Perth Glory FC has suffered a 3-nil loss at the hands of rivals Sydney FC on Friday night at nib Stadium.
A defiant Glory turned out in front of nearly 7,500 loyal members and supporters despite a disappointing day which saw the club stripped of its right to play in the Hyundai A-League finals series.
Perth was first to threaten, and it came through Olyroo, Jamie Maclaren in the second minute. The 22-year-old forward skipped clear of the Sydney defence, but was unable to square the ball to an oncoming Dragan Paljic.
The Sky Blues were next to go close, when in the 10th minute, Chris Naumoff was picked out by Nikola Petkovic from the left hand side. However, the Sydney winger bungles the chance, heading well over from close range.
Sydney again threatened in the 20th minute when Milos Dimitrijevic let loose a curling effort from just inside the penalty area. Glory goalkeeper, Danny Vukovic, watched on as the ball cannoned into the crossbar before his defence managed to scramble the ball away.
Vukovic made his first major save of the evening in the 27th minute, when Dimitrijevic skipped through the Glory defence and fired a low shot from point blank range. However, the Glory custodian was equal to the task, tipping the ball away before it was cleared for a corner.
Eight minutes later, Glory fell behind courtesy of an Alex Brosque goal. Brosque can consider himself fortunate, after Vukovic’s instinctive first time save of Marc Janko’s header sat up kindly for the Sky Blues skipper to tap the ball into the back of the net.
In the 36th minute, Maclaren turned well on the edge of the box and fired past Vedran Janjetovic for what he and the crowd thought was the immediate equaliser. However, it was incorrectly ruled offside, afer replays indicate Maclaren was in line with the Sydney defender.
When the teams returned from the half time break, the affair was evenly poised, with both sides looking comfortable in possession.
However Glory’s task became more difficult in the 60th minute, when Bernie Ibini rifled a volley past Vukovic. The ball found its way to the fringe Socceroo’s feet following an unfortunate clearance, and he finished well, lashing the ball over Vukovic into the top corner.
Five minutes later, Sydney added another, with Alex Brosque again on the mark. Ibini carried the ball through midfield, before laying the ball off to Brosque, who fired past Vukovic.
Glory threatened in the final 15 minutes, with young gun Danny De Silva causing headaches for the Sydney defence on a couple of occasions.
However, it wasn’t Glory’s day as the final whistle blew.
An emotional Kenny Lowe said his team would fight on to the very end of the season.
"We have a moral obligation to try to win the league.We've had no control of what's happened, I've had no control of what's happened. We've got to deal with it with class," he said.
"Whatever comes our way, we've got to take it on the chin...but take nothing away from Sydney, they were brilliant".
Lowe wouldn't comment on the Club's looming appeal against the FFA's decison, other than to say the boys would continue to fight on.
"I focus on trying to work on the players and playing good football. I can't worry about FFA or appeals or whatever is going to happen.
"We're professionals. We're going to go as hard as we can for the next two games."
And his message to the fans was simple.
"We're hurting as much (as them). Let's stick together and finish the season in a proud manner."
"This could be a standout moment for the club. This is when you see true characters" he remarked.
Glory retrun to nib Stadium on April 19 to face Melbourne City, in what will be the last home game of the season.
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GOAL SCORERS: Alex BROSQUE 35’, 65’, Bernie IBINI 60’
YELLOW CARDS: Alex BROSQUE 21’, Matthew JURMAN 28’, Rostyn GRIFFITHS 48’
PERTH GLORY FC
TEAM: 1. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 5. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6. Dino DJULBIC, 9. Andy KEOGH, 10. Nebojsa MARINKOVIC (16. Sidnei SCIOLA 67’), 14. Chris HAROLD, 15. Jamie MACLAREN (11. Richard GARCIA 45’), 19. Josh RISDON, 23. Michael THWAITE (c), 27. Dragan PALJIC (20. Danny DE SILVA 55’)
SUBS NOT USED: 18. Jack DUNCAN (gk), 28. Denis KRAMAR
COACH: Kenny LOWE
TEAM: 2. Seb RYALL, 5. Matthew JURMAN, 6. Nikola PETKOVIC (16. Alex GERSBACH 90+2), 8. Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 11. Bernie IBINI-ISEI, 13. Chris NAUMOFF (34. Robert STAMBOLZIEV 69’), 14. Alex BROSQUE (c) (29. George BLACKWOOD 84’), 20. Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21. Marc JANKO, 23. Rhyan GRANT, 26. Jacques FATY
SUBS NOT USED: 1. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 18. Peter TRIANTIS
COACH: Graham ARNOLD
REFEREE: Kris GRIFFITHS-JONES
ASSISTANT REFEREES: Josh MANELLA & Tim MIHEVC
FOURTH OFFICIAL: David BRUCE