Western Sydney remains on the bottom of the A-League table after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Saturday night.
The Asian champions are winless after four games while Glory is sitting pretty at the top of the league after claiming a fifth win from six matches.
Dino Djulbic and Scott Jamieson helped Glory claim the three points with goals either side of half-time before Jaushua Sotirio pulled back a late consolation goal for the Wanderers.
WHAT THEY SAID
Kenny Lowe: “I think that's the first time we've had a crowd like that in for a while. I'll think they'll go home a little bit happy. It was end to end. It was like a game of three pots in. Throw a couple of courts down and see who wins. That's the only one he's scored (Jamieson). Every one went in the trees on the training ground, we lost about 10 balls!”
1-0 Dino Djulbic (9’) The former Gold Coast defender scored his first goal since returning to Glory when he ran from the top of the box to the back post and cleanly headed a pinpoint Nebojsa Marinkovic corner into the back of the net.
2-0 Scott Jamieson (78’ ) Chris Harold was brought down by Antony Golec about 30 yards out from goal. Jamieson stepped up to take the kick in the absence of dead ball specialist Marinkovic, who was subbed out 17 minutes earlier. The full back showed up his Serbian teammate with a stunning left-foot kick which sizzled into the top-right corner.
2-1 Jaushua Sotirio (85’ ) Vitor Saba’s attacking high ball was headed on by Daniel Mullen and Sotirio then won an aerial contest with Scott Jamieson and goalkeeper Danny Vukovic to pull back a late consolation goal for the Wanderers.
Wanderers striker Labinot Haliti looked set to put the visitors ahead in the sixth minute after being brilliantly fed from the left by teammate Alusine Fofanah. Haliti had only Danny Vukovic, but the Glory goalkeeper somehow managed to keep the ball out and three minutes later the home side took the lead. It set the tone for the rest of the match as Vukovic commanded his area and thwarted almost every attack that came his way, including another brilliant save to deny Jason Trifiro in the 16th minute.
Opta Data key stats
Western Sydney has proven to be a bogey side for Glory, having lost five of the previous six battles against the A-League’s newest club and managing just two goals across each of those encounters. Glory put up 25 shots on Saturday night compared to just 13 from the Wanderers and Kenny Lowe’s side was rewarded for it with the three points.
Youssouf Hersi lined up against his former side for the first time and played arguably his best game in purple. The Ethiopian-born winger made several attacking runs which had the boisterous Perth crowd on the edge of their seats, but the 32-year-old failed to convert his many chances in front of goal. Still, his dashing style of play made for some entertaining viewing.
Nebojsa Mariknovic staked his claim as the best set-piece taker in the A-League with two stunning free kicks in his past two matches, including last Tuesday’s FFA Cup win over Bentleigh Greens. But the Serbian midfielder still has some work to do when the ball is on the move. Glory striker Andy Keogh recovered what appeared to be a certain goal kick and knocked the ball back towards the top of the box, but Marinkovic was oblivious to it and just stood there as ball rolled out of the area.
Back to the drawing board
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic made eight changes to the side which suffered a shock 1-0 loss to Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand last weekend, including leaving out a number of first-choice players. It’s not yet clear if the move was designed to rest some of his travel-weary stars or reignite his team’s season – or a combination of both – but it didn’t pay off and the Asian champions are still winless after four games.
The Final Word
Glory will aim for a fourth straight win and sixth from seven games this season when they host Wellington Phoenix at nib Stadium on Friday night. Perth coach Kenny Lowe could even welcome Mitch Nichols and Jamie Maclaren back into the fold from international duty.
The winless Wanderers are holding up the table and remain the only team in the league without a point next to their name. Popovic’s side desperately need to recapture the form that guided them to the position of Asian champions in only their third year of existence. Expect the likes of Ante Covic, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Tomi Juric, Matthew Spiranovic and Iacopo La Rocca to return against the struggling Newcastle Jets next Saturday evening.
Perth Glory: Danny Vukovic (GK), Rostyn Griffiths, Dino Djulbic, Youssouf Hersi (Chris Harold 67’), Andy Keogh, Nebojsa Marinkovic (Ruben Zadkovich 61’), Richard Garcia, Josh Risdon, Daniel De Silva, Scott Jamieson, Michael Thwaite (C).
Western Sydney: Daniel Mullen, Brendan Hamill, Antony Golec, Labinot Haliti (Nikita Rukavytsya 67’), Mateo Poljak, Jaushua Sotirio, Mark Bridge (C), Dean Bouzanis (GK), Jason Trifiro (Kearyn Baccus 76’), Alusine Fofanah (Vitor Saba 55’), Daniel Alessi.
Scorers : Dino Djulbic (9’), Scott Jamieson (78’), Jaushua Sotirio (85’)
Red cards : None
Yellow cards : Josh Risdon (34’), Daniel Mullen (48’), Antony Golec (76’)
Conditions : 20C, cool
Attendance : 12,166 @ nib Stadium