Petkovic gets glorious farewell

In keeping with a wonderful career, legendary Glory shot stopper Jason Petkovic was farewelled in winning style at Members Equity Stadium with the home side carving out an enthralling 3-2 win over Melbourne.

In keeping with a wonderful career, legendary Glory shot stopper Jason Petkovic was farewelled in winning style at Members Equity Stadium with the home side carving out an enthralling 3-2 win over Melbourne.

Strikers Eugene Dadi and Nikita Rukavytsya did their part up front while across the park the Perth players lifted after going a goal down in the early stages to ensure Petkovic received the perfect send-off.

“It-s a fairytale, you can-t ask for anything more,” Petkovic said.

“They put us under pressure in the first 15 minutes and I thought we could get pumped here but credit to the boys, they never gave in. No one dropped their heads, they just kept going and that sort of resolve will go a long way in this game.”

Petkovic was handed the match ball by Coach Dave Mitchell following the final whistle as a large and appreciative crowd said goodbye to a man that help build Perth Glory into an Australian football powerhouse.

“I have a lot of good memories, I-ve met a lot of good people and I-m fortunate to have played for this great club,” Petkovic said.

“You play this game for the fans and they-re always been very good to me. It was the perfect way to finish my career in front of the passionate Perth Glory members and supporters who have made it such a pleasure to play here.”

It didn-t all go to script for Petkovic and Perth with Melbourne jumping out of the blocks in dramatic fashion and taking the lead with just three minutes expired. The visitors were intent on making the most of their early dominance, hitting the upright and going close on several occasions before Perth found their composure following a drinks break.

The Glory took advantage of the pause in hostilities to regroup and looked a different side when play resumed.

Adriano Pellegrino evoked memories of his long-range screamer in the last meeting between the two sides as he rattled the crossbar with another fine strike from distance and two minutes later Rukavytsya fired centimetres wide after being released by some clever play from Wayne Srhoj.

From being under siege for the first twenty minutes, Glory was now rampant and only some sterling defensive work from the Victory prevented Rukavytsya from converting a teasing Pellegrino cross.

However the match was back on level pegging from the resulting corner as Eugene Dadi climbed above his marker to power home a classic header.

Rocked by Glory-s resurgence, Victory then contrived to gift the home side the lead some three minutes later as Vargas was dispossessed on the edge of his own box by the tenacious Victor Sikora who unselfishly played in the overlapping Rukavytsya and the young striker calmly side-footed past Michael Theoklitos in the Melbourne goal.

The home side continued to press as half-time loomed and Theoklitos was twice forced into action to deny Dadi and Rukavytsya as they continued their intriguing duel to take out the club-s golden boot award.

Melbourne levelled proceedings just after the break when second half substitute Ney Fabiano finished from close range with his first touch of the afternoon.

Glory remained intent on finding a third goal and they did just that with a spectacular winner with fourteen minutes remaining.

Dadi was again the danger man for Perth as he stretched to volley home an inviting free kick from Naum Sekulovski. It was the second time that Dadi has scored a brace against Melbourne, the big striker taking his season goal tally to ten.

Mitchell was delighted with the result and the endeavour of his players who never gave in and proved there was plenty to play for in their remaining matches.

“A couple of people said to me as I walked in before the game that we-ve got nothing to play for but I said to the players that we-ve got our pride, our honour and they went out there and put in a great performance,” said Mitchell.

“It was great to get a win at home and send Jason off in style.

“We wanted to make sure this is the toughest road trip in the league and we-ve had some great results at home this season. Again we had a fantastic crowd turn out and I think they-ve been treated some excellent football and there is plenty more to look forward to next season,” said Mitchell.

Hyundai A-League Rd19

Perth Glory 3 (Eugene DADI 30-/75-, Nikita RUKAVYTSYA 34-)
Melbourne Victory 2 (Danny ALLSOPP 3-, NEY FABIANO 48-)
Sunday 11 January at Members Equity Stadium

Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referees: Michael Nugus, Joe Fusari
Fourth Official: Steven Gregory
Crowd: 9,381

Perth Glory: 1.Jason PETKOVIC (gk), 2.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 4.Jamie COYNE (c), 5.Jamie HARNWELL, 13.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA (11.Scott BULLOCH 81-), 14.Eugene DADI, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 19.Naum SEKULOVSKI, 22.Wayne SRHOJ, 29.Victor SIKORA (7.Nick RIZZO 70-), 31.Scott NEVILLE (28.Andrija JUKIC 90-).

Substitutes not used: 30.Tando VELAPHI (gk).
Yellow cards: 29.Victor SIKORA 66-.
Red Cards: Nil.

Melbourne Victory: 1.Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (c), 5.Sebastian RYALL (17.Jose Luis LOPEZ 78-), 7.Matthew KEMP, 9.Danny ALLSOPP (8.Grant BREBNER 60-), 10.Archie THOMPSON, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ (11.NEY FABIANO 46-), 22.Nick WARD.

Substitutes not used: 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk).
Yellow cards: Matthew KEMP 33-/88-
Red Cards: Matthew KEMP 88-