Youngsters secure dramatic draw


Glory’s Foxtel Y-League team rounded off their season in dramatic style on Sunday as Kristian Popovic’s last-minute goal secured a well-deserved 3-3 draw against Melbourne City at C.B. Smith Reserve.

Richard Garcia’s men fell behind to Moudi Najarr’s early goal, but hit back swiftly to take the lead via Daniel Stynes’penalty and Ethan Brooks’ composed finish.

The goals then continued to flow during a breathless opening period as Rami Najarrine found the net to make it 2-2 before Najarr grabbed his second and City’s third.

The visitors piled on the pressure after the break, but looked set to come home empty-handed until Popovic converted from a corner to ensure the spoils would be shared.

And Garcia felt that his charges were good value for the point against a City side that came into the game knowing that a win would move them to within touching distance of the Grand Final.

“It was a decent display,” he said, “and although we had some lapses of concentration, I was very impressed by the boys’ willingness to stick at it and keep going and in the end we could have snatched the win.

“We definitely deserved something out of the game. We were on top in the second half and were nice and calm and composed which is what we asked for from the lads at half time.

“We ended up going down to ten men because of an injury, so the effort from everyone was fantastic.

“We’ve made good progress from the start of the season. There is still so much work to do with the guys, but they’ve come on nicely and the good thing is that they are all eager and engaged and want to get better.”

It was a clever backheel from Connor Metcalfe that released Najarr for City’s opener on 13 minutes, but Glory’s response was impressive as Stynes beat Ahmad Taleb from the spot and he then turned creator with an inch-perfect chipped through-ball for Brooks who rifled home an angled drive.

Metcalfe duly claimed another assist for Najarrine’s goal which brought the sides level after 25 minutes and that was followed by a fine turn and neat finish from the lively Najjar.

The visitors dominated for long periods after the break, however and moments after substitute Cameron Murray went close, Popovic buried a similar opportunity to make it 3-3.

The result moved Glory to third in the Conference A table having won three, lost three and drawn two of their eight games this term.

Match Details

Melbourne City 3 (Najjar 13′, 31′, Najarrine 25′) Perth Glory 3 (Stynes (pen) 16′, Brooks 20′, Popovic 90′)

Half-time: 3-2

Melbourne City: 42.Ahmad TALEB (gk) (40.Majak MAWITH 62′), 41.Mitchell GRAHAM, 36.Dylan PIERIAS, 43.Lucas PORTELLI, 45.Mark KARLIC, 51.Idrus ABDULAHRI (47.Luke DUZEL 61′), 38.Joshua CAVALLO, 34.Connor METCALFE, 30.Moudi NAJARR, 55.Stefan COLLAKOVSKI, (37.Gianluca IANNUCCI 61′) 39.Ramy NAJARRINE (53.Nicholas HATZIGEORGIOU 75′)

Substitutes not used: None

Yellow cards: Graham, Najjar

Red cards: Nil

Perth Glory: 19. Nicholas SPECA (gk),  2. Daniel WALSH, 3.Nicholas WALSH, 4. Kristian POPOVIC, 5.Henry HORE (C),6.Jayden LEADER (15.Cameron MURRAY 46′), 7. Ethan BROOKS (14. Walter SCOTT 46′), 8. Trent OSTLER, 9. Jaidon SELDEN, 10. Jacob ITALIANO (16.Aidan EDWARDS 46′), 11. Daniel STYNES

Substitutes not used: 1. Jackson LEE (gk)

Yellow cards: Murray, Popovic

Red cards: Nil