Perth Glory FC has advanced to the semi-final stage of the Hyundai A-League for the first time in five years after a clinical 2-0 win over FFA Cup champions Melbourne City.
Two exquisite strikes from Diego Castro and Joel Chianese proved the difference in a memorable Elimination Final win at AAMI Park on Sunday night.
The early stages of the match saw both sides play an open and enterprising style akin to their previous thrilling battles. Much like last week, there was to be another early goal with Andy Keogh's deft pass inside the penalty area finding Diego Castro, who then, with typical grace, cut inside on his right and superbly curled home past a hapless Dean Bouzanis.
Despite a strong response from City, Kenny Lowe's men deservedly doubled their lead at the 30-minute mark, with winger Joel Chianese delivering a fizzing left-footed strike beyond Bouzanis after Danish defender Michael Jakobsen conceded possession.
The second half saw an inspired City outfit press hard to decrease the deficit, with Michael Valkanis introducing Luke Brattan and Nick Fitzgerald, but the Glory defence continued to hold firm with Lucian Goian and Dino Djulbic displaying an abundance of composure and experience.
Glory's poise continued until the final whistle as Melbourne City rarely threatened Liam Reddy's goal, with Bruno Fornaroli's near post strike at the 80th minute and Ivan Franjic's powerful volley in stoppage time the closest the hosts came to halving Perth's lead.
The massive win is the club's first finals win in five years and has booked a date with this year's runaway premiers Sydney FC next Saturday evening at ANZ Stadium for the semi-final.
Kick-off to the semi-final is at 7.50 EST time.
For ticket information go HERE
16 | GOAL - Griffiths superb long ball finds Keogh in space who then puts in Castro who cuts in on his right foot to curl home the opener.
29 | Bouzanis's poor clearance almost sees Glory double their lead, but Keogh's shot from outside the area is straight at the keeper.
30 | GOAL - Chianese makes it 2-0 to Glory with a fine left-footed finish into the bottom left corner.
36 | A brilliant passage of play almost saw Perth make it 3-0, with Griffiths 1sublime switch of play finding Chianese who then crossed to Keogh, but his volley is straight at Bouzanis.
65 | Castro's free-kick from the left wing almost sneaks in at the near post as Bouzanis makes a diving catch.
80 | Bruno Fornaroli's strong shot from close range is saved at the near post by Liam Reddy.
86 | Castro's defence-splitting ball finds Taggart free on goal, but his shot is saved at close range by Bouzanis.
90+ | Ivan Franjic fires a powerful volley on goal which forces Reddy into a fine save.
Perth Glory Squads: 33. Liam REDDY (GK), 3. Marc WARREN (15. Brandon WILSON 80'), 6. Dino DJULBIC, 7. Joel CHIANESE (14. Chris HAROLD 69'), 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS (C), 9. Andy KEOGH, 11. Richard GARCIA (5. Rhys WILLIAMS 66'), 17. Diego CASTRO, 19. Josh RISDON, 22. Adam TAGGART, 26. Lucian GOIAN
Unused subs: 13. Nick FEELY (GK),10. Nebojsa MARINKOVIC
Yellow cards: 11. Richard GARCIA 38',
Red cards: Nil
Melbourne City Squad: 20. Dean BOUZANIS (GK), 3. Josh ROSE, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Osama MALIK, 8. Neil KILKENNY, 9. Nicolas COLAZO (29. Anthony CACERES 71'), 11. Bruce KAMAU (27. Nick FITZGERALD 45'), 17. Tim CAHILL, 21. Ruon TANGYIK (26. Luke BRATTAN 45'), 22. Michael JAKOBSEN, 23. Bruno FORNAROLI (C)
Unused subs: 1. Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 14. Daniel ARZANI
Yellow cards: 3. Josh ROSE 42', 17. Tim CAHILL 53'
Red cards: Nil