Perth Glory FC has charged into its second successive Westfield FFA Cup Final after defeating glamour club Melbourne City 3-1 on Wednesday night at nib Stadium.
The sealer came in the 72’ after Spanish import Diego Castro danced down the line to thread a ball through to Chis Harold who fired home at the near post beating City keeper Thomas Sorensen.
It was an open ended match from the kick-off which had plenty of chances and set pieces for both teams. Stand in captain Dino Djulbic almost got Glory off to a winning start in the 23’ after a corner ball was sent in by Nebo Marinkovic into the box.
A follow up corner in the next minute saw Hungarian import Gyorgy Sandor score his third goal in as many games after Marinkovic found the head of Michael Thwaite, who forced a save out of ex-Glory ‘keeper Tando Velaphi. The City custodian couldn’t push the ball out of danger, and Sandor pounced quickly to poke home the opener.
In the 33’ it was another corner kick that led to a worrying moment for City. Goalkeeper Tando Velaphi and Guyon Fernandez collided, leaving them both on the ground for several minutes. While both players were able to eventually return to their feet, only Fernandez returned to action as former EPL player Thomas Sorensen replaced the injured Velaphi.
City’s Aaron Mooy showed why he was the threat for Glory, forcing block after block from Dino Djulbic and the Glory defence, including an impressive double block in the 43'.
Just before half time an incoming corner from Mooy into the area, found the head of young Matthew Millar, the City youth product scoring on his debut.
But there was to be another twist in the first half. Chris Harold flicked a header forward for Guyon Fernandez to run onto, but before the Dutchman could get on the end of it, Garuccio chipped the ball into the back of the net as he attempted to clear it away. Glory was up 2-1 at the half-time break.
The final 45’ started slowly, with both teams keeping compact, but City were able to carve out a couple of chances. First it was Wade Dekker poking high of the mark in the 47’, then Kuzmanovski from inside of the box, blazing his shot high over the bar.
The biggest chance to equalise for the visitors came in the 70th minute, as a quick turn by Mooy allowed the Socceroo to shoot from the top of the box, forcing a big save out of Ante Covic. The ‘keeper parried straight to Williams, but the 27-year-old midfielder sent his shot inches wide of the far post.
Two minutes later Glory extended its lead to 3-1. Castro gained possession of the ball on the right side, using his silky skills to glide effortlessly past a couple of City defenders before sliding a perfect through ball into the path of Chris Harold. The young winger made no mistake, slotting it past Sorensen at the Dane’s near post to clinch Glory’s second straight Westfield FFA Cup Final.
Glory now face the winner of Hume City and Melbourne Victory who will contest the other Semi Final.
The Cup Final will be played on November 7 at a venue yet to be determined.
Perth Glory FC has lodged a submission to Football Federation Australia to host the final in Perth next month. Read more HERE
Meanwhile in the Hyundai A-League, Perth Glory face last year’s Westfield FFA Cup Champions Adelaide United at nib Stadium on Sunday afternoon; kick off is at 4pm. Get your tickets HERE
WHAT THEY SAID:
“Playing the cup final in Perth would be amazing. To be the team that made it to the final twice but didn’t get to host it wouldn’t be fair, but it’s not up to us”
“Being captain was great, but my main focus was to get a win, we started enjoying play in the 2nd half, and we got the good result, that’s the main thing”
“To bring a trophy here would be unbelievable. The fans deserve it, the boys deserve it. We’ve worked hard to get here”
Andrew Ord (Assistant Coach)
On Diego Castro:
“He can bring a lot more than that. He’s struggling with a bit of a calf issue. No games in preseason, playing with a slight strain. People need to be a bit sensible in their expectations, but he can produce. He’s going to be a fine player in this league. Castro can produce, loads of through balls, beat his man with ease, he’s going to pile up the assists, pop up with goals as well.” - Ord
On Aaron Mooy:
“I really like Aaron. I think he’s the best Australian player in the A-League. He can do everything. He can attack, he can defend. I thought Diogo Ferreira did well to keep him quiet in the 2nd half.”
Perth Glory 3 - Gyorgy Sandor (24’), Ben Garuccio (OG, 45+3’), Chris Harold (72’)
Melbourne City 1 – Matthew Millar (43’)
Perth Glory FC: 1. Ante COVIC, 3. Marc WARREN, 6. Dino DJULBIC (C), 7. Gyorgy SANDOR, 10. Nebosja MARINKOVIC (15. Hagi GLIGOR 90+2’), 14. Chris HAROLD, 17. Diego CASTRO (16. SIDNEI Sciola Moraes 72’), 18. Mitch OXBORROW (13. Diogo FERREIRA 45’), 19. Josh RISDON, 20. Guyon FERNANDEZ, 23. Michael THWAITE
Subs not used: 2. Alex GRANT, 12. Jerrad Tyson (GK)
Yellow Cards: nil
Red Cards: nil
Melbourne City : 4. Conner CHAPMAN, 8. Aaron MOOY (C), 17. Wade DEKKER (15. David WILLIAMS 58’), 19. Benjamin GARUCCIO, 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK – 1. Thomas SORENSEN), 21. Stefan MAUK, 22. Jack CLISBY (24. Patrick KISNORBO), 23. Bruno FORNAROLI, 25. Jacob MELLING, 28. Steve KUZMANOVSKI, 36. Matthew MILLAR.
Subs not used: 18. Paulo RETRE, 34. Stefan ZINNI
Yellow Cards: Jacob MELLING 80’
Red Cards: nil