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Defenders lead the way as Glory topple Wanderers

Glory topple Wanderers

Goals from centre-backs Gregory Wuthrich and Alex Grant fired Glory to a deserved 2-0 victory over Western Sydney Wanderers at HBF Park.

Building upon last week's impressive away win at Melbourne City, Tony Popovic's men controlled the game for long periods and were rarely threatened after Wuthrich headed them into the lead with 18 minutes played.

Alex Grant then emulated his central defensive partner midway through the second half, firing home through a crowded box to make it 2-0, before racing over to The Shed to celebrate.

The win, Glory's first at home this season, lifted Tony Popovic's men to fifth on the ladder and the Head Coach was especially pleased for the home members and fans.

"It was nice to send the fans home happy given that they were tough conditions for them to come out in today," he said.

"We're delighted for our members and fans. It's another clean sheet, we defended in general play very well as a unit and I think that's improving.

"We looked solid and overall it was a good home result."

Despite the sweltering conditions, the game got off to a pulsating start as Wanderers' top-scorer Mitchell Duke clipped the top of Glory's bar with a curling effort from just outside the box.

The home side responded by creating a decent chance of their own, Chris Ikonomidis drawing a save from Nicholas Suman after meeting Ivan Franjic's cross with a diving header and moments later the Wanderers 'keeper was called into action again, this time to block an angled shot from Diego Castro.

Glory were not to be denied soon after, however, as Wuthrich bagged his first goal for the club.

Neil Kilkenny's corner was flicked on by Tomislav Mrcela to Bruno Fornaroli who hooked the ball back to the near post where Ikonomidis headed it against the bar, before the Swiss defender stooped to nod home the rebound.

Kilkenný's pinpoint set-piece delivery continued to trouble the Western Sydney defence as the half wore on, with Mrcela heading one of the midfielder's corners narrowly over shortly before the break.

The home side's first chance of the second half, meanwhile, fell to James Meredith who saw his fierce strike bravely blocked by the sliding Daniel Georgievski and the Glory defender then turned provider, whipping in a fine cross which Ikonomidis headed back across the face of goal and just wide of Suman's left post.

A second goal appeared to be coming for the men in purple and it duly arrived in the 67th minute, Jake Brimmer's free-kick eventually falling at the feet of Grant who controlled neatly with his first touch and drilled into the bottom corner with his second.

Liam Reddy was called into action to preserve Glory's two-goal advantage two minutes later, reacting sharply to block a close-range effort from substitute Alex Meier, but the hosts were rarely troubled after that as they closed out the game to make it back-to-back wins and back-to-back clean sheets.

Match Details
Perth Glory 2 (Wuthrich 18', Grant 67') Western Sydney Wanderers 0
Half-Time: 1-0

HBF Park
Attendance: 6177
Referee: Alex King
Assistant Referee 1: Josh Mannella
Assistant Referee 2: Arvin Shanmuganathan
Fourth Official: Adam Fielding
VAR: Craig Zetter

Perth Glory: 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 2.Alex GRANT, 4.Gregory WUTHRICH, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 8.James MEREDITH (3.Jacob TRATT 90+2'), 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 17.Diego CASTRO (c), 19.Chris IKONOMIDIS (7.Joel CHIANESE 76'), 27.JUANDE, 88.Neil KILKENNY (20.Jake BRIMMER 55')

Substitutes not used: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 12.Kim SOO-BEOM, 18.Nicholas D'AGOSTINO, 28.Gabriel POPOVIC

Yellow Cards: Franjic, Juande
Red Cards: None

Western Sydney Wanderers: 40.Nicholas SUMAN (gk), 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Matthew JURMAN, 7.Mitchell DUKE (c), 9.Nicolai MULLER, 11.Bruce KAMAU (14.Alex MEIER 46'), 17.Keanu BACCUS, 19.Pirmin SCHWEGLER (22.Nicholas SULLIVAN 79'), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 27.Kwame YEBOAH, 34.Patrick ZIEGLER

Substitutes not used: 1.Daniel LOPAR (gk), 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 13.Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS, 29.Daniel WILMERING, 35.Mohamed ADAM

Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None


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Glory's AFC Asian Champions League opponents confirmed

AFC Asian Champions League

Glory will face Chinese giants Shanghai Shenhua and Korean powerhouse Ulsan Hyundai in the club’s maiden AFC Asian Champions League appearance after the draw for the group stage of the competition was made at AFC House in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

The WA side have been drawn in Group F where they will also face the winner of Play-Off 3 between clubs representing Japan, Thailand, Philippines and Myanmar.

Glory's opening game will take place on Tuesday 11 February 2020 when Shanghai Shenhua will provide the opposition at HBF Park and club Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata is thrilled at the prospect.

"It's an exciting draw for the club," he said, "and it's fantastic to be a part of our first ever Asian Champions League campaign.

"We're all looking forward to the first home game against Shanghai and really hope that the people of Perth get on board.

"With the trips to China, Korea and possibly Japan to come, it's great to be a part of the world game in this way."

Glory will face each of the other three teams in their group at home and away, with the club's final game scheduled for Wednesday 6 May when Tony Popovic's men will host the Play-Off 3 winner.


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Dominant Glory swat City aside.

Bruno Fornaroli scored against his former club and Tomislav Mrcela grabbed his first Hyundai A-League goal as Glory returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Melbourne City at AAMI Park.

The Uruguayan, facing City for the first time since heading west earlier this year, headed home just before the half-hour mark and Glory's lead was doubled early in the second half when Harrison Delbridge diverted Greg Wuthrich's shot into his own net.

Mrcela duly made it 3-0, heading home Neil Kilkenny's pinpoint cross to add further gloss to a dominant display from the men in black and consign City to their first home defeat in over 12 months.

The win, their second on the road this season, took Glory into the top six of the Hyundai A-League ladder ahead of the rest of the weekend's games.

In-form City striker Jamie Maclaren provided the first goalmouth action of the game when he flicked Javier Cabrera's cross over the crossbar, before Diego Castro was similarly off-target at the other end having latched on to a scuffed clearance from Dean Bouzanis.

Glory were not to be denied in the 27th minute, however, as Fornaroli struck to give them the lead.

Juande's effort from the edge of the box looped into the air after taking a deflection and as it came down, Fornaroli out-muscled Delbridge to nod into the far corner.

James Meredith's cross was then nearly pushed into his own net by the rattled Bouzanis as Glory continued to ask questions of the City defence in the latter stages of the first half.

The visitors began the second half in the same vein and doubled their lead within three minutes of the re-start.

A deft touch from the impressive Neil Kilkenny allowed Castro to pull the ball back to the edge of the box for Wuthrich and the Swiss defender's low, angled drive was deflected into his own net via the post by Delbridge.

19 minutes from time the points were made safe as Mrcela rose highest in a crowded box to head powerfully past Bouzanis.

City could muster little in response in the latter stages, other than a well-struck effort from Connor Metcalfe which found the net but was ruled out for offside.

Match Details

Melbourne City 0 Perth Glory 3 (Fornaroli 27', Delbridge o.g. 48', Mrcela 71')

Half-time: 0-1

AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Shaun Evans
Assistant Referee 1: Owen Goldrick
Assistant Referee 2: George Lakrindis
Fourth Official: Lachlan Keevers
VAR: Kris Griffiths-Jones

Melbourne City: 23.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 2.Scott GALLOWAY (13.Nathaniel ATKINSON 78'), 3.Scott JAMIESON (c), 4.Harrison DELBRIDGE, 6.Josh BRILLANTE (20.Adrian LUNA 72'), 7.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 8.Javier CABRERA (19.Lachlan WALES 61'), 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 11.Craig NOONE, 22.Curtis GOOD, 34.Connor METCALFE

Substitutes not used: 1.Tom GLOVER (gk), 17.Denis GENREAU, 40.Richard WINDBICHLER, 49.Stefan COLAKOVSKI
Yellow Cards: Jamieson
Red Cards: None

