Perth Glory are through to the Westfield FFA Cup semi-finals after a pulsating 4-2 extra-time win over a nine-man Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night.
In a classic Cup tie which had a bit of everything, the Glory progressed after substitutes Daniel De Silva and Nebojsa Marinkovic both scored in the extra 30 minutes.
The visitors took an early lead through Fahid Ben Khalfallah before two goals to Andy Keogh looked to have settled the result for the Glory.
But Gui Finkler produced a stunning free-kick two minutes into stoppage time to send the match to extra-time where all the drama started with two more goals and red cards to Victory pair Adrian Leijer and Daniel Georgievski.
Glory join Central Coast Mariners, Adelaide United and Bentleigh Greens in the Westfield FFA Cup semi-final draw on Friday night.
0-1 Ben Khalfallah (8’) – Victory won possession deep in Glory’s half, with Jesse Makarounas laying off to the Tunisian who took one touch before unleashing a swerving shot from all of 30 metres which gave Danny Vukovic no chance.
1-1 Keogh (15’) – The home side were awarded a contentious penalty for a slight tug on Youssef Hersi by Leigh Broxham. Keogh sent Nathan Coe the wrong way, coolly slotting it into the corner.
2-1 Keogh (82’) – Scott Jamieson swung a teasing corner to the far post where Keogh was waiting unmarked to head home from close range.
2-2 Finkler (90+2’) – With time almost up Finkler was presented with a chance from a free-kick on the left-hand side about 25 metres from goal. And the Brazilian delivered curling a sublime effort around the wall and past Vukovic into the far corner of the net.
3-2 De Silva (103’) – The home side produced a clinical counter-attack after a Victory corner, streaming forward in numbers with Keogh finding an unmarked De Silva. The youngster took a touch into the box before driving it past Coe with a clinical finish.
4-2 Marinkovic (111’) – Keogh raced clear after springing the offside trap, getting into the box before unselfishly cutting the ball back to Marinkovic to slam it home.
While he was kept fairly well in check for most of the first half, the loss of Besart Berisha to injury just before the break was a huge blow to Melbourne Victory. Without the Albanian, who scored a hat-trick in the Melbourne derby last weekend, the visitors lacked an attacking focal point and the Glory took advantage
Finkler’s scored a couple of brilliant free-kicks in his time in the Hyundai A-League but none better than the one that sent the contest to extra-time. His strike had power and precision and was far too good for a fully-stretched Vukovic.
With his side already weary with the match in extra-time, the last thing the Victory needed was to go down to 10-men. After picking up a booking in the first half, Georgievski should have known better than to dive in on Scott Jamieson and his mis-timed challenge saw him giving his marching orders and handed the initiative to the Glory.
The Victory suffered a blow before kick-off with Archie Thompson injuring his left hamstring in the warm-up. It got worse for the visitors late in the first half as Berisha was forced off with a groin problem, while Mathieu Delpierre limped off late with a hamstring strain. A second game in four days obviously didn’t help the trio who must be in doubt for the club’s Hyundai A-League clash with Wellington Phoenix on Monday night.
THE FINAL WORD
The Glory bounced back to form in strong fashion to ensure they are in the draw for the semi-finals and it will give them plenty of confidence and aid their recovery for the visit of Newcastle Jets in just three days’ time. Victory will be disappointed to have bowed out despite taking an early lead but their focus will be on getting the fitness right of Berisha, Thompson and Delpierre. Suspensions for Leijer and Georgievski won’t help their cause either. A disastrous night for the Big V all-round.
Perth Glory: Vukovic (GK), Risdon, Djulbic, Thwaite, Jamieson, Hersi (Marinkovic 91’), Griffiths (Ferreira 76’), Nichols, Garcia (De Silva 80’), Keogh, Maclaren
Melbourne Victory: Coe (GK), Georgievski, Leijer, Delpierre (Mahazi 88’), Murnane, Milligan, Broxham, Makarounas (Finkler 64’), Barbarouses, Berisha (Nabbout 44’), Ben Khalfallah
Red cards: Georgievski (99’), (Leijer 112’)
Yellow cards: Leijer (11’ and 112’), Georgievski (25’ and 99’), Nichols (29’), Hersi (31’), Griffiths (34’), Ferreira (110’)
Conditions: 21C, Dry