Gleeful Glory go seven points clear

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Melbourne Victory have failed to grasp the perfect opportunity to arrest Perth Glory’s ascendency at the top of the ladder, falling to a 2-1 defeat in front of 25,071 fans at AAMI Park, in round 18 of the 2018/9 A-League yesterday (10 Feb).

A quickfire double by Neil Kilkenny and Diego Castro within the space of eight minutes in the second half saw Perth Glory take yet another bold step towards clinching the Premiership, despite Kosta Barbarouses 10th goal of the season in the 77th minute.

Image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

Despite previously only winning just two out of nine games against Victory at AAMI Park, Glory has again showed how much they’ve more than just shaken off their mediocre tag.

In what has been a wave of change this season, Glory have now solidified a new record with this win, claiming three consecutive wins over Melbourne Victory for the first time since 2009.

In the potential Grand Final match up, Glory have now distanced themselves seven points clear of Victory, with nine games left to go in the regular season.

With the surprise exclusion of Ola Toivonen (training knock) and James Donachie, the striker role was delegated to Kosta Barbarouses, who was paired up with Kenny Athiu. Leigh Broxham took up the role of centre back for this crucial outing.

Elvis Kambosa was first to test Glory’s Liam Reddy in the 13th minute, but his off-balance shot in the box comfortably nestled into the arms of the Glory custodian.

In the 16th minute, Ivan Franjic looked set to score the game’s first goal, but despite being under minimal pressure failed to even test Lawrence Thomas with his volley from inside the 18 yard box.

What ensued up till the half time mark was something of a precise tactical battle between the sides ; passes were testing, runs were limited and cautious, and the 22 men on the pitch were ever mindful of their defensive duties. There was no breakthrough, and both keepers had little to do other than pluck out stray balls.

Image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

On the 44th minute, Kenny Athiu nearly broke the stalemate. Receiving a cross deep into the box, the towering striker brought it down, turned two Perth defenders, and fired off a shot at Liam Reddy. At almost point blank range, Reddy was quick to react, and saved it with his legs.

It was Victory, who kicked off the second half the more dominant side, but slowly grew sloppy and complacent. If not for a Thomas, Chris Ikonomidis’ shot in the 56th minute might have made Diego Castro’s nutmeg seconds earlier even tastier.

In the 59th minute, Corey Brown’s arm was deemed to have been in an unnatural position by referee Jarred Gillet, after coming into contact with Neil Kilkenny’s cross. Kilkenny did one better, by converting the penalty straight down the middle with much aplomb.

Image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

Despite an injection of experience in incoming substitutes Keisuke Honda and Georg Niedermeier, the duo was unable to prevent Glory’s second goal of the evening. In the 68th minute, Ikonomidis burst past Deng onto the left side of the box, and laid a searching ball into Victory’s box. Questions will be raised on how much space Diego Castro was afforded, but the Spaniard’s timely arrival and quick contortion of his figure saw him nudge the ball past a hapless Thomas.

In the 77th minute, Victory were back in with a shout, thanks to Kosta Barbarouses who made it 2-1. Collecting a ball just outside the box from the right wing, captain Leigh Broxham spotted Barbarouses’ burst of pace into the box, and laced a sumptuous ball for the Kiwi, all in one slick motion. The finish was a mere formality for the deputising striker, and AAMI Park was bouncing against once more.

Chances were spurned right up to the final whistle of the game, with late efforts from substitute Andy Keogh and Keisuke Honda failing to rewrite the headlines. Glory eventually saw out the match, a narrow result that was reflective of their previous matchups.

The last time both side met were back in round two, where a late Chris Ikonomidis winner sealed the deal for Perth. Muscat will be keen to arrest their poor showing against Perth this season when they travel to NIB Oval on 30th March.

Image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

It was truly a torrid day for a portion of home fans, who earlier on in the day, witnessed Melbourne Victory Women’s booted out of the semi-finals of the W-League 4-2 by Perth Glory Women.

The Victory Men’s now travel to Eden Park to face Wellington Phoenix on the 15th of February, in search of more points.

 

Melbourne Victory 1 (Kosta Barbarouses 78’)

Perth Glory 2 (Neil Kilkenny 61’, Diego Castro 69’)

Melbourne Victory

20.Lawrence Thomas (GK)
2. Storm Roux > 4. Keisuke Honda (61’)
3. Corey Brown
6. Leigh Broxham (C)
7. Kenjok Athiu > 5. Georg Niedermeier (63’)
8.Terry Antonis
9. Kosta Barbarouses
10. James Troisi
14. Thomas Deng
15. Rael Baena
24. Elvis Kamsoba

Unused Subs
1.Matthew Acton (GK)
16. Joshua Hope
25. Anthony Lesiotis

Perth Glory

33. Liam Reddy (GK)
3. Jason Davidson
4. Shane Lowry
5. Ivan Franjic > 23. Scott Neville (86’)
6. Dino Djulbic
7. Joel Chianese > 9. Andrew Keogh (75’)
13. Matthew Spiranovic
17. Diego Castro (C)
19. Christopher Ikonomidis > 20. Jake Brimmer (82’)
27. Juande
88. Neil Kilkenny

Unused subs
1. Tando Velaphi (GK)
22. Fabio Ferreira

AAMI Park

Referee : Jarred Gillett
Assistant Referees : Wilson Brown, Andrew Meimarakis
Fourth Official : Jonathan Barreiro
Video Assistant Referee : Kristian Griffiths-Jones

Feature image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Ngau Kai Yan
Ngau Kai Yanhttp://ngaukaiyan.com
Journalism undergrad at Monash University, Kai is a multimedia journalist covering Melbourne Victory. Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund. Once "stole" Shinji Kagawa's plane ticket.

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