Safuwan-less City slump to Perth Glory
Maclaren put Glory ahead just before half-time before City midfielder Aaron Mooy brilliantly curled a free-kick past the seemingly impenetrable Danny Vukovic to equalise in the 52nd minute.
But Maclaren stepped up with two more goals as Glory took advantage of Paulo Retre’s first-half dismissal to give their fans something to cheer about in the club’s final home game of the season.
Glory sit third on the A-League table, but will not feature in the finals series after being found guilty of breaching the salary cap last week. City will finish in fifth spot.
WHAT THEY SAID
“It's always good to score goals and when you have three chances and score three goals you'll take that all day. It's been very tough, probably one of the toughest weeks of my career so far but we've got a strong group of boys and we'll pull through it and it showed tonight.” - Perth Glory's Jamie Maclaren
“I think the first 25 minutes we created a lot of chances but we didn't punish them and we got the red card and went down a bit. They had one chance and they scored so from there it was a tough afternoon for us. We'll just have to move on.” - Melbourne City's Connor Chapman
1-0 Jamie Maclaren (42’)
Exciting youngster Danny De Silva steered the ball out of danger in his team’s back half before chipping it over the City defence for Maclaren to run on to. The talented striker then seemingly had all the time in the world he needed to thread the ball between goalkeeper Tando Velaphi and the far post.
1-1 Aaron Mooy (52’)
City were awarded a free-kick just outside the penalty area after Richard Garcia fouled Harry Novillo. Mooy stepped up to the mark and brilliantly curled the ball into the top left corner despite the best efforts of Vukovic to minimise the gap.
2-1 Jamie Maclaren (65’)
De Silva chased down a pull that was played to him in the box and put enough pressure on Velaphi for the City goalkeeper to spill the save and allow Maclaren to slot the ball through a narrow opening.
3-1 Jamie Maclaren (87’)
Glory substitute Chris Harold played the perfect ball into the centre of the box from the right, and Maclaren casually knocked the ball into the back of the net to complete his first A-League hat-trick.
Vukovic knew he was going to be in for a tough day at the office when he was forced to make a double save to deny City forward Novillo in the 10th minute. Vukovic went on to make another four clutch saves in the first half that well and truly kept Glory in the contest until Maclaren found the back of the net at the other end of the pitch just three minutes before half-time.
OPTA DATA STATS
Perth has not been a happy hunting ground for Melbourne City. John van ’t Schip’s men have not tasted victory in their past five visits to nib Stadium.
De Silva said farewell to Perth fans with arguably the best game of his blossoming career. The 18-year-old will link up with AS Roma in the coming months and showed why he has commanded such high attention from the Italian giants with an influential and cool-headed performance typically associated with a season pro.
Retre had one of the great brain implosions in A-League history when he collected two yellow cards within the space of a minute. Retre was first booked for a crude tackle on De Silva and was then given his marching orders by referee Chris Beath in the ensuing play for obstructing Denis Kramar. It was a costly blunder by Retre given City had conceded only three minutes earlier and the half-time whistle was imminent.
THE FINAL WORD
Glory coach Kenny Lowe wanted his squad to give a contest and finish the season on a high despite essentially having nothing to play for the final two rounds. The men in purple did just that and now will be looking to claim three points against Western Sydney on Anzac Day to potentially finish the campaign with the equal most points in the league.
The result mattered little for City’s finishing position, but the second-half slide will worry Van ’t Schip. City dominated the first half and could have scored at least four goals if it wasn’t for the heroics of Vukovic. But the team went missing after Mooy’s stunning free-kick and will need to rebound quickly against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Saturday.
Perth Glory: Danny Vukovic (GK), Dino Djulbic, Andy Keogh, Richard Garcia (Riley Woodcock 88’), Diogo Ferreira (Dragan Paljic 63’), Jamie Maclaren, Josh Risdon, Danny De Silva, Michael Thwaite (C), Mitchell Oxborrow (Chris Harold 78’), Denis Kramar
Melbourne City: Connor Chapman, Erik Paartalu (Stefan Mauk 74’), Aaron Mooy, Harry Novillo, Robert Koren (Massimo Murdocca 70’), Jonatan Germano, David Williams, Paulo Retre, Tando Velaphi (GK), Jack Clisby (Iain Ramsay 46’), Patrick Kisnorbo (C)
Scorers: Jamie Maclaren (42’), Aaron Mooy (52’), Jamie Maclaren (65’), Jamie Maclaren (87’)
Yellow cards: Paulo Retre (44’), Connor Chapman (67’)
Red cards: Paulo Retre (45’)
Conditions: 27C, sunny
Attendance: 5821 @ nib Stadium