Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe has crowned Danny Vukovic the best goalkeeper in the Hyundai A-League after the veteran stopper’s match-winning performance against Melbourne City.
Vukovic made six telling saves in the first half and another early in the second as City dominated the contest early before Glory striker Jamie Maclaren scored a maiden A-League hat-trick to steer the home side to a 3-1 win at nib Stadium on Sunday.
City forward Harry Novillo twice called Vukovic into action in the same passage of play in the 10th minute before the goalkeeper produced another double save to deny Jonatan Germano and Patrick Kisnorbo.
Vukovic also closed down clear scoring opportunities to Novillo and David Williams late in the first half before Maclaren netted the opener on the cusp of half-time.
“Danny is the best keeper in the league…I think you don’t need to say any more than that,” Lowe said at his post-match press conference.
“He’s a good guy – a passionate guy – and he works ever so hard on the training ground and because he does that, that’s what happens out there.
“He actually steps down a level on game day because his standards are so high in training and that’s why he plays the way he plays.”
Lowe was also full of praise for Maclaren, who pounced on a fumble by City goalkeeper Tando Velaphi to score his second and completed his hat-trick three minutes from full-time when he finished off a pinpoint cross from teammate Chris Harold.
Maclaren has now scored eight goals from 19 matches this season after only netting two goals from 18 matches in his debut season.
“He said at half-time he was having a beast, he was a bit unhappy with himself,” Lowe said of the 21-year-old.
“He gets himself into good positions and today he showed he’s clinical and he’s starting to grow and that’s what happens when you start to get game time.
“He’s maturing as a person and a player. I think he’d be the first to admit he’s really stepped up this year in the training environment and again that’s impacting on his game day. It’s superb for the kid.”
Glory sits third on the A-League table, just three points behind leaders Melbourne Victory, but will be relegated to seventh after next week due to breaching the competition salary cap.
Lowe hoped his side would finish the season on a high with a win over the Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium on Anzac Day.
“We’ve had an unbelievable year but also we’ve had an unbelievably tough year,” Lowe said.
“But we’ve got to deal with that and grow and get better and learn from whatever’s gone on.”