Sydney's season stutters as Glory clinch win

Perth Glory’s charge towards the Hyundai A-League top six has gained further momentum after a crucial 2-1 win over Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.

Andy Keogh struck in the first half – benefitting from a shocking Vedran Janjetovic mistake – before Chris Harold doubled the lead with 25 minutes left.

Substitute Shane Smeltz pulled one back for the Sky Blues with 11 minutes left to set up a grandstand finish but Glory held on for a well-deserved and vital three points.

The result sees seventh-placed Perth move to within two points of sixth-placed Adelaide – who have a game in hand – and only three behind Sydney FC.

Pics: Sydney FC v Perth Glory match action

GOALS

0-1 Keogh (23’) – Gyorgy Sandor’s cross from the right looked like it would be swooped on by Janjetovic but the ball slipped through the Sydney keepers gloves and through his legs, allowing Keogh a simple tap-in from close range.

0-2 Harold (65’) – Sandor was involved again, his shot was parried by Janjetovic into the path of Harold who made no mistake with the rebound for his fifth goal in his last five games.

1-2 Smeltz (79’) – A brilliant pass by Milos Ninkovic in behind split the Glory defence, with Smeltz burying his shot past Ante Covic into the far, bottom corner.

KEY MOMENT

Not long after Keogh opened the scoring, a Sky Blues corner almost led to an immediate response.

Milos Dimitrijevic’s looping delivery made its way to the far post, where Seb Ryall was on hand to head it back across the face of goal.

The ball came down just a metre from the goal-line, where is hit Glory defender Shane Lowry, going up onto the crossbar and back out before it was cleared away.

While the home side had other chances to score before Glory’s second goal, that was as close as they came before Smeltz’s strike but by then it was too late.

OPTA DATA KEY STATS

-The win was Glory’s third in a row on the road, the first time they have achieved that feat in the club’s history. They are also on a four-game winning streak, equalling a club record.

-The Sky Blues managed just one shot on target in the 90 minutes, and it resulted in a goal to substitute Smeltz.

HIGHLIGHTS REEL

The interplay for Glory’s second goal was simply superb. A no-look square pass from Diego Castro to release Sandor in midfield, before the Hungarian played a brilliant one-two with Nebojsa Marinkovic.

It gave Sandor a sight of goal and while his shot was saved by Janjetovic, Harold was on hand to slide it home and complete an excellent goal with the move of the match.

COACH KILLER

Janjetovic has been in strong form this season and leads the league in clean-sheets but there was no excuse for the howler which allowed Perth to open the scoring.

There should have been no issue in claiming Sandor’s cross but he inexplicably allowed it to slip through his grasp and hand Keogh one of the easiest goals of his career.

A shocking howler from the young gloveman.

THE FINAL WORD

It was another flat home performance by the Sky Blues, appearing devoid of ideas at times much to the frustration of coach Graham Arnold and the fans. With the start of the ACL just over a week away, it’s going to be a tough road ahead for Sydney, whose finals place is far from assured. They will need to improve for the derby against the Wanderers at Allianz next Saturday night.

Glory’s revival is showing no signs of slowing down. Kenny Lowe has his side playing with confidence and no shortage of quality. Keep this up and they are a serious candidate for the finals. Perth face another huge test next weekend though with Brisbane Roar heading over to nib Stadium.

TEAMS:

Sydney FC: Janjetovic (gk), Ryall, Faty, Jurman, Grant (Abbas 46’), Tavares, Dimitrijevic (Smeltz 67’), Blackwood (Stambolziev 53’), Ninkovic, Carney, Brosque (c)

Perth Glory: Covic (gk), Risdon (c), Grant, Lowry, Warren, Vadocz, Sandor, Marinkovic, Harold (Petratos 72’), Castro, Keogh

Scorers: Keogh 23’, Harold 65’, Smeltz 79’

Red cards: Nil

Yellow cards: Sandor 10’, Stambolziev 68’, Warren 74’, Abbas 74’, Tavares 84’

Conditions: 28C, Fine

Attendance: 11,559 @ Allianz Stadium