Perth denies Adelaide

A late goal from Victor Sikora has given the Perth Glory a 1-0 victory over Adelaide United in a dramatic Friday night contest at ME Bank Stadium.

A late goal from Victor Sikora has given the Perth Glory a 1-0 victory over Adelaide United in a dramatic Friday night contest at ME Bank Stadium.

The Reds dominated much of the second half and Perth was only in the contest thanks to a brilliant performance by goalkeeper Tando Velaphi, who produced a string of magnificent saves.

But against the run of play, the Glory took the lead through Sikora 11 minutes from time, the Dutchman starting and finishing a sensational move that sees Perth climb into outright second on the Hyundai A-League table, with Adelaide remaining in seventh.

The one sour note of the night was a late dismissal to Glory defender Andy Todd, the former Blackburn skipper receiving his second yellow card two minutes from time when he cluttered into Reds' skipper Travis Dodd from behind.

The send-off brought some anxious moments for the Glory defence in the dying stages but both Dodd, playing in his 100th game, and striker Matthew Leckie could only fire injury-time shots narrowly wide as the Glory held on.

"I think it was great to keep a clean sheet and Tando was outstanding with some of the saves tonight," Glory coach Dave Mitchell said.

"They were putting a lot of pressure on but credit to our boys, they kept a clean sheet, and put a lot of work into it."

"A lot of people are talking about us not playing well but ... we haven't lost any in five games or something, so it's credit to the boys."

Both sides were accused of lacking spark in their games last week and both appeared equally fired-up in a helter skelter opening period, where robust challenges flew in thick and fast.

Without suspended skipper Jacob Burns in the central midfield position, Glory coach Dave Mitchell opted to start Adriano Pellegrino there in his stead, a move that almost proved a masterstroke as last season's Most Glorious Player dominated proceedings.

In the fourth minute, a brilliant throughball from the midfielder bisected Adelaide's defence and released Branko Jelic, but the striker fluffed his lines, hitting his effort wide.

It was a case of deja vu eight minutes later as Pellegrino again released Jelic, but the striker saw a weak effort easily contained by Eugene Galekovic before the Adelaide stopper made another impressive save from an on-target Pellegrino free kick 17 minutes in.

By that stage tempers were already fraying as Perth's Mile Sterjovski fought a running battle with Scott Jamieson, while Reds' defender Mark Rudan was fortunate to just receive a caution for a tough tackle on Sikora from behind.

After struggling to create meaningful chances for most of the half, Adelaide finally tested Velaphi just before the break, the 'keeper tipping Kristian Sarkies' free kick around the post before brilliantly palming away a close-range header by Mark Rudan from the resulting corner.

Velaphi may have been the subject of criticism throughout the week after his own goal against North Queensland last round, handed the Fury a 1-1 draw, but the stopper redeemed himself with a fine series of saves just after the break.

A minute into the half Adam Hughes found himself in space in the area and nodded Kristian Sarkies free kick across goal to the lurking Lloyd Owusu two metres out. But the striker's goalless run continued as Velaphi brilliantly palmed Owusu's downward header around the post.

Just after the hour Velaphi turned away a powerful low shot from Sarkies, while the 67th minute saw a ripping header from Cassio slam into Todd's stomach when it should have hit the net.

The Glory were not without their chances as Pellegrino fired a stinging shot narrowly wide, but the hosts were guilty of giving the ball away too easily, while their supply to strikers Jelic and Sikora was poor.

In the 77th minute, Glory coach Mitchell had seen enough, replacing the subdued Jelic and Wayne Srhoj with Eugene Dadi and Andrija Jukic respectively.

The substitutions galvanised the side as Sikora started and finished the move leading to the goal when he dispossessed Sarkies on the left wing. The Dutchman accelerated onto goal, slipping the ball through for Dadi to collect, with the French striker's perfect pass finding Sikora again for him to slam home past Eugene Galekovic.

The Glory came within inches of doubling the advantage four minutes from time as Jukic burst through Adelaide's defence before squaring the ball for Dadi, only for the cross to just miss the striker's feet.

Todd's dismissal three minutes later changed the complexion of the game once again. But after giving away late goals in games against the Mariners and Gold Coast, the Glory maintained their composure and walked away with a confidence-boosting win.

"We dominated the game and unfortunately the only area we didn't dominate was on the scoresheet," said Reds' coach Aurelio Vidmar post-game.

"So the game can be very cruel (but) we've still got to stay positive and if we can continue to play that sort of football, we'll win more games than we lose."

Hyundai A-League/b>

Perth Glory 1 Sikora 79 Adelaide United 0 Crowd: 9482 at Perth's ME Bank Stadium