal, two-minute burst. The veteran goalkeeper somehow turned the Frenchman’s well-struck shot around the post following a neat pass from Aaron Mooy.
Leading 1-0 at the time, Perth stormed 3-0 ahead within five minutes of Covic’s crucial save.
Diego Castro’s jaw-dropping volley effectively clinched victory for Perth in the most exceptional fashion. The Spaniard executed his 69th minute volley to absolute perfection, leaving Thomas Sorensen with no chance.
Michael Zullo had to be replaced by Ben Garuccio late in the second-half after coming off second best in a 50-50 challenge with Josh Risdon. The left-fullback’s post-season participation is now in doubt given his unfortunate history with injuries.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
City coach John van’t Schip still has issues to solve with his defence despite improved displays in recent times. Glory exposed the title hopefuls time and again in the second half to leave van’t Schip with work to do ahead of the Finals Series.
THE FINAL WORD
It promised to be the game of the season and, while five goals didn’t quite equate to an epic, it will still live long in the memory of Perth Glory supporters.
Kenny Lowe’s side fully deserved their fifth straight home win, led initially by Andy Keogh’s record-breaking ninth goal in eight matches – a new Australian national league mark for consecutive goals.
City’s hopes of a first premiership now rest on beating Adelaide United at home in the final round and hoping both Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers fail to win.