Gallant Glory fall just short against Shanghai

ACL - Glory v Shanghai Shenhua - team photo

A brave second-half fightback was not enough to prevent a youthful Glory side from tasting defeat in their opening game of the AFC Champions League hub as they went down 2-1 to Shanghai Shenhua in Doha.

Click HERE to view full match highlights courtesy of AFC.

Shanghai established a 2-0 lead at the break courtesy of goals from Peng Xinli and Yu Hanchao, but the men in purple rallied in the second half and set up a frantic finale when Jonathan Aspropotamitis halved the arrears nine minutes from time.

And although Glory were ultimately unable to find an equaliser, there were plenty of positives for Head Coach Richard Garcia to take from a game in which he handed no fewer than seven players their senior debut for the club.

“It was a decent performance,” he said.

“The way the boys went about their business and played was very encouraging.

“There were some very good performances which is fantastic after such a short run-in to the tournament.

“Some of the younger players started with a few nerves, but they grew into the game and as it went on, I think their belief in themselves grew and their performances were very good.

“My message to the group after the game was that there were a lot of positives, we played well in patches and that we have a lot to work on to get to the next level, to where we want to be.

“But for a first game, it was very encouraging… and thankfully we don’t appear to have picked up any injuries.”

Amidst the splendid, if eerily deserted, surroundings of the newly-opened Education City Stadium, the WA side made the worst possible start as they fell behind with just seven minutes on the clock.

Zhu Jianrong made inroads down the right flank before pulling the ball back for Xinli who swept home a low shot into the far corner of Tando Velaphi’s net from just inside the box.

Brandon Wilson, Diego Castro and Bruno Fornaroli then all had half-chances as Glory responded well to the early setback, only for Shanghai to double their advantage against the run of play with their next sight of goal.

This time it was Hanchao who surged into the box and his toe-poke eluded Velaphi to squirm its way over the line.

Shanghai Shenhua ‘keeper Zhang Lu was called into action on the stroke of half-time to block a downward header from Fornaroli and Glory continued to ask questions of the Chinese side’s defence throughout the second half.

Lu got down well to foil Fornaroli again six minutes after the restart, but Glory finally made the breakthrough inside the final ten minutes.

Substitute Carlo Armiento fired in angled shot which Lu parried and Aspropotamitis, who had stayed upfield after an earlier corner, pounced to rifle the loose ball into the roof of the net.

Sensing their opponents were rattled, Glory duly turned up the heat in the final minutes, but despite the best efforts of Fornaroli, who saw a spectacular overhead kick flash over, were not able to find an equaliser.

Next on the agenda for Garcia’s side is a meeting with Ulsan Hyundai on Tuesday 24 November (kick-off at 9pm WST).

Match Details

2020 AFC Champions League Group F

Perth Glory 1 (Aspropotamitis 81′) Shanghai Shenhua 2 (Xinli 7′, Hanchao 38′)

Half-time: 0-2

Education City Stadium, Doha

Referee: Mohammed Abdulla Hassan

Perth Glory: 1.Tando VELAPHI, 3.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 7.Luke BODNAR, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 11.Declan HUGHES (16.Nick SULLIVAN 63′), 15.Brandon WILSON, 17.Diego CASTRO (c), 18.Nick D’AGOSTINO (14.Giordano COLLI 77′), 22.Joshua RAWLINS, 23.Dane INGHAM, 27.Bryce BAFFORD (25.Carlo ARMIENTO 63′)

Substitutes not used: 4.Darryl LACHMAN, 5.Nicholas WALSH, 10.Daniel STYNES, 13.Osama MALIK, 28.Mason TATAFU, 50.Cameron COOK (GK), 88.Neil KILKENNY

Yellow Cards: Hughes

Red Cards: None

Shanghai Shenhua: 27.Li SHUAI (GK), 8.Zhang LU, 11.Yu HANCHAO, 15.Zhu JIANRONG (21.Zhu BAOJIE 64′), 18.Gao DI, 25.Peng XINLI (3.Bi JINHAO 64′), 30.Stephane MBIA (35.Feng XIAOTING 73′), 31.Wang WEI, 32.Fulangxisi AIDI, 37.Sun SHILIN, 43.Qian JIEGEI (26.Qin SHENG 88′)

Substitutes not used: 1.Ma ZHEN (GK), 4.Jiang SHENG LONG, 23.Bai JIAJUN, 29.Zhou JUNCHEN, 36.Liu RUOFAN, 38.Wen JIABAO

Yellow Cards: Fulangxisi, Mbia, Wei, Jiegei

Red Cards: None