Marco Rojas fired a double to keep up his scorching form as a youthful Melbourne Victory recorded an emphatic 4-0 win against an out-of-sorts Perth Glory.
Rojas slammed Victory into a 29th-minute lead and, after Andrew Nabbout earned and scored a penalty on the hour mark, the Kiwi forward netted another precision finish on 69 minutes to notch his fourth goal in two games, his sixth strike of the season and his 33rd Hyundai A-League goal for the club.
Elvis Kamsoba came off the bench to mark his 41st competition appearance with a long-awaited first goal, two minutes into stoppage time, and the Burundi international celebrated with some much-anticipated acrobatics to put an exclamation mark on a stunning performance and result.
Victory's interim coach Grant Brebner fielded four teenagers from the start – 19-year-olds Aaron Anderson and Jay Barnett, and 18-year-olds Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio and Birkan Kirdar – and the quartet all played valuable roles in shackling the competition's third top scorers, while Lawrie-Lattanzio and Kirdar both recorded assists. Nineteen-year-old duo Lleyton Brooks and So Nishikawa also came off the bench – with Brooks also notching an assist for Kamsoba on debut.
Tony Popovic’s side controlled the larger share of possession throughout, but an off-target effort from James Meredith was the only first-half effort Glory could muster in a performance lacking intensity, as Brebner’s side halted an unwanted club-record run of five straight losses in impressive style and inflicted Perth’s third defeat in five matches since the competition’s resumption.
Victory are locked in 10th place on the ladder with one match remaining of an underwhelming season, but the promising performances of their youngsters will act as a silver lining. The results means Glory's top-six place is still not confirmed, although they will book their ticket to the Finals Series if Adelaide United fail to beat Melbourne City on Tuesday night.
Popovic rung the changes, switching five players from the 3-1 win against Western Sydney Wanderers, but Glory comfortably settled into the game, bossing possession in the opening quarter of an hour. Where Perth could not convert their dominance into chances, Victory surged forward with Adama Traore on the left and Nabbout saw his shot blocked by Tarek Elrich before Lawrie-Lattanzio dragged his effort wide of Liam Reddy’s goal.
The Western Australians finally worked an opportunity to shoot on 22 minutes when Fornaroli found Meredith but the Socceroos wing-back drilled his effort over the Victory crossbar – and seven minutes later Kiwi live-wire Rojas put on a finishing exhibition. Lawrie-Lattanzio found the 28-year-old New Zealander in a central area and Rojas evaded a loose challenge by Joel Chianese and lashed a 25-yard effort beyond Reddy’s full-length dive.
The goal rocked Glory and they upped the tempo in an attempt to break down a compact Victory defence as Jake Brimmer’s through ball almost found Fornaroli lurking at the far post. But Perth’s hard work was nearly undone once again when Juande slipped, allowing Nabbout to charge through on goal. Under pressure from Tomi Mrcela, the Socceroos forward could only skew his shot wide as Popovic and his players breathed a sigh of relief heading into the sheds at half-time.
A persistent Nabbout went back to the well, shooting over the crossbar on 46 minutes as Glory failed to put a stamp on the game after half-time. Popovic replaced a downbeat Fornaroli by bringing on Nick D’Agostino on 59 minutes and suddenly Perth had a mountain to climb when Elrich hauled down the pacey Nabbout in the area and the 27-year-old picked himself up to convert his seventh goal of the season from 12 yards out.
Kirdar came close to adding to the score on 64 minutes but the teenager's driven strike was grabbed at the second attempt by Reddy with Lawrie-Lattanzio lying in wait. D’Agostino hammered a speculative effort off target as Glory pushed for a response, before Rojas once again showed Perth how it was done, collecting Kirdar's pass and adding a curling finish into the corner of Reddy’s net to make it three.
Nabbout gave Perth another reminder of his threat on 75 minutes but lifted his attempt over, as the game started to become stretched. An 84th-minute Neil Kilkenny corner found Osama Malik in space but the Glory defender could not control his strike. The final word went to 89th-minute substitute Kamsoba, who latched on to a pass from Brooks and drilled a rifled shot past Reddy before taking off with a series of handsprings and a backflip to rub salt into Glory's wounds.
- Perth Glory v Western United
When: Wednesday, 12 August
Where: Bankwest Stadium
Kick-off: 5.35pm (AEST)
- Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne Victory
When: Wednesday, 12 August
Where: Bankwest Stadium
Kick-off: 8.10pm (AEST)
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