Glory in Top Four Cup Final
Report by Ryan Borrett
Perth Glory booked their place in the McInerney Ford Top Four Cup Final next Saturday after they defeated Perth SC 4-2 on penalties following a dramatic match that ended 3-3 after extra time.
The Azzurri led 2-1 and looked like they would be heading to the final until Glory equalised in the 89th minute when Michael Domfeh headed in from a corner to take the match to extra time.
Domfeh gave Glory the lead in the first period of stoppage time before Paul Zimarino scored his second in the final minute of extra time to send the match to a penalty shoot out.
Goalkeeper Jackson Lee was the hero for Glory after making two saves in the shoot out to deny Perth and get some return after letting the NPL WA title slip to the Azzurri on the final day last weekend.
Glory coach John Gibson praised his players’ efforts after last week’s disappointment.
“Credit to them after the position we were in after last week to come together and perform like they did today,” he said.
“We had to do it the hard way, and you run out of superlatives after Perth kept coming back all the time.
“We didn’t talk about redemption or anything, all we spoke about was putting the best week forward and keep on improving.”
Glory’s triumph meant yet another loss on penalties for Perth SC and coach Ramon Falzon, who was frustrated with the result but said it was an exciting contest between two top sides.
“It is very disappointing because in the Night Series we got to the final without losing then lost on penalties, and in the FFA Cup penalties as well,” he said.
“It was a back and forth game and it was probably the best game I’ve seen this year, both teams created a lot of chances.
“When we had the 2-1 lead, we should have defended that corner better to avoid extra time.”
Perth SC’s Zimarino, who was the Azzurri’s hero of the second half of the NPL WA season, opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a brilliant curling strike from outside the box after finding a yard of space in between oncoming Glory defenders.
Glory struggled early on in the match but came into the game more as the half progressed and equalised in the 37th minute after Domfeh found Chok Dau in the box who finished well to make it 1-1.
Perth SC regained the lead early in the second half after Matthew Milenkovic got onto a loose ball before firing a shot at Glory keeper Lee. who got gloves to the shot but couldn’t keep the effort out.
It looked like the Azzurri would be piling on more disappointment for Glory before Henry Hore delivered an 89th minute corner into the box. Domfeh outjumped his markers at the far post and fired a powerful header into the bottom corner to make it 2-2 and take the game to extra time.
The tired legs of both teams took to the field once more and it was the Glory who found the first breakthrough in the 102nd minute.
Substitute Aiden Edwards won the ball on the left wing before finding Domfeh in the box. The striker turned his marker and curled a shot to the far post past Francis Soale to make it 3-2 to the away side.
But the Azzurri weren’t finished yet, and in the last minute of the second half of extra time Milenkovic broke down the right wing and cut back a low cross that found Zimarino, who had a tap in to make it 3-3 and take the game to penalties.
Falzon said of Zimarino: “Paul has had a fantastic season and he always seems to score the important goals.”
Both sides looked exhausted after 120 minutes of end-to-end football but the match was to be decided from the penalty spot.
Hore and Domfeh converted the first two spot kicks for the Glory, as did Harley Orr and Nicholas Ambrogio for Perth SC.
Gomo Dukuly’s penalty was saved by Soale but Milenkovic’s third penalty for Perth was also saved brilliantly by Lee.
Walter Scott converted the fourth for the Glory before Lee made another great save to deny Adrian Madaschi.
Dau stepped