Barbarouses goal edges Sky Blues past Perth in Kogarah
A solitary Kosta Barbarouses goal helped Sydney FC on their way to a 1-0 win over Perth Glory at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Wednesday night.
Liam Reddy put in a magnificent shift in between the sticks for Perth in the first half, but the Glory gloveman was beaten in a key moment in the second 45, after Barbarouses' low strike squeezed beneath him and into the back of the net to put the Sky Blues ahead in the 54th minute.
It proved the only goal needed for the home side to secure victory on a wet night at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium. Perth put on a lively display against the Sky Blues, with Carlo Armiento providing the main source of danger with a series of electrifying dribbles which the home sides struggled to contain.
Paulo Retre put a challenge in on the Glory winger within his defensive box on 25 minutes, and the Perth players called for a penalty to be awarded in their favour. But referee Adam Kersey waved those claims away, and a VAR check upheld the decision on the ground - much to the frustration of the visiting side.
Reddy went on to produce three exquisite first-half saves to deny Bobô twice and Miloš Ninković once, before Barbarouses broke his resolve early in the second period to give the home side an advantage held until the 90th minute of play.
Four minutes of added time were on the cards, but the threat of lightning grew more ominous as the final minute of regular time ticked over.
As Sydney substitute Luke Ivanovic dribbled in on goal, the lights at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium dimmed due to the increasingly inclement conditions, leading to Kersey blowing his whistle to signal the end of the contest, with the Sky Blues holding on for a 1-0 win in the wet.
There were five yellow cards and 16 fouls in a tense opening 45 minutes. Perth winger Armiento was on the receiving end of a handful of late challenges from Sky Blue chasers, including a tackle in the box from Retre which produced passionate pleas for a penalty from the visiting side.
Kosuke Ota captained Perth with Neil Kilkenny on the bench, and the Japanese left-back created two early chances for both Sebastian Langkamp and Ciaran Bramwell to direct on goal. Langkamp's volley went wide but Bramwell's header tested Andrew Redmayne, who was alert to the danger to produce a comfortable save.
Ryan McGowan was the first Sky Blue to go into the book at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, before Ota quickly followed suit on 19 minutes. Retre, Callum Timmins and Barbarouses all received yellow cards in a five-minute spell late in the half as a number of rash challenges stagnated play.
In and amongst the tension and tenacious tackles were a handful of Sydney FC chances, but Perth hung in the contest off the back of some supreme glove-work produced by Reddy.
Sky Blue striker Bobô failed on two occasions to beat Reddy's guard in the first half. His first opportunity came off a Miloš Ninković cross which Bobô angled toward goal from close-range, but Reddy stood in the line of fire to divert the ball off his body, onto the crossbar and away. Alex Baumjohann struck on the rebound but his shot flew high and wide of the mark.
Then it was Ninković's turn to fire an attempt on goal. The nimble footwork of Barbarouses in the box beat a pair of Perth defenders, before the Kiwi international slid a pass to Ninković waiting on his left to strike on goal. But similar to Bobô, the Serbian couldn't find the direction and power in the shot to edge the ball past the Glory 'keeper.
Bobô's last chance of the first half came on the cusp of added time when Joel King picked out the Brazilian with a cross from the left flank. Bobô rose to head the ball back across goal toward Reddy's right side; momentum was taking the Perth stopper in the other direction, but a quick readjustment allowed Reddy to get down low and palm the ball away from the bottom corner of goal.
But all of Reddy's good work in the first half came unstuck early in the second, as Barbarouses put the hosts one goal ahead after his shot from a tight angle spilled under Reddy's body to make its way into the back of the net.
With Ota closing the space, Barbarouses could only strike low toward the centre of goal, but Reddy couldn't deal with the shot as it snuck beneath him and over the goal line.
After succumbing to Barbarouses' 55th-minute strike, Reddy quickly returned to his brilliant best to keep Bobô off the scoresheet with another reflex save.
King was the provider once more from the left, setting Bobô up to head on goal - his resulting attempt was angled low, and as it bounced back up toward the roof of the net Reddy intervened to tip the ball out for a corner and quell the danger.
Perth crafted a late chance through the substitute combination of Dane Ingham and Josh Rawlins, when Ingham set Rawlins down the right wing under immense pressure from Alex Wilkinson. Ingham's deft flick out wide set Rawlins up for the cross, and the youngster flashed the ball across the deck toward Andy Keogh steaming in toward goal. But, Redmayne got down to get a vital touch on the ball, steering it out of Keogh's path.
Ivanovic emerged off the bench for the Sky Blues and hunted a late goal to put the result to bed, but as the teenage forward shot on goal in the 90th minute the power surged at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, giving referee Kersey no choice but to call time on the tightly-contested game without any additional time.
Sydney FC v Melbourne City
Saturday, April 10 2021
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
Kick-off: 5.05pm AEST
Broadcast: Fox Sports 506, ABC TV
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports
Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory
Tuesday, April 13 2021
Venue: Coffs International Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEST
Broadcast: Fox Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports
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