Khelifi returns with a double in home draw

Salim Khelifi marked his return from injury by scoring twice as Glory fought out a dramatic and controversial 2-2 draw with Central Coast Mariners at Macedonia Park on Saturday.

View full match highlights HERE.

The livewire midfielder, who had missed the previous three games with a foot injury, fired the home side into a first-half lead with a sublime free-kick and then made it 2-0 from the penalty spot shortly after the break.

The high-flying Mariners, however, were duly awarded two penalties of their own in the final 16 minutes, both of which were successfully converted by leading-scorer Jason Cummings.

The result moves Glory to within four points of the top six, but having seen his side let a two-goal lead slip, Glory Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich was naturally left a little frustrated.

View his full post-match media conference HERE.

“The first emotion is disappointment,” he said.

“Being at home, we should win from there [2-0 up], if I’m honest.

“I think we did enough to win the game.

“Obviously the momentum swings on a pretty difficult decision to take [the first penalty] and that moment gives them a little bit of belief.

“That’s all a good team needs and they are a good team.

“But I felt that for all their possession, we still had the better of the chances.

“We had more shots on target and some great counter-attacking opportunities where I just felt that we lacked a bit of quality in the execution of it.

“I felt we did enough to win the game, but I also didn’t think we were great tonight.

“I thought we turned the ball over cheaply at times and that made us defend for too long.”

In front of another sell-out crowd, it was the Mariners who began the more brightly, with Cameron Cook forced into a smart, one-handed save to keep out an early header from Brian Kaltak.

And yet it was Glory who hit the front in spectacular fashion 15 minutes in, Khelifi doing superbly well to get his 20m free-kick up and over the wall before it kissed the underside of the bar on its way into the net.

The chances continued to flow as the half wore on, former Glory ‘keeper Danny Vukovic getting down well to keep out a shot from Adam Taggart and Cook making a timely readjustment at the other end to beat away a swerving James McGarry free-kick which threatened to creep in at the near post.

On the stroke of half-time, Taggart was centimetres away from converting an inviting cross from David Williams, but Glory were not to be denied their second for long.

Just six minutes of the second half had elapsed when Khelifi’s cross was handled by Kaltak and the Tunisian international calmly beat Vukovic from the spot.

Glory doubling their lead did nothing to alter the frenetic nature of the game as Jacob Farrell nodded against the bar for the visitors and Cook was called into action again, this time to foil Samuel Silvera.

The Mariners were then handed a lifeline when John Koutroumbis was deemed to have handled in the box following the intervention of the VAR and Cummings made no mistake with the resulting penalty.

Six minutes later, the Socceroos frontman repeated the trick, this time sending his spot-kick into the other corner after Aaron McEneff had tripped fellow-substitute Christian Theoharous.

In a frantic finale, Adam Zimarino came agonisingly close to snatching all three points for Glory, but Vukovic blocked his effort at point-blank range and thereby ensured that the spoils would be shared for the fourth time in the last five meetings between the two clubs.

Match Details

ISUZU UTE A-League 2022/23 Season Round 17

Perth Glory 2 (Khelifi 16′, 51′ (pen)) Central Coast Mariners 2
(Cummings 74′ (pen), 81′ (pen))

Half-time: 1-0

Macedonia Park

Referee: Adam Kersey

Perth Glory:
13.Cameron COOK (gk), 4.Luke BODNAR (2.John KOUTROUMBIS 55′), 5.Mark BEEVERS, 7.Ryan WILLIAMS, 10.Salim KHELIFI (19.Zach DUNCAN 55′), 14.Jack CLISBY (43.Adam ZIMARINO 82′), 15.Jordan ELSEY, 16.Keegan JELACIC, 18.David WILLIAMS (3.Jacob DOWSE 82′), 22.Adam TAGGART (6.Aaron MCENEFF 62′), 37.Jacob MUIR

Substitutes not used: 21.Antonee BURKE-GILROY, 30.Pierce CLARK (gk)

Yellow Cards: Beevers, Clisby, Koutroumbis, Muir, Elsey

Red Cards: None

Central Coast Mariners: 20 Danny VUKOVIC (gk) (c), 3. Brian KALTAK, 4. Joshua NISBET, 5. James MCGARRY (31. Christian THEOHAROUS 52′), 6. Maximilien BALARD (10. Matheus MORESCHE 68′), 7 Samuel SILVERA, 9. Jason CUMMINGS, 11. Beni NKOLOLO (18. Jacob FARRELL 52′), 15. Storm ROUX (28. James BAYLISS 85′), 25 Nectarios TRIANTIS (23. Daniel HALL 85′), 98. Marco TULIO

Substitutes not used: 13. Harry STEELE, 24. Yaren SOZER (gk)

Yellow Cards: McGarry, Kaltak

Red Cards: None