Perth Glory FC has fallen just short of claiming its first silverware in ten years, going down 1-0 to Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Tuesday night.
A hostile home crowd, coupled with a Josh Risdon red card and a neat Sergio Cirio finish in the 67th minute was enough to see Kenny Lowe and his men return to Perth empty handed. However Glory was far from disgraced, labouring hard for the full 90 minutes in what was the inaugural Westfield FFA Cup Final.
In front of 16-thousand football fans in the city of churches, Glory made one change to its starting XI with the injured Mitch Nichols making way for Ruben Zadkovich.
Glory was lucky not to concede in the fifth minute when Adelaide United youngster, Awer Mabil, misjudged a pinpoint Nigel Boogaard cross from the right hand side. The Young Socceroo found himself in plenty of space in the Glory penalty area but failed to make any contact with the cross.
Perth struggled to gain a foothold in the game, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying with enigmatic Irishman, Andy Keogh, working tirelessly in attack and almost forcing an error from United’s keeper Eugene Galekovic in 12th minute.
Adelaide continued to test Glory’s resolve, dominating possession in the opening 45 minutes however the defensive pairing of Dino Djulbic and Michael Thwaite continued to impress after a stellar season to date.
Chances were few and far between for Perth in the opening 45, failing to register a shot on target with Keogh coming closest in the 25th minute. After a classy Nebojsa Marinkovic through-ball, Richard Garcia was sent through on goal but met with a strong challenge from Galekovic on the edge of the penalty area. The ball bobbled to the feet of Keogh out wide on the left hand side, but he couldn’t direct his effort on goal in what was a difficult chance for the 28-year old.
Just on the stroke of half time, Glory was once again lucky to remain level with Adelaide when Mabil sent his effort into the stands after being sent through one-on-one with Vukovic. The 19-year old was picked out with precision by Bruce Djite, but could only fire over with arguably the best chance of the first half.
At the break, Perth made one change with young gun Danny De Silva making way for Sidnei Sciola.
In the 55th minute, Mabil completed a hat trick of misses after a dazzling run and lay off from Cirio. The Spaniard beat several Glory defenders before finding Mabil who again sent his shot over the bar in what was another warning for Glory.
In the 58th minute, Perth’s task became harder when in-form full back, Josh Risdon, was given his marching orders by referee Chris Beath. Risdon appeared to tug the shirt of Cirio after being caught in possession which saw him pick up his second yellow card of the game.
The situation went from bad to worse for Glory in the 67th minute when Cirio put the Reds a goal clear after some intricate build up play involving Djite and Marcelo Carrusca. The finish from Cirio came from the tightest of angles, after a deadly pass from Carrusca saw him skip clear of the Glory defence. Djulbic was able to meet the ball, but unfortunately could not steer it to safety.
Glory played with increased urgency in the final 25 minutes, but Adelaide United continued to threaten with Isaias’ effort brilliantly tipped over by Vukovic in the 85th minute.
The Reds’ continued to repel the Glory in the final minutes on their way to being crowned the inaugural Westfield FFA Cup Champions for 2014.
Glory coach Kenny Lowe praised the efforts and character of his boys.
However he was confident the team would quickly bounce back.
"We'll grieve for 24 hours and then we'll move on" he said.
Glory sit three points clear at the top of the Hyundai A-League table and will now host the Central Coast Mariners at nib Stadium on Saturday, December 20.
Kick-off is at 6.30 pm.
GOALS: Sergio CIRIO 67’
YELLOW CARDS: Richard GARCIA 32’, Josh RISDON 42’, ISAIAS 69’
RED CARD: Josh RISDON 59’
ATTENDANCE: 16, 142
PERTH GLORY FC: 1. Danny VUKOVIC (GK), 5. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6. Dino DJULBIC, 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9. Andy KEOGH, 10. Nebojsa MARINKOVIC (15. Jamie MACLAREN 79’), 11. Richard GARCIA, 19. Josh RISDON, 20. Danny DE SILVA (16. Sidnei SCIOLA 45’), 21. Scott JAMIESON, 23. Michael THWAITE (c)
SUBS NOT USED: 3. Brandon O’NEILL, 14. Chris HAROLD, 18. Mitch DUNCAN (GK)
ADELAIDE UNITED: 1. Eugene GALEKOVIC (GK & c), 2. Michael MARRONE, 3. Nigel BOOGAARD, 4. Dylan McGOWAN, 8. ISAIAS, 9. Sergio CIRIO, 10. Marcelo CARRUSCA (7. Pablo SANCHEZ 80’), 11. Bruce DJITE (14. Cameron WATSON 85’), 17. Awer MABIL (22. Fabio FERREIRA 59’), 19. James JEGGO, 21. Tarek ELRICH
SUBS NOT USED: 24. Bruce KAMAU, 30. JOHN HALL (GK)