Perth Glory Youth has fought back to earn a 1-1 draw against last season’s Foxtel National Youth League Champions Melbourne City at the CB Smith Reserve, Fawkner on Saturday afternoon.
Chris Cristaldo gave the home side the lead early, before Glory's stand-in skipper Slobodan Vulin levelled just after half time.
Both sides had chances to win it, but Coach John Gibson said it was an outstanding away performance from his youngsters.
“They (Melbourne) were the benchmark of the league last season and I thought we were seriously competitive for the 93 minutes,“ he said.
“We gave away an early goal but like always we showed outstanding character, work rate and attitude plus maturity to hit back after half-time and had some good chances to win it also.It was a super team performance and we look forward to traveling to Melbourne next weekend - the game is always about what we do and getting better" he said.
Vulin said agreed it was a good all-round performance.
“It was a real positive performance from the team, we worked really hard and could have come home with the all three points,” he said.
“The boys had to dig deep after going down early but we produced number of good chances and deserved something from the game.”
Striker Stefan Valentini was outstanding, and echoed the skipper’s comments.
“It took us a while to get into it, but once we did we looked very dangerous going forward,” he said.
“We know the league has been shortened and it was vital we got something from this game and we be looking to get three points next week.”
It was Glory who had the first opportunity, Valentini heading inches over the bar in the opening minute. But two minutes later the home side hit the front, Cristaldo firing home after a swift break.
It was nearly 2-0, moments later with a Mahmut Ali Eyigun free kick only inches over the bar. The home side was doing all the attacking and Cristaldo went close to his and City’s second on 10 minutes, after he headed Stefan Zinni’s cross just over the top.
Glory settled and the lively Valentini burst clear on the half hour, but his effort was straight at former Glory custodian Tando Velaphi.
Valentini was causing all sorts of problems for the City defence and six minutes later Tomislav Fadljevic got back with a great last ditch tackle to deny him.
It was the boys from the West who ended the half the better and Dejan Spaseski saw his free kick well saved by Velaphi, before the City custodian spread himself to thwart Joe Knowles, but they went into the break 0-1 down.
It was a perfect start to the second half for Glory and they were level on 49 minutes.
Valentini was brought down on the edge of the penalty area and Vulin stepped up and curled the free kick around the wall and into the corner of the net.
Both sides had chances as the game opened up. Zinni’s cross picked out Cristaldo at the back post, but he headed wide, before Nikola Talimdzioski’s shot was well saved by Velaphi.
Valentini continued to torment the City defence and he outpaced his marker on 72 minutes, but Velaphi was well placed to save.
City had a penalty claim turned down by referee Adam Bavcar after Andrija Kecojevic was brought down in the area, but it was Glory on top and they almost took all three points in the final minute. Valentini broke clear, but Jordan Hall got back with a timely last ditch tackle.
A good point for the Glory who will be back in Melbourne next week when they take on Victory at the Lakeside Stadium on Sunday.
Melbourne Victory 1 (Cristaldo 3’)
Perth Glory 1 (Vulin 49’)
Saturday 14th November 2015
CB Smith Reserve
Referee: Adam Bavcar
Assistants: Jordan English and Daniel Illievski
Melbourne City: GK Tando VELAPHI, 5 Ivan FRANJIC (36 Matthew MILLAR 59’), 34 Stefan ZINNI (6 Denis GENREAU 80’), 35 Philip PETRESKI, 37 Leo ATHANASIOU, 38 Luke GALLO (48 Mehdi SARWARI 66’), 39 Mahmut Ali EYIGUN (C), 43 Tomislav FADLJEVIC, 44 Jordan HALL, 45 Andy KECOJEVIC, 46 Christopher CRISTALDO
Subs not used: RGK Anthony CASSET
Yellow cards: Velaphi 40’, Hall 44’, Franjic 51’. Petreski 63’, Millar 80’
Red cards: Nil
Perth Glory: GK Jordan THURTELL, 2 Henry DURR, 3 Dejan SPASESKI, 4 Aleks SUSJNAR, 5 Ross MILLARD 6 Calvin WHITNEY, 7 Stefan VALENTINI, 8 Walieldin ISMAIL ( 13 Sam MCKEARNEN 85’), 9 Joseph KNOWLES, 10 Slobodan VULIN (C), 11 Nikola TALIMDZIOSKI,
Subs not-used: RGK Joel DRISCOLL, 14 Hayden STEVENS, 12 Sean TROUP
Yellow cards: Millard 7’, Susjnar 24’
Red cards: Nil