Glory rising in Perth

Perth Glory has jumped to outright second on the Hyundai A-League and extended their unbeaten run to five matches after a pulsating 1-0 victory against rivals Adelaide United at ME Bank Stadium.

Perth Glory has jumped to outright second on the Hyundai A-League and extended their unbeaten run to five matches after a pulsating 1-0 victory against rivals Adelaide United at ME Bank Stadium.

Young goalkeeper Tando Velaphi was the hero for the Glory as he repelled a sharpshooting Reds outfit determined to continue their recent dominance over Perth. Velaphi pulled off a number of fantastic saves while at the other end it was enterprising Dutchman Victor Sikora who scored the winner.

‘It was great to keep a clean sheet. Tando was outstanding tonight, some of his saves were top drawer and it reinforced just how good he is,” Coach Dave Mitchell said.

“There has been some pressure on him from outside the club this season but we know his quality and I thought he was outstanding, it-s a credit to him.

“He has played plenty of good games for club but tonight was probably the best. He made some wonderful saves against a flood of attempts from Adelaide, particularly towards the end of the game. He was the difference tonight,” said Mitchell.

The match was passionate affair from the opening whistle with no one taking a backward step in a bid to secure the three points. Glory stand-in skipper Chris Coyne said he was delighted with the performance and enjoyed the physical encounter.

“They got in our faces but we weren-t going to let them come to our patch and dictate,” Coyne said.

“It was physical, but it-s a man-s game and as long as there are no malicious tackles and it-s good, honest footballers going for the ball then no problem.

“We looked at each other at half time and said let-s not get rolled over by a team that think we-re soft and I think we upped the tempo in the second half and it was as good as we got.

“You get to go back in to the change rooms after the match and be proud of what you-ve achieved,” said Coyne.

Without skipper Jacob Burns in midfield, Adriano Pellegrino moved into a central role and last season-s Most Glorious Player acquitted himself well throughout. He created two chances for recalled striker Branko Jelic within the first twelve minutes however the Serbian marksman was unable to take advantage of either opportunity.

After a bright start the Glory were reigned in by a congested Adelaide midfield although Pellegrino did find space to pull the trigger himself but was just wide of the goal.

Adelaide enjoyed their best spell of the game as the first half wore on although it wasn-t until the half-time whistle loomed that they managed to trouble Velaphi.

The star Glory stopper was equal to a long-range free kick from Kristian Sarkies and then from the resulting corner he produced an even better save to palm away a header from Mark Rudan.

Velaphi-s heroics between the posts continued within seconds of the restart as he produced two stunning saves in quick succession. First he turned away Lloyd Owusu-s header from point-blank range and then got his fingertips to a Sarkies screamer and deflected it around the post.

Adelaide-s flurry of early attacks indicated a more open second-half and Glory soon showed that they too had the ability to create in the final third.

Pellegrino dragged a low shot narrowly wide from just outside the box while Adelaide custodian Eugene Galekovic managed to foil Chris Coyne-s effort from a corner.

However the Reds keeper was picking the ball out of the back of his net soon, Glory breaking the deadlock with arguably the best attacking move of the night.

It started with Sikora as he disposed of Sarkies to release Eugene Dadi who had been introduced as a substitute moments earlier. The big target man cleverly drew two defenders before peeling the ball back to the top of the box where Todd-s dummy created time and space for Sikora to sweep home a low drive.

Dadi almost had one of his own a short time later, just failing to slide home a Todd Howarth cross, while substitute Andrija Jukic also went close with drive from 20 metres.

Adelaide could never be counted out and in a desperate search for an equalizer they continued to drive forward. It was in one of their attacks that referee Chris Beath ruled Andy Todd-s foul on Travis Dodd worthy of a second yellow card and the Englishman was sent to the showers with a minute of regular time remaining.

Todd-s premature departure gave the Reds further hope that they might yet salvage something from the game however Glory held firm and showed plenty of poise down the stretch to secure a terrific win.

“Adelaide has been hitting a bit of form and they-re a good side. You can see they can cause a lot of problems,” Mitchell said.

‘We had a couple of chances earlier on and we could have been a couple of goals up. It was important to keep things coming our way so we made some changes and built momentum and it was a fantastic goal that we scored.

“I-m just pleased for the players, we deserved it, we worked ever so hard and I think they showed a lot of character tonight which got us through,” said Mitchell.

Hyundai A-League 2009/10 - Rd 10

Perth Glory 1 (Victor Sikora 79-) Adelaide United 0 Friday, 9 October 2009 at ME Bank Stadium, Perth

Crowd: 9482

Referee: Chris Beath

Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jamie COYNE, 4.Andy TODD, 6.Chris COYNE, 8.Victor SIKORA (12.Scott NEVILLE 90-), 10.Wayne SRHOJ (23.Andrija JUKIC 77-), 11.Branko JELIC (14.Eugene DADI 77-), 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17.Todd HOWARTH, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 21.Mile STERJOVSKI,

Substitutes not used: 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk), Yellow Cards: Mile Sterjovski 13-, Andy Todd 43- & 89-, Wayne Srhoj 51- Red Cards: Andy Todd 89-

Adelaide United Squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 4.Iain FYFE, 6.CASSIO, 8.Kristian SARKIES, 10.Adam HUGHES, 11.Lloyd OWUSU (19.Mathew LECKIE 77-), 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 18.Fabian BARBIERO (9.CRISTIANO 82-), 21.Mark RUDAN

Substitutes not used: 3.ALEMAO, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), Yellow Cards: Robert Cornthwaite 21-, Mark Rudan 32-, Red Cards: