Hyundai A-League leader, Perth Glory FC has stretched its unbeaten streak to nine matches and maintained its six point buffer at the top of the table, after grinding out a hard fought 1-1 draw against Melbourne City at AAMI Park.
City’s Aaron Mooy drew first blood for the hosts with a delightful shot over Glory keeper Danny Vukovic in the 48th minute before favourite son and QBE man-of-the-match Richard Garcia headed home a Scott Jamieson free kick to level the score in the 62nd minute.
Perth started the match without dead-ball specialist, Nebojsa Marinkovic who fell sick on Christmas Eve with the flu, but the league leaders appeared to get off to a positive start within the first few minutes.
However, City settled in the match quicker in front of its 9550 home crowd and Mooy revealed the threat he posed in the 16th minute, when he fired on goal from the top of the box but luckily it didn’t cause Vukovic too much grief.
But it was against the run of play that Glory should have hit the front when Richard Garcia made a long driving run from his own half before he was fouled in the box by City skipper Patrick Kisnorbo. Despite Garcia’s remonstration, referee Alan Milliner, pointed for a corner but replays showed Garcia should have been awarded a penalty.
Just before half-time, Vukovic was called into action after Mooy sent in a teasing corner ball which forced the Perth custodian to push the ball wide but only into the path of a City player who blasted the ball toward goal. Vukovic threw his body in front and blocked away the threat.
After threatening to score with intent, in the first 45' it only took three minutes in the second half for City to go up 1-0. David Williams drove through the Glory defence to thread the ball to Mooy who made a carving run to beat Glorys defence and expertly lifted the ball over an incoming Vukovic.
That goal however only seemed to fire up Glory and Richard Garcia was the hero for Perth. Scott Jamieson fired a high and teasing free-kick from near the half-way line which found Garcia in the box who was able to guide the ball into the back of the net.
Dino Djulbic could have added another to Glory’s tally six minutes after, when the ball from another Jamieson free-kick landed at his feet but his shot was well saved by City’s Tando Velaphi.
Vukovic was then called into action five minutes later and thanks to his acrobatics and heroics was able to stop a barrage of City corners from finding the net.
Irishman Andy Keogh had a good chance to steal it for Glory in the 81' when he found himself in a clear one-on-one with Velaphi who managed to save well.
While the match could have gone either way after 90 minutes a draw seemed a fair result on what was a tough road trip for the league leaders.
Glory will head back to Victoria on New Year’s Day to face Melbourne Victory for the Round 13 clash in Geelong. Victory currently trail Glory by seven points.
Perth Glory FC returns to nib Stadium on January 5 to face FFA Cup winners Adelaide United.
Click here to get your tickets to the ultimate grudge match.
Scorers: Mooy 48' Garcia 62'
Yellow Cards: Garia 64' Kisnorbo 67'
Perth Glory FC Squad : 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 5.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9.Andy KEOGH, 11.Richard GARCIA, 14.Chris HAROLD (88' 2.Jack CLISBY), 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Daniel DE SILVA (16.Sidnei SCIOLA), 21.Scott JAMIESON, 23.Michael THWAITE (c),
Subs:3.Brandon O'NEILL, 15.Jamie MACLAREN 18. Jack DUNCAN (gk)
Melbourne City FC Squad : 3.Robbie WIELAERT, 4.Connor CHAPMAN, 5.Erik PAARTALU, 6.Aaron MOOY, 7.Iain RAMSAY, 15.David WILLIAMS (81' 14.James BROWN) 19.Benjamin GARUCCIO, 20.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 23.Mate DUGANDZIC (58' 11.Damien DUFF), 24.Patrick KISNORBO (C), 25.Jacob MELLING (70' 10.Robert KOREN)
Subs:1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK)