Record-breaking run sets Glory apart from the rest – and catches Popovic by surprise

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As Perth Glory kept their fourth consecutive clean sheet in a comprehensive 3-0 win over Wellington Pheonix one thing became glaringly clear: Glory have never been so good.

And they’ve got the statistics to prove it: no Glory team has ever kept four clean sheets in a row in the A-League, and considering their lethal attack with its considerable star power it’s all the more impressive that Glory’s defence is making the headlines after their record-breaking run.

“It’s a great achievement, I was just made aware of it outside by Foxtel,” Tony Popovic said.

“I’m delighted for the players and the club, it’s obviously not easy to do if it’s the first time the club has done it.

“But credit to all the players, not just the defenders.

“Everyone works together to try and make it as difficult as possible for the opponents to get a clear chance, and they did that again tonight and kept another clean sheet.”

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Glory’s run of four clean sheets began with two 0-0 draws in which they lacked clinical finishing but in the last two games they’ve rediscovered their groove, combining stingy defensive displays with dynamic and deadly attacking threat.

If the defensive performances were solid before Saturday night this most recent display was utterly dominant, with golden boot leader Roy Krishna and his bright counterpart Sarpreet Singh barely getting a sniff on goal in an imperious display from Glory’s backline.

It’s all come together for Glory down back over the past four games, but Tony Popovic says the form has been there all season long, and only now is his team receiving their just rewards.

“I think from the start of the season we were defending much better [than last season] as a team,” Popovic said.

“We were conceding goals but overall when you look at the way the team defended, it was always good.

“Now they’re getting rewarded with clean sheets for their good defensive displays.”

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With young gun Chris Ikonomidis back from the Asian Cup and back on the scoresheet Glory are hitting their straps both up front and down back at the right time heading into the pointy end of the campaign.

And there’s no mistaking what level Wellington boss Mark Rudan believes Glory are performing at opposed to the rest of the teams in the league.

“We were up against a very good side, clearly… I think they’re the best,” Rudan said.

“I’ve got nothing but praise for them.”

“I think they’re the best team in the competition, and they are where they are for a reason.”

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With a crucial trip to AAMI Park next weekend to face Melbourne Victory – a side of its own tremendous quality nipping at Glory’s heels in second place – keeping the same defensive resolve could be crucial in deciding whether or not Perth can snatch three points off their title rivals for the second time this season.

“It’s a big game, of course,” Popovic said.

“It was a big game when we faced them in round two.

“I’m confident we will perform. If we perform well as a team and as a squad, then I’m confident we’ll give ourselves a good opportunity to keep our great away record going.”

Feature image credit: Vision Inspired Photography

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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.