Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson has revealed star striker Shane Smeltz struggled to breathe at half-time after sustaining a facial injury during the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson has revealed star striker Shane Smeltz struggled to breathe at half-time after sustaining a facial injury in the first half of Sunday's Hyundai A-League Grand Final defeat to the Brisbane Roar.
The New Zealand international - scorer of eight goals in his last four appearances - was collected by Roar captain Matt Smith when challenging for the ball after 15 minutes in the first half.
Smith's elbow made accidental contact with the face of Smeltz, who needed considerable attention from Glory's medical staff before he was able to continue.
While Ferguson refused to concede the blow had affected Smeltz's performance in the 2-1 loss, the star striker struggled to make an impact on the match and was withdrawn on 74 minutes.
"He was finding it tough to breath, and that was the most difficult thing," Ferguson said.
"I was thinking about maybe bringing him off at half-time. He's actually got a very bad cut inside the mouth and down the nose as well. It's really split open, so he has to go to hospital straight away.
"We tried to keep him on as long as we could, and I think it was 75 minutes we got out of him then we had to change him over, because we needed fresh legs."
Smeltz's wife later posted a graphic image of the Kiwi striker on Twitter, revealing he needed 50 stitches to close the wound to his top lip and nose.