Perth Glory and Sydney FC bravely played out a scoreless draw in oppressive heat at nib Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Opposing goalkeepers Ante Covic and Vedran Janjetovic were rarely troubled as both teams succumbed to the scorching conditions and failed to mount any serious attacks on goal.
Sydney defender Seb Ryall twice denied Glory captain Richard Garcia probably the best chances to break the deadlock. The two scoring opportunities came either side of half-time.
Sky Blues substitute Matt Simon had the best chance for the visitors, but his 68th minute header was agonisingly wide of the right post.
It was clear from the opening five minutes that the match was going to be a tough grind for both teams in the searing heat. The match kicked off with the mercury sitting right on 34C and the temperature had only slightly lowered from the mark by half-time. The shade from the main grandstand at nib Stadium provided some comfort for the energy-sapped players in the second half.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
The 0-0 result ended Sydney’s run of 10 straight wins in regular season matches away from home, but the Sky Blues have still not been beaten on the road for 18 consecutive games, excluding finals.
Glory defender Alex Grant was feeling a little worse for wear after a head clash with Sydney attacker Milos Ninkovic midway through the first half. Blood was drawn and Grant was forced from the pitch for several minutes for treatment. Ninkovic also spent time off the pitch late in the match with a right leg complaint after copping a heavy challenge from Perth substitute Mitchell Oxborrow.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
Perth’s lack of goals in a major concern, having not scored in more than six hours of football, including the Westfield FFA Cup final earlier this month. Glory coach Kenny Lowe has tried a number of options up front – Guyon Fernandez, Sidnei Sciola, Chris Harold – but the trio have only scored three goals between them this season. Perth’s leading scorer, midfielder Gyorgy Sandor (three), has been sidelined for the past four matches with an ankle injury.
THE FINAL WORD
Glory will be happy to collect a point after claiming just three from a solitary win in the first five games of the season. Fernandez (foot) and Sandor (ankle) are chances to return for Friday night’s away clash with Melbourne City.
Sydney travelled to Perth in search of a fourth win from their last five, but the conditions proved too harsh to overcome. However, Sydney (12 points) remains in touching distance of league leaders Brisbane Roar (14) and fellow title contenders Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney (both 13).
Perth Glory: 1.Ante COVIC (GK), 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Marc WARREN, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA (C), 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 16.Sidnei SCIOLA (14.Chris HAROLD), 17.Diego CASTRO, 19.Josh RISDON (18.Mitchell OXBORROW 54’), 23.Michael THWAITE, 29.Aryn WILLIAMS
Sydney FC: 1. Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK), 2. Seb RYALL, 3. Alex GERSBACH, 6.Matthew JURMAN, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC (13. Brandon O’NEILL), 9.Shane SMELTZ (18.Matthew SIMON 60’), 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 14.Alex BROSQUE (C), 21.Filip HOLOSKO (7.Andrew HOOLE 72’), 23.Rhyan GRANT, 27.Michael TAVARES
Yellow cards: Michael Thwaite (41’), Marc Warren (45’), Mitchell Oxborrow (86’)
Red cards: Nil
Conditions: 34C, very hot
Attendance: 6,976 at nib Stadium