Under the floodlights of HBF Park on Friday night, the fate of Perth Glory’s dominant A-League campaign hung on a handful of shots on goal from a little white spot.

Cue a chaotic assortment of dramatic saves, fluffed lines, emphatic strikes and euphoric fans caught in rapturous celebration of a narrow escape for the premiers, who now take their place in the grand final next weekend.

Amongst the disarray, however, a cool head emerged above all others on the shoulders of Joel Chianese, who stepped up to the spot and dispatched the decisive spot kick to seal the game.

Embed from Getty Images

“I guess someone had to step up and take their chance,” Chianese told The Football Sack.

“There was always going to be someone who could win it, and fortunately it was me. We had two chances before for someone to put their name up in lights and take their chance.

“I think Shane Lowry is in the change rooms spewing because he’s a local Perth boy and he could have been up in lights, it could have been him. Luckily enough it was me, I tried to be cool and pick my side and it went in.”

But before Chianese got his chance to seal the game, a crucial event took place in the middle of the park which turned the momentum in the host’s favour.

After Jake Brimmer smacked home his penalty to draw Glory level in the shootout, there was an evident reluctance from any Adelaide player to step forward to take their next shot.

You can watch the A-League live for only $25 a month. Click here to read our review of Kayo Sports and to start your 14-day free trial.

After much debate Baba Diawara eventually emerged from the line but it was already too late – the Reds didn’t score again.

Instead, Liam Reddy saved Adelaide’s next three penalties to hand Chianese the silver bullet which ended the contest.

Embed from Getty Images

“That’s awesome, to save three in a penalty shootout,” Chianese said.

“Both keepers did fantastic in that penalty shootout; they weren’t bad penalties that were taken, they were just good saves.

“Rocket (Reddy) was awesome in the way he kept us in it and gave somebody like me the chance to step up.”

But missed attempts from Jason Davidson and Shane Lowry in between the Reddy saves kept Adelaide alive.

Glory were almost begging the visitors to make them pay by failing to close the game out, but as Reddy’s teammates faltered he continued to pick up the slack whenever it slipped through his teammates’ fingers.

Embed from Getty Images

With Diego Castro missing his penalty and Andy Keogh, Neil Kilkenny and Chris Ikonomidis on the bench, Reddy and Chianese emerged as unlikely heroes: displaying the rock-solid mentality coach Tony Popovic says his side has in spades.

“These players showed something maybe previously they didn’t know they had,” Popovic said.

“The resilience, the belief, the character, all the things that really stood out tonight. The skill-set is one thing, but there are a lot of things you can’t measure, you can’t get a stat for, which this squad have in abundance.

“It’s not just tonight, they’ve shown it all year, and I believe they thoroughly deserve to play the grand final next week.”

For Chianese, Friday night’s win was proof of that mentality flowing throughout the whole squad, as their never-say-die attitude came to the fore once again, this time in the most stunning fashion.

“It’s huge for the boys, it shows no matter how many times we get knocked down we’ll bounce back,” Chianese said.

“I think we’ve done that a lot this year, we’ve finished games lete whether it be in extra time or today in penalties.

“When we got knocked down I thought ‘okay, be calm and we’ll see if the moment is made for us’ and I guess it was tonight.”

Feature image credit: Darren Speedie, Vision Inspired Photography

SHARE
Football nut, student journalist and firm believer that Berisha dived in the 2012 A-League Grand Final. Covering Perth Glory for the 2018/19 season.