Hyundai A-League leader Perth Glory FC has kept a clean sheet and extended its buffer at the top of the table after a nil-all draw with Melbourne City at AAMI Park.
Glory striker Andy Keogh, probably had the best chance of the night in the dying seconds of the match to give Perth the win, but a desperate and heroic Tando Velaphi saved City from strife.
Glory fielded a makeshift midfield, as skipper Michael Thwaite slipped into the defensive midfield spot, a job he fulfilled to the outmost and was subsequently named man of the match.
Glory took more time to settle, while City looked for an early lead. And it came through former Perth defender Jack Clisby who fired the first shot on goal in the 8’ but it didn’t pose any trouble for Perth’s custodian Danny Vukovic.
City’s first clinical attack came in the 18’ via a perfect cross from City’s new signing Kew Jaliens, into the path of former Socceroo Josh Kennedy who fired on goal but Vukovic did well to touch the ball over the cross bar. Vukovic was called into action a minute later as Jacob Melling attempted twice to beat Perth’s keeper with two long range shots but the 29-year old managed well to keep the ball out of the net.
Glory settled soon after weathering City’s flurry of attacks, and Sidnei and Keogh started to create some good opportunities to get the league leaders on the score sheet.
Keogh blasted a shot on the half hour mark which was blocked by City’s defence and Chris Harold headed a neat cross from Scott Jamieson close to half time, which fell wide of the post.
Glory had more possession in the second half but Jaliens probably missed Melbourne’s best chance in the match after he leaped high in the air to meet a corner to guide the ball into the back of the net but it fell wide of the post and let Glory off the hook.
Keogh did manage to put the ball into the net on the hour mark after receiving a cross from Josh Risdon but the assistant referee ruled the ball was out of play at the time he sent the ball into the box.
Five minutes later Keogh had two chances to head the ball onto goal but they too, fell either short or wide of the mark.
After being sidelined with a hamstring injury for the past two months, Mitch Nichols came on as a substitute in the 70′ and provided some spark. He did well to lift the ball into Keogh’s path at the back post but Jaliens did well to jump in the air to head it out of danger.
It was end to end action in the final ten minutes of the game with both sides creating chances and defending valiantly.
In added time, Keogh could have been the hero as he latched onto a beautiful through ball from Nichols. The Irishman found himself one on one with City keeper Velaphi but the latter did well to rush off his line and block Keogh’s shot.
While the score stayed 0-0 after 90 minutes, the point helped extend the West Australians lead to two points clear at the top of the table.
Glory will face the rejuvenated and current Hyundai A-League champion, Brisbane Roar, next Saturday at nib stadium.
Kick-off is at 6.30pm
You can click here to get your tickets to the match.
Red cards: None
Yellow cards: Paartalu (56′), Kramar (77′)
Conditions: 35 degrees, dry
Attendance: 6,486 @ AAMI Park
Melbourne City: Velaphi, Jaliens, Kisnorbo, Chapman, Clisby, Paartalu, Mooy, Melling (Murdocca 58′), Koren (Retre 88′), Kennedy, Williams (Hoffman 83′).
Perth Glory FC: Vukovic, Risdon, Djulbic, Kramar, Jamieson, Thwaite, Griffiths (Nichols 69′), Marinkovic (Garcia, 80′), Harold (Paljic 56′), Keogh, Sidnei.