Olyroos’ hero saves Glory in Perth

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Nicholas D’Agostino’s 89th minute equaliser has saved Perth Glory from their first loss in eight games.

After a slow opening Melbourne Victory’s Ola Toivonen broke the deadlock with an impressive first-time effort from the edge of the box to make it 1-0. Liam Reddy’s right glove was not enough to keep the curling effort away from goal.

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Toivonen was the focal point for the rest of the half. An aerial collision with Alex Grant in midfield ignited an ongoing saga involving the striker, with Perth players being disgruntled at his injury.

Grant was given a retrospective yellow card, leaving Perth with two of their three centre halves in the book, after Tomislav Mrcela’s earlier booking.

The second half started at a similar pace to the first after the late equaliser from Glory. Mirroring the previous half, it took an Andrew Nabbout goal to make it 2-1 to bring the period to life.

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A left knee injury to Chris Ikonomidis just twelve minutes after coming on forced Glory’s final substitution.

A Perth side playing for the first time without their front three from last season looked destined for defeat as a seemingly impenetrable Victory side put ten-men behind the football.

The 2-2 equaliser came eventually through D’Agostino in his first appearance since returning home from Olyroos duties. D’Agostino rose higher than Brandon Lauton when Ivan Franjic crossed a ball in and he finished past Lawrence Thomas.

Five minutes of stoppage time spurred the home crowd on and gave enough time for D’Agostino to produce two, near mirror-image effort, rising twice in the box from crosses but putting the ball over the cross bar both times.

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Victory had a chance of their own down the right hand side in the final seconds of added time but Anthony Lesiotis failed to find Kenny Athiu in the penalty area and the ball was cleared.

Victory return to Melbourne next week for the third Melbourne derby of the season, before beginning their AFC Champions League campaign against Chiangrai United.

Perth are also at home for their next two matches, a Friday night clash with Wellington and their first ever AFC game against Shanghai Shenhua the following week.

Perth Glory: 2 (Fornaroli 45’, D’Agostino 89’)
Melbourne Victory:
2 (Toivonen 22’, Nabbout 58’)

HBF Park
Attendance: 9435

Referee: Stephen Lucas
Assistant Referees: Josh Mannella, Arvin Shanmuganathan
Fourth Official: Adam Fielding

Perth Glory: Liam REDDY (GK), Alex GRANT, Gregory WUTHRICH, Joel CHIANESE (Christopher IKONOMIDIS 62’ [Gabriel POPOVIC 79’]), Bruno FORNAROLI, Ivan FRANJIC, Tomislav MRCELA, Neil KILKENNY, Jake BRIMMER (Kristian POPOVIC 62’), James MEREDITH, Nicholas D’AGOSTINO

Unused subs: Jacob TRATT, Tando VELAPHI (GK), Tarek ELRICH, Vince LIA

Melbourne Victory Lawrence THOMAS (GK), Storm ROUX, James DONACHIE, Andrew NABBOUT (Marco ROJAS 74’), Ola TOIVONEN (Kenjok ATHIU 81’), Elvis KAMSOBA, Migjen BASHA (Jakob POULSEN 45’), Benjamin CARRIGAN, Adama TRAORE, Anthony LESIOTIS, Brandon LAUTON

Unused subs: Joshua HOPE, Jay BARNETT, Brendan WHITE (GK)

Feature image credit: Darren Speedie

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