Glory’s charge for a Finals spot gathered extra steam on Saturday as a Leena Khamis header and an own-goal from Catherine Zimmerman secured Alex Epakis’ side an eye-catching 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.
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Requiring three points to stay in touch with the top four, the WA side took control of the game in the second half, scoring twice in the space of four minutes to inflict just a third defeat of the season upon the hosts.
The opening goal arrived from a Deborah-Anne de la Harpe corner which was glanced goalward by Mie Leth Jans and then inadvertently flicked into the net by Zimmerman, while the second saw Cyera Hintzen divert a cross from Aideen Keane on to Khamis who headed home from close range.
The result leaves Glory just one point outside the top four with two games left to play and Epakis was under no illusions regarding the magnitude of the result.
“It’s a massive win,” he said.
“The playing group and I just had a great chat in the changing room and we just looked around and knew that that was a special performance.
“That’s what we really wanted today.
“As I said in midweek, we’re not chasing top four, we’re just chasing performances and we know that if our performances are good enough over the next few weeks, the top four will take care of itself.
“It was a controlled game from minute one to minute 90, we stuck to the game plan, we believed in the game plan and we executed the game plan.
“I’m absolutely thrilled.
“All week I was driving home the message of making sure that when the moments come, we take advantage of them and today we capitalised upon those moments and managed their attacking moments as well.
“I’m happy that we found that way to make sure that we didn’t let chances slip by and then look back at the end of the game and regret it.”
There was a last-minute change to the Glory line-up, Courtney Newbon being promoted from the bench after Morgan Aquino aggravated an existing finger injury during the warm-up and there was a new face in the backline as Claudia Mihocic came in for her senior debut.
Both would go on to acquit themselves well during a first half in which clear-cut chances were at a premium as both defences retained the upper hand.
Sofia Sakalis lost her footing as she prepared to meet a teasing Hintzen cross in Glory’s best moment, while Zimmerman sent a fierce, long-range effort onto the roof of the net for the navy-and-whites.
It was Victory who began the second half on the front foot, but Glory successfully kept them at arm’s length and following the introduction of experienced attacking duo Khamis and Lisa De Vanna from the bench, seized control of the game with two quickfire goals.
Zimmerman’s own-goal in the 69th minute was no more than the women in teal deserved, having seen a de la Harpe corner cleared off the line by Tiffany Eliadis moments earlier and Victory were still reeling when Khamis made it 2-0.
Keane, another second-half substitute, burst away down the right, her cross was flicked on cleverly by the industrious Hintzen and Khamis was perfectly placed to nod in her 45th career A-League goal and her first for Glory.
Only a fine save from Casey Dumont prevented the visitors from adding a third as they proceeded to dominate the latter stages and in doing so, ensure that their Finals hopes remain very much alive heading into next weekend’s clash with league leaders Sydney FC.
Melbourne Victory 0 Perth Glory 2 (Zimmerman (o.g.) 69′, Khamis 73′
Referee: Rebecca Mackie
Melbourne Victory: 1.Casey DUMONT(GK), 2.Tiffany ELIADIS, 5.Courtney NEVIN, 7.Kyra COONEY-CROSS, 8.Alana MURPHY (30.Melindaj BARBIERI 31′), 9.Catherine ZIMMERMAN, 10.Alexnadra CHIDIAC (4.Emma ROBERS 78′), 13.Polly DORAN, 17.Maja MARKOVSKI (11.Harriet WITHERS 58′), 19.Lia PRIVITELLI (16.Paige ZOIS 78′), 25.Brooke HENDRIX
Substitutes not used: 20.Mel MAIZELS (GK)
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Perth Glory: 20.Courtney NEWBON (GK), 3.Kim CARROLL, 4.Natasha RIGBY (GK), 5.Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 8.Hana LOWRY, 10.Susan PHONSONGKHAM (21.Aideen KEANE 68′), 12.Sofia SAKALIS (11.Lisa DE VANNA 60′), 13.Sarah CAIN (29.Leena KHAMIS 68′), 15.Cyera HINTZEN (23.Alana JANCEVSKI 84′), 22.Claudia MIHOCIC, 26.Mie LETH JANS
Substitutes not used: 1.Morgan AQUINO (GK)
Yellow Cards: Jancevski
Red Cards: None