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Feb 01, 2020   |  1:52PM AET

D’Agostino header secures dramatic point

D’Agostino header secures dramatic point

Nick D’Agostino marked his first Glory start by nodding home a stunning late equaliser as Tony Popovic’s side fought out an enthralling 2-2 draw with Melbourne Victory at HBF Park.

https://players.brightcove.net/5498268486001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6128871485001

The visitors led twice through fine goals from Ola Toivonen and Andrew Nabbout, but Glory responded via Bruno Fornaroli’s well-taken free-kick in first-half stoppage-time and D’Ágostino’s last-minute effort.

The result saw the hosts extend their unbeaten run to eight games and while critical of his side’s defensive display, Popovic was delighted with the resolve they showed to claim a share of the spoils.

https://players.brightcove.net/5498268486001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6128940721001

“Obviously we were delighted in the end to get a point so late,” he said.

“It wasn’t a great day for us today, so to come away with a point was pleasing.

“Defensively we were poor today, I felt. It’s something that we’ve been really good at as a team on this great run that we’ve been on, but today was not a good day defensively for us.

“When that happens and you have a team that is dangerous and has some very good footballers in the front third, in transition you can get caught and we got caught twice in transition and we didn’t deal very well with the first and second balls today.

“So for the players to show the resilience to still get a point is great credit to them.”

After a cagey opening, it was Glory who created the first clear-cut chance of the evening, D’Agostino’s deflected shot falling kindly for Joel Chianese whose first-time shot drew a fine reflex save from Lawrence Thomas.

D’Agostino continued to look lively and forced Thomas into action again in the 15th minute, with the Victory ‘keeper going full length to tip the forward’s low drive around the post.

Despite Glory looking the more likely in the first 20 minutes, however, it was the men in grey who broke the deadlock with what was their first serious sight of goal.

Nabbout did the groundwork with a strong run down the right and his cut-back to the top of the box was handsomely stroked into the top corner by Toivonen.

As a rather fractious first-half continued, Glory came agonisingly close to equalising in spectacular style, Fornaroli meeting Ivan Franjic’s cross with a bicycle kick which beat Thomas only to bounce back out off the foot of the post. 

The in-form Uruguayan was not to be denied in first-half stoppage-time, however, bending an inch-perfect free-kick into the bottom corner to claim his seventh goal in eight games.

13 minutes into the second half, the pendulum swung back in Victory’s favour as Nabbout showed great pace to get away down the left before cutting in and bending a pinpoint shot past Liam Reddy.

The Glory ‘keeper then produced a fine block to prevent Toivonen from extending his side’s lead and as the final whistle loomed it looked as if the home side were set to suffer what would have been their first defeat since losing to the same opponents back in Round 8.

But D’Agostino had other ideas and after Ivan Franjic linked up with substitute Kristian Popovic on the right and delivered a teasing ball into the box, the hero of the Olyroos’ successful qualification for Tokyo 2020 produced a leap of Olympic proportions to meet the cross and head powerfully into the roof of the net.

And the 21-year-old so very nearly won it for his side in stoppage-time, twice sending headers narrowly over the bar in a frantic finale to a pulsating contest that kept the crowd of 9435 enthralled right to the end.

Match Details

Perth Glory 2 (Fornaroli 45+2′) Melbourne Victory 2 (Toivonen 23′, Nabbout 58′)

Half-time: 1-1

Attendance: 9435

Referee: Stephen Lucas

Assistant Referee 1: Josh Mannella

Assistant Referee 2: Arvin Shanmuganathan

Fourth Official: Adam Fielding

VAR: Kris Griffiths-Jones

Perth Glory: 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 2.Alex GRANT, 4.Gregory WUTHRICH, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE (19.Chris IKONOMIDIS 63′) (28.Gabriel POPOVIC 79′), 8.James MEREDITH, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 18.Nicholas D’AGOSTINO, 20.Jake BRIMMER (29.Kristian POPOVIC 63′), 88.Neil KILKENNY

Substitutes not used: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jacob TRATT,  21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Vince LIA

Yellow Cards: Mrcela, Grant, Fornaroli

Red Cards: None

Melbourne Victory: 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 4.James DONACHIE, 9.Andrew NABBOUT (23. Marco ROJAS 75′), 11.Ola TOIVONEN (7.Kenny ATHIU 83′), 17.Elvis KAMSOBA, 18.Migjen BASHA (8.Jakob POULSEN 46′), 19.Ben CARRIGAN, 21.Adama TRAORE, 24.Anthony LESIOTIS, 25.Brandon LAUTON,

Substitutes not used: 16.Josh HOPE, 26.Jay BARNETT, 50.Brendan WHITE (gk)

Yellow Cards: None

Red Cards: None

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