Perth Glory: 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 2.Alex GRANT, 4.Gregory WUTHRICH, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 8.James MEREDITH, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI (20.Jake BRIMMER 87'), 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 17.Diego CASTRO (c), 19.Chris IKONOMIDIS (7.Joel CHIANESE 73'), 27.JUANDE, 88.Neil KILKENNY

Substitutes not used: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jacob TRATT, 12.Kim SOO-BEOM, 28.Gabriel POPOVIC
Yellow Cards: Juande
Red Cards: None


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Rigby named as new Glory Westfield W-League skipper


Perth Glory is delighted to confirm that Natasha Rigby has been appointed the club's new captain for the Westfield W-League 2019/20 Season.

The 26-year-old defender takes over the armband from Sam Kerr who confirmed her move to English club Chelsea on Wednesday.

Rigby, who hails originally from Margaret River, has made 39 appearances for Glory since debuting in 2016 and is thrilled by the prospect of leading her home-state side.

"It is an incredible honour and I am still pinching myself," she said.

"We have such a beautiful team and I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for this opportunity.

"It is absolutely heartbreaking to lose Sammy (Kerr), but she has an ocean of opportunities ahead of her and we will be cheering her on from afar.

"They are huge shoes to fill, but I have learned a lot from her over the last few years and I just want to focus on doing my part for the team.

"All I can do is lead by example, wear my heart on my sleeve and motivate the team to come together and do their best.

"We have some amazingly experienced players like Kim Carroll and Shannon May, so it will be vital to draw on their knowledge and expertise as well.

"We have a talented young team, everyone is very respectful, motivated and eager to make their mark and I'm looking forward to the season ahead."

Head Coach Bobby Despotovski, meanwhile, is confident that Rigby will prove to be an inspirational leader for what is a young squad.

"Tash came in as a State League pick-up and has never missed a beat since," he said.

"She's bubbly, team-orientated, takes everything in her stride and will do everything in her powers to lead the team.

"She's a very happy, positive person and we need someone like that to help take our younger players to the next level."

Those sentiments were echoed by Perth Glory CEO, Tony Pignata.

"Natasha has been a key member of our Westfield W-League squad on and off the field ever since she joined the club in 2016," he said.

"She has developed into an accomplished player and leader and someone who represents Glory’s core values superbly through her words and actions.

"She thoroughly deserves this honour and will lead our playing group with pride, distinction and a smile on her face."


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Romero returns for more Glory


Perth Glory is delighted to confirm that defender Arianna Romero has joined the club for the Westfield W-League 2019/20 Season (subject to international clearance).

The Mexican international is no stranger to Glory members and fans having spent the 2016/17 season with the club, during which she made 14 appearances as Bobby Despotovski's side reached the Grand Final.

A resolute, ball-playing centre-back, Romero boasts extensive experience in the US National Women's Soccer League with both Washington Spirit and Houston Dash and has also plied her trade in Iceland and Norway.

Now 27, she cannot wait to return to Glory and help the club in its efforts to emulate last year's successful campaign.

"When I was in Perth two years ago, I felt as though we made a lot of strides as a team and I evolved as a defender," she said.

"I’m looking forward to getting back to work, reuniting with my teammates, coaches and fans and working towards our goal of bringing a championship to Perth.

"With a lot of new talent coming through the W-League this season, I personally can’t wait to compete and work everyday to reach our goals.

"I’ve been itching to get back to soccer after a short off-season, so I can’t wait to meet the squad and to get the season started."

Glory Head Coach Bobby Despotovski is thrilled to have a player of Romero's experience and ability at his disposal once again.

"Ari knows our system, the majority of our players and absolutely loves Perth," he said, "so she is a great fit.

"She is second to none in the stability she brings at centre-back and we know what she can deliver in terms of passing out from the back.

"Ari is also a natural leader, which will be especially important in what is a young group this year."


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