Brave Glory edged out by Blues


An early goal from Pedro may have consigned Glory to a 1-0 defeat against Chelsea, but they more than played their part in a spectacular and historic event at Optus Stadium on Monday night.

The crowd of 55,522 was both the highest in Glory’s history and the largest ever at a football match in WA and those in attendance were treated to a dazzling light show before the game got underway.

It was the English visitors who then illuminated the first half, but Glory battled back after the break and came close to claiming a share of the spoils late in the piece.

And although it ultimately wasn’t to be for Tony Popovic’s men, there was plenty to suggest that the new-look squad is gelling nicely ahead of next month’s FFA Cup clash with Melbourne Victory.

The Blues hit the front with the first chance of the game when Pedro steered home a volley having been teed up by Callum Hudson-Odoi and Glory continued to find themselves under the pump throughout the opening period.

Only a fine, last-ditch intervention from Shane Lowry prevented Alvaro Morata from latching on to Ross Barkley’s through-ball with 26 minutes on the clock and moments later Scott Neville did well to deflect a goal-bound Cesc Fabregas effort over the bar.

Pedro then flashed a shot across the face of goal after another rapid Chelsea break down the right, before Liam Reddy got down well to keep out a strike from the overlapping Davide Zappacosta.

And just before the break, Reddy was again called into action, racing smartly from his line to prevent Pedro from reaching a cross supplied by the impressive Hudson-Odoi who had run the length of the field.

Six minutes into the second half, the London side went close again, this time the ubiquitous Barkley striking the base of the post with a shot from the edge of the box and Reddy pouncing gratefully upon the rebound.

Glory mustered a response soon after, however, Andy Keogh’s clever flick on the halfway line releasing Fabio Ferreira down the left and the Portuguese winger cutting in and firing in a shot which drew a first save of the night from Marcin Bulka in the Chelsea goal.

Clearly lifted by that effort, the men in grey threatened again on the hour-mark, Neil Kilkenny’s half-cleared corner falling kindly for Ivan Franjic who dragged his first-time shot wide.

With the game opening up, Barkley went close again, Reddy’s legs keeping his cross-shot out and Tammy Abraham was also foiled by the Glory ‘keeper before fellow-substitute Mario Pasalic clipped the outside of the post.

Reddy then produced arguably his best save of the night to parry Pedro’s volley after the Spaniard had been picked out by Emerson from the left.

As the game moved into the final quarter, Jason Davidson was handed his club debut when introduced from the bench alongside Brendon Santalab, Jake Brimmer and Joel Chianese.

And Glory certainly finished with a flourish, Santalab making an immediate impact as he headed over the bar and then rifled in a fierce effort from just inside the box that flashed narrowly wide of Bulka’s left post.

In the last minute of normal time, Harold brought down a cross from Chianese and got a lofted shot away, only to see the ball cleared off the line by a cluster of Chelsea defenders.

The final whistle brought a roar of appreciation from the fans, followed by a lap of honour from both sides and even the return of the rain could not put a dampener on a truly memorable occasion.

Match Details

Pre-Season Friendly

Chelsea 1 (Pedro 5′) Perth Glory 0

Half time: 1-0

Optus Stadium

Attendance: 55,522

Referee: Shaun Evans

Assistant Referees: George Lakrindis and Josh Mannella

Fourth Official: Adam Fielding

Chelsea: 12.Marcin BULKA, 3.Marcos ALONSO (33.EMERSON 46′), 4.Cesc FABREGAS, 5.JORGINHO (14.Tiemoue BAKAYOKO 46′), 8.Ross BARKLEY, 9.Alvaro MORATA (10.Tammy ABRAHAM 61′), 11.PEDRO (22.Lucas PIAZON 72′), 20.Callum HUDSON-ODOI (19.Mario PASALIC 46′), 21.Davide ZAPPACOSTA (2.Ola AINA 72′), 30.David LUIZ,44.Ethan AMPADU (18.Tomas KALAS 61′)

Substitutes not used: 1.Bradley COLLINS, 6.Danny DRINKWATER, 7.Kasey PALMER, 15.Fikayo TOMORI, 16.Michael HECTOR, 17.Charly MUSONDA, 13.Jared THOMPSON

Yellow cards: Luiz

Red cards: None

Perth Glory: 33.Liam REDDY, 2.Alex GRANT, 4.Shane LOWRY, 5.Ivan FRANJIC (3.Jason DAVIDSON 68′), 6.Dino DJULBIC (7.Joel CHIANESE 68′), 8.Neil KILKENNY (20.Jake BRIMMER 68′) 9.Andy KEOGH (c) (11.Brendon SANTALAB 68′), 15.Brandon WILSON (27.JUANDE 77′),  21.Jacob ITALIANO (14.Chris HAROLD 46′), 22.Fabio FERRIERA (17.Diego CASTRO 77′) 23.Scott NEVILLE

Substitutes not used: 1.Tando VELAPHI, 18.Daniel STYNES, 25.Walter SCOTT, 26.Yagoub MUSTAFA, 40.Jackson LEE

Yellow cards: None

Red cards: None