Glory stars shine in record-levelling win over Reds
Bruno Fornaroli and Joel Chianese both scored for the third match in a row as Perth Glory equalled their longest ever Hyundai A-League winning streak by comfortably beating Adelaide United 3-0.
Attacking maestro Diego Castro provided a pair of first-half assists and substitute Chris Ikonomidis got himself on the scoresheet as Glory turned on the style in key moments at HBF Park to make it five wins on the spin, outscoring their opponents 17-2 during that run.
It was the first meeting between these sides since the dramatic 3-3 Semi-Final encounter last season which saw Glory beat the Reds 5-4 on penalties, and the man who scored the winning spot-kick, Chianese, kept up his rich vein of goalscoring form with a composed finish on 25 minutes.
The visitors had the best of the opening exchanges but Tony Popovic’s side strolled into half-time in dominant fashion after Fornaroli netted his seventh goal of the season, the last five of which have all been created by the sublime Spaniard Castro.
Chianese was replaced by Ikonomidis on the hour and, eight minutes later, the Socceroos attacker pounced on Reds keeper Paul Izzo’s error to net his second goal of the Hyundai A-League season in an electrifying 30 minute cameo that will give Popovic a selection headache.
The Reds slide down to seventh place after a fourth straight defeat, while the Premiers now lie two points behind second-placed Melbourne City with a game in hand, having climbed from the bottom of the ladder after winning only one of their opening seven matches.
The Reds started as if they were the team searching for a record-setting win, rather than a side looking to break a losing streak. Verbeek’s side took the game to the Premiers in the 34 degree Western Australian heat, with George Blackwood working Liam Reddy early as Adelaide controlled from the off.
Perth forced Izzo into action to block Fornaroli’s effort after Chianese’s rampaging run, before the visitors reclaimed their control. Blackwood fired wide of Reddy’s near post after Michael Maria delivered the perfect cross, and Nikola Mileusnic watched his deflected strike almost trickle into the corner of the net on 22 minutes.
Glory sprung into life four minutes later when Chianese collected Castro’s pass with his back to goal and swivelled to slot the ball past Izzo, and the Reds’ confidence seemed to drop as Castro pulled the trigger but fired into a Michael Jakobsen’s desperate block and Alex Grant headed wide from a set piece after Tomi Mrcela’s flick.
Popovic’s side kept up the momentum and flashed their quality when Castro found Fornaroli after a driving run, and the Uruguayan drilled a deflected strike past Izzo as Perth strolled into half-time with a comfortable two-goal lead, one they showed no intention of letting slip in the second stanza.
Chianese should have put another nail in the Reds’ coffin after excellent combination play between Castro and Fornaroli but the 29-year-old could only roll his 51st-minute chance narrowly wide. That moment gave the Reds some hope as Mileusnic stung Reddy’s hands from distance and Riley McGree slammed the rebound wide with the goal gaping.
Ikonomidis came out with a point to prove and seized his opportunity when he chased down a lofted pass from Grant and capitalised on a moment of hesitation by Izzo. The pacey winger forced the Reds shot-stopper into three more saves, and should have had an assist but Fornaroli missed a simple chance, as Adelaide wilted in the closing stages.
Chianese breaks the deadlock to score his third in three games
Mileusnic tries to hit back but his strike trickles agonisingly wide
Castro gets his second assist as Fornaroli nets his seventh of the season
Glory slide Adelaide open again but Chianese cannot convert
Ikonomidis gets in on the act eight minutes after coming off the bench
Western Sydney Wanderers v Perth Glory
Sunday, 19 January 2020
Kick off: 6.30pm AEDT
Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory
Friday, 17 January 2020
Kick off: 7pm local, 7.30pm AEDT