D'Agostino nets double as Glory crush Adelaide in long-awaited opener

Perth Glory shows no signs of rustiness as Nick D’Agostino’s brace helped clinch an emphatic 5-3 win over Adelaide United as the Western Australians got their season under way in dominant fashion.

The Olyroos attacker netted either side of half-time at HBF Park as new Glory coach Richard Garcia made a winning start to life as an A-League coach in stunning style in Matchweek 4, 48 days since Glory’s last competitive AFC Champions League match and 318 days since their last A-League home game. 

Neither the absence of inspirational captain Diego Castro or a lack of sharpness proved to be a problem for Perth, as Neil Kilkenny scored from the penalty spot in the 10th minute after Reds goalkeeper Jamie Delianov fouled Bruno Fornaroli, and D’Agostino’s 34th-minute deflected effort doubled the lead.

Nathan Konstandopoulos responded with a goal before half-time on his first Adelaide start in almost 12 months after rupturing his ACL, but Perth powered back after the break with a quick-fire double. Fornaroli converted a pass from the returning Andy Keogh, who is back in WA following spells in Saudi Arabia and India, and D’Agostino headed his second from close range after Kilkenny’s set-piece delivery.

Substitute Carlo Armiento netted his first A-League goal against his his former club in the 84th minute to put the result beyond doubt, as 16-year-old Mohamed Toure and Ben Halloran’s late consolation strikes could not prevent Reds coach Carl Veart’s first loss in his eight matches in charge, while Glory claimed three points from their A-League opener for the first time in six years.

Garcia handed first competition starts to youngsters Daniel Stynes, Josh Rawlins and Callum Timmins, while Curaçao international defender Darryl Lachman also made his debut. There were A-League bows for Glory teenagers Bryce Bafford and Riley Warland from the bench, and Reds coach Veart handed a maiden senior appearance to 15-year-old substitute Jonny Yull.

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Key moments

Glory returned to A-League action without talismanic captain Diego Castro, who was suffering from a hamstring injury, while Adelaide’s key midfielder Stefan Mauk was missing with a calf problem, but it was the hosts that settled quickest and, when Bruno Fornaroli was flattened by Reds goalkeeper James Delianov's rash challenge, Neil Kilkenny stepped up in the 10th minute to give Perth the perfect start.

GOAL: Kilkenny - Experienced player opens Glory's account for the season

Despite their lack of match sharpness, Glory dominated 73% of possession in the opening quarter hour, and they threatened again when Fornaroli slammed A-League debutant Daniel Stynes’ cross at goal from close range only for Noah Smith to make a crucial block. But the Reds would not survive on 34 minutes when Dane Ingham's cross bobbled around the box and eventually Nick D'Agostino lashed in a deflected strike.

GOAL: D'Agostino - Adelaide in real trouble

Out of nowhere, the Reds earned themselves a lifeline in the 42nd minute when Ingham made a mess of clearing Ben Halloran's left-wing delivery and Nathan Konstandopoulos beat Darryl Lachman to the loose ball to sweep in from six yards. Glory closed the half on top but the returning Andy Keogh could not quite direct Kilkenny's whipped free-kick into the top corner of Delianov's goal with his header. 

GOAL: Konstandopoulos - Reds back in it

Perth came out firing after the break and midfielder Callum Timmins saw his fizzing 20-yard drive parried away by Delianov in the 49th minute. Louis D’Arrigo gave Perth gloveman Liam Reddy a scare when his curling strike whistled over seven minutes later, but Fornaroli made no mistake from Keogh’s pass in the 51st minute after Glory ripped the Reds defence apart on the counter.

GOAL: Fornaroli - Glory claim back two-goal-advantage

And the Reds’ bid to stay in the game continued to collapse when D’Agostino found himself unmarked from Kilkenny’s well-flighted free-kick and the 22-year-old finished a simple header to put the result beyond doubt on the hour mark.

GOAL: D'Agostino - Perth cruising to victory

The Reds’ bid to stay in the game continued to collapse as D’Agostino found himself unmarked from Kilkenny’s well-flighted free-kick and finished a simple header and substitute Carlo Armiento drilled in a fifth at Delianov’s near post from a tight angle in the 84th minute. Fellow substitute Mohamed Toure hit an 88th-minute reply and Ben Halloran struck in stoppage time as the sides served up a eight-goal thriller, making it 25 goals from the last four meetings between the teams.

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Next up – Matchweek 5

Western United v Perth Glory
Saturday, 23 January 2021
Venue: GMHBA Stadium
Kick-off: 5.05pm AEDT
Match Centre

Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory
Saturday, 23 January 2021
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Kick-off: 7.10pm AEDT
Match Centre

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