Jelic’s double delight

Glory striker Branko Jelic found the perfect time to register his first score for the club by firing home a double against reigning Hyundai A-League Champions Melbourne to hand Perth a crucial 2-1 win.

Glory striker Branko Jelic found the perfect time to register his first score for the club by firing home a double against reigning Hyundai A-League Champions Melbourne to hand Perth a crucial 2-1 win.

The Serbian striker arrived in Perth from the German Bundesliga with a reputation for regularly finding the back of the net and his goals in each half were the difference in a high class affair at ME Bank Stadium.

Jelic-s first goal coming after just four minutes to give Perth the perfect opening while the second 10 minutes after the restart allowed the home side some breathing space in a hard fought contest that thrilled the 8057 supporters on hand.

One of five experienced recruits brought to the club in the off-season, Jelic said he felt the team was getting better and better each week and there is even more to come from the Glory.

“I-m happy because we won and my two goals are a product of the whole team,” Jelic said.

“We worked hard, the game was tough and we-ve won against the champion of Australia. It is good for our confidence and I hope that we will keep going.

“We have space to improve because this is just the fourth time that we play together and the season is long so we will see, we just need to see step by step,” added Jelic.

Glory Coach Dave Mitchell was delighted with the way his side repelled an attack minded Victory outfit that, despite conceding the opening goal, quickly found their way back into the game and dominated for large portions of the opening stanza.

“I think last year or in previous years we probably would have conceded one or two goals in the first half when we were getting well beaten so its credit to the boys, they worked their socks off,” Mitchell said.

“I was thankful that we could regroup at half time and go out back out with a clear understanding of what we need to do to turn the game and we did that.

“Tando Velaphi was outstanding tonight, not only his saving of shots but also his reading of the game and coming out of the box when he needed to.

“I always said we-d be a slow burner throughout the year and get better and better I think and tonight has proven it,” said Mitchell.

It may have been a chilly night at ME Bank Stadium but the Glory faithful did not have to wait too long for a goal celebration to warm them up. Naum Sekulovski-s beautiful free-kick found Chris Coyne who peeled it back across goal with a header to Mile Sterjovski. The striker forcing the ball goalward and his effort looked set to cross the line before Jelic slid in to make absolutely certain and bag his maiden Hyundai A-League goal in the process.

Glory, however, were to enjoy their advantage for only five minutes before the visitors restored parity courtesy of a delightful move featuring their much vaunted trio of Archie Thompson, Carlos Hernandez and Danny Allsop.

It was Thompson who slotting home from point blank range after his first effort was blocked by a desperate goal-line slide from Sekulovski.

The visitors continued to probe Glory-s defence with their trademark high-tempo and slick passing game but it was Perth that could, and perhaps, should have regained the lead as the game-s frantic pace showed no sign of abating.

Adriano Pellegrino delivered a tantalizing cross from the right to pick out the perfectly-positioned Victor Sikora however the Dutchman failed to time his headed effort and the chance went wide of the upright.

Melbourne responded to that let-off by creating several clear-cut opportunities of their own and Glory were indebted to Tando Velaphi who continued his impressive start to the season by producing fine saves to foil both Hernandez and Ney Fabiano.

His counterpart Glen Moss was also called into action shortly before the break as the chances continued to flow at either end, racing swiftly from his line to save at the feet of Pellegrino and blocking a firm headed effort from Andy Todd.

The interval did nothing to curb the breathless pace of the game as both sides came out firing and once again it was Jelic who wasted no time in striding onto centre stage.

On 54 minutes a sweeping Glory move saw young defender Scott Neville overlap from right back to find Sterjovski with a delightful cross. The marquee man put his header on target but Jelic was again in the right place at the right time to latch onto the parried ball with predatory precision.

Sikora, Pellegrino and Srhoj were then all narrowly off-target with long-range efforts as Glory enjoyed their best spell of the game.

Denying Melbourne the space and time they had enjoyed in midfield during the first-half, Glory effectively stifled the Victory-s attacking options and forced Ernie Merrick into several changes to swing the momentum back in their favour.

The tension mounted as full-time approached but Glory were not to be denied, showing great tenacity to blunt the reigning Premiers- attacking edge to seal consecutive home victories and re-establish their finals credentials in no uncertain terms.

“We-re strong at home, the Champions came and we beat them,” Mitchell said.

“It was a game of two halves, they-re a very good side and will be there or there abouts but for us it-s good to get another win.

“We just have to improve our away form and that-s something we have set ourselves this year to get better at,” Mitchell said.

Hyundai A-League - Round 4 Perth Glory 2 (Branko Jelic 4-/54-) Melbourne Victory 1 (Archie Thompson 9-) Friday, 28 August 2009 at ME Bank Stadium, Perth

Crowd: 8057 Referee: Chris Beath

Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 4.Andy TODD, 6.Chris COYNE, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 8.Victor SIKORA (25.AMARAL 80-), 10.Wayne SRHOJ, 11.Branko JELIC (24.Matthew MAYORA 85-), 12.Scott NEVILLE, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 21.Mile STERJOVSKI (17.Todd HOWARTH 75-)

Substitutes not used: 20.Aleks VRTESKI (gk), Yellow cards: Burns 42-, Coyne 51-, Sikora 62- Red cards: nil

Melbourne Victory: 20.Glen MOSS (gk), 5.Surat SUKHA (17.Matthew FOSCHINI 78-), 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.NEY FABIANO (22.Nick WARD 61-), 12.Rodrigo VARGAS (c), 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ (8.Grant BREBNER 75-), 23.Adrian LEIJER.

Substitutes not used: 1.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), Yellow cards: Broxham 24-, Sukha 25-, Hernandez 69-, Leijer 71- Red cards: nil