TUKS CAPITALISE ON GLORYS SLOW START

A strong second-half showing was not enough to prevent Perth Glory from succumbing to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of University of Pretoria FC in the second game of their South Africa tour.

A strong second-half showing was not enough to prevent Perth Glory from succumbing to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of University of Pretoria FC in the second game of their South Africa tour.

A major traffic delay severely disrupted the tourists' pre-match preparations and it was therefore unsurprising that they were a little slow out of the blocks. But after conceding two quick-fire goals, Alistair Edwards' men proceeded to dominate much of the remainder of the contest, creating a host of decent goalscoring opportunities.

University of Pretoria, or Tuks FC as they are more commonly known, were indebted to their goalkeeper who produced a string of outstanding saves to maintain his side's early advantage, the pick of which saw him foil both Jamie Maclaren and Ryan Edwards in one-on-one situations. Triallist Harry O'Brien also twice went close late in the second-half, leaving Head Coach Edwards generally satisfied with another solid pre-season hit-out.

"It was a very worthwhile exercise," he said. "We were a little bit sluggish in the first-half, possibly because we had a four-hour bus trip to get the game and had to undertake a massive detour due to a 20-car pile-up on the freeway which didn't help. "As a consequence of that, the players were a bit lethargic and we were giving the ball away uncharacteristically. "But we finished the game very strongly and their 'keeper was probably the man-of-the-match. "Having recovered from that slow start, we were on top for long periods in the second-half and just couldn't get the ball in the back of the net. "Today was probably a true reflection of where we are in our pre-season and where Tuks are. "Their season starts next weekend so they are ready to go, whereas we've got until October and we're just trying to get some game time into our players at this stage."

Edwards was also pleased with his charges' level of creativity in the final third and the way they combated a ruggedly physical Tuks side.

"We created more chances today than we did in our first game," he said, "which is a major positive. "I wouldn't say that Tuks were a better side than our first tour opponents, Black Aces, but they were very, very physical and definitely the most direct team we've played against for some time. "It was a very niggly game with a few nasty challenges especially when we started to dominate in the second-half and they got a bit frustrated by that."

The feisty clash in the South African capital marked a return to action for Jacob Burns who got 45 minutes under his belt having recovered from a quad strain and the club skipper was one of the players Edwards singled out for special praise.

"Jacob played very well," he said, "Steven McGarry was fantastic again in the first-half, Danny (Vukovic) played well as he always does, Scott Jamieson and Brandon O'Neill were excellent at the back and Jamie Maclaren looked dangerous when he came on and was unlucky not to score a couple."

Steve Pantelidis, meanwhile, is poised to make his first appearance since off-season Achilles surgery in Wednesday's final tour game against SuperSport United and Edwards feels that the entire playing group is very much on track in terms of its pre-season fitness development.

"We're gradually building up the players' game time and today we managed to get at least 60 minutes into most of them against a season-ready side. "We're also experimenting in the sense that we are giving different players opportunities to play in different roles. "We did that today with Dean Evans who played at centre-back and did very well there. "In those respects, the trip is going extremely well."

University of Pretoria 2-0 Perth Glory (Half-time 2-0) Pretoria Sunday 28th July 2013

Glory Line-Up - Formation 4-2-3-1

Danny Vukovic, Josh Risdon (Matt Davies 53'), Dean Evans, Jack Clisby (Brandon O'Neill 46'), Scott Jamieson, Steven McGarry (Jacob Burns 46'), Cameron Edwards (Blame QuaQua 53') , Chris Harold (Ryo Nagai 60'), Ryan Edwards (Harry O'Brien 60'), Sidnei (Adrian Zahra 53'), Ndumba Makeche (Jamie Maclaren 60')

Perth Glory's 2013 South Africa tour proudly sponsored by Kaboko Mining, Live2Learn and Europcar

Gareth Morgan