Popovic era begins with Wanderers stalemate

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In the first instalment of the ‘Popovic Derby’, both the Perth Glory and the Western Sydney Wanderers come away from the game ruing their mistakes, after playing out an error-riddled 1-1 draw at nib Stadium.

Andy Keogh’s first half strike was cancelled when Roly Bonevacia finished on the counter attack midway through the second half, but missed chances late in the game cost both teams the three points.

There was more tussle than talent on show in the early stages of the game, with the Glory’s Juande and the Wanderers’ Rashid Mahazi and Tarek Elrich picking up early yellow cards for cynical challenges.

In the 26th minute however the game burst into life, when the Glory broke the deadlock.

Neil Kilkenny pounced on a loose ball in the final third and played in Andy Keogh, who finished from close range after Vedran Janjetovic saved his initial strike.

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The new-look Glory fullback pairing of Jason Davidson and Ivan Franjic caused havoc for the Wanderers in the first half, as they consistently took up threatening positions high up the pitch.

The Wanderers offered little offensive threat in the first half, failing to muster a shot on target.

In the second half however they shot out of the blocks, calling Liam Reddy into action as he blocked a Jaushua Sotirio shot from close range.

Not long after Reddy was to the rescue again for Perth, pushing out Oriol Riera’s header from the centre of the box.

In the 58th minute Glory centre back Alex Grant ventured forwards for a corner and almost doubled the home team’s lead when his thundering header rattled the crossbar.

This miss turned costly for the Glory in the 64th minute, when Bonevacia sped behind the Glory’s defence and slotted a powerful shot below Reddy to draw the visitors level.

After two near misses to begin the half Bonevacia’s goal gave the Wanderers a deserved foothold in the game.

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With little over a quarter of an hour to play, the Wanderers fluffed their biggest chance to take the lead.

Some intricate play through the middle of the park put the ball at the feet of Riera in acres of space, who sized up the goals and blasted his shot high over the crossbar from close range.

Feeling the need to go one better, Glory substitute Chris Ikonomidis squandered a golden opportunity for the hosts in the 82nd minute, as he meekly pushed a header wide from the six-yard box.

A tense last ten minutes ended in frustration for both sides, who go away with a point each in their first game of the season.

 Perth Glory 1 – Andy Keogh 26’

Western Sydney Wanderers 1- Roly Bonevacia 64′

nib Stadium

 Referee: Peter Green

Assistant Referees: Josh Mannella, Arvin Shanmuganathan

Fourth Official: Adam Fielding

Perth Glory: Liam Reddy (GK), Alexander Grant, Jason Davidson, Shane Lowry, Ivan Franjic, Joel Chianese, Neil Kilkenny, Andrew Keogh, Tomislav Mrcela (Scott Neville 82’), Fabio Ferreira (Chris Ikonimidis 66’), Juande (Jake Brimmer 73’)

Unused subs: Tando Velaphi (GK), Brandon Wilson

Western Sydney Wanderers: Vedran Janjetovic (GK), Joshua Risdon, Brendan Hamill, Oriol Riera, Alexander Baumjohann (Nick Fitzgerald 82’), Ruon Tongyick, Jaushua Sotirio (Bruce Kamau 73’), Keanu Baccus, Tarek Elrich, Rashid Mahazi, Rolieny Bonevacia

Unused subs: Danijel Nizic (GK), Jordan O’Doherty, Raul Llorente Raposo

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Matthew Comito
Matthew Comito
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.

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