Wasted chances hurt Sky Blues in 1-1 draw with gutsy Perth
Goals to Bruno Fornaroli and Bobô on either side of half-time ensured Perth Glory and Sydney FC took a point each from an entertaining 1-1 draw at HBF Park on Wednesday night.
The visitors bossed the first half chances but saw their role reverse in the second half, as Perth pushed late to regain their early advantage to no avail.
The Sky Blues enjoyed 58% of possession and 10 shots to four in the first half, but Perth took a one-goal lead to the sheds thanks in part to Liam Reddy's herculean goalkeeping efforts and Sydney's attacking inefficiency.
Bruno Fornaroli was the goalscorer on 43 minutes after Diego Castro's pass across the goal-face found the Uruguayan unmarked to tap it home. The goal was initially ruled out for offside before VAR rightly overturned the decision on the ground.
Perth put on a brighter second-half showing but the Sky Blues regained their attacking spark on the hunt for a leveller. Bobô thought he had won his side a penalty when Osama Malik put in a clumsy challenge in the box, but an offside call on the Brazilian denied Sydney the chance to score from the spot.
Reddy twice kept Bobô out from similar headers on the hour mark before the latter finally pierced the former's guard, volleying home an Alex Wilkinson header to give the visitors a well-deserved equaliser.
After restoring parity it all seemed set up for Sydney to pile on the pressure for a winning goal, but Perth lifted their intensity to mount an impressive charge in the last 20 minutes, crafting a number of chances to snatch all three points for themselves.
But much like the Sky Blues in the opening half Perth couldn't capitalise on their barrage of forward pressure, as the two sides settled for one point apiece.
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Liam Reddy was the star of a first half defined by Sydney's missed chances and Perth's opportunism as the hosts snuck ahead at the break.
Luke Ivanovic started up front with Bobô and the partnership of young and old produced plenty of chances but no end product. Reddy tips an early Ivanovic header around the post which inspired the 39-year-old to keep out plenty more, including a close-range sliding attempt from Bobô off a Rhyan Grant header across goal.
Sydney went on to apply the clamps as Perth defended in a low block to ensure they weren't exposed, much like they were against Western Sydney Wanderers in a 3-0 defeat on Friday night.
Joel King played another dangerous ball into the six-yard box but Ivanovic and Bobô got in each other's way as Reddy collected again. Ivanovic then ventured past Darryl Lachman with a magnificent chop after Anthony Caceres' invasive through ball, only to be thwarted once more by Reddy in a one-on-one situation.
The longer Perth remained steadfast in their attempts to keep their sheet clean, the more likely it became for the home side to provide the Sky Blues with a sucker-punch down the other end. And that's exactly what happened in the 43rd minute, when Fornaroli trickled Castro's smart cross over the goal line.
The Spaniard dribbled toward the left-hand goal post, sized up Luke Brattan and played a left-footed pass through a sea of Sky Blue bodies for Fornaroli to score. An offside flag was raised before VAR found Fornaroli in an onside position, and Perth took a shock lead into the break.
The visitors had a penalty awarded in the 57th minute for Malik's clumsy challenge through the back of Bobô, but when VAR adjudged the Brazilian offside in the build-up it seemed nothing would go Sydney's way at HBF Park.
But Bobô pressed on, intent on finally beating Reddy who well and truly had his number through the first hour of play. Two quick-fire chances presented to the Sky Blues striker in quick succession on 62 minutes, which Reddy dealt with efficiently, before Bobô finally found his goal.
A succession of headers from Miloš Ninković and Wilkinson saw the ball drop into Bobô's path, and the veteran spearhead fired home on the volley to draw Sydney level.
The Sky Blues bossed possession and the chances for large parts of the game and after taking the lead it seemed the stage was set for the visitors to steamroll their opponents and claim all three points, but with 15 minutes on the clock it was Perth who took charge and pressed on to score.
Impressive forward play boosted by Castro's increased presence in the contest helped Glory go close on two occasions, as the Spaniard flashed one strike just wide before Lachman ventured forward on a desperate solo run, playing a one-two and charging into the box before Andrew Redmayne snuffed out the danger.
Second-half substitute Andy Keogh put the ball in the back of the net on 80 minutes, but the Glory frontman was well offside when collecting a loose ball dropping inside the 18-yard box.
Deep into stoppage time, Fornaroli found one last chance to give Perth an unlikely lead. The Glory striker dribbled off the left flank and into the box as a number of nervous Sky Blue defenders closed the space. The resulting shot took a deflection off a Sydney leg, wrong-footing Redmayne but trickled just wide of the mark.
Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets
Saturday, March 27 2021
Kick-off: 9.20pm AEDT
Adelaide United v Sydney FC
Sunday, March 28 2021
Kick-off: 6.10pm AEDT
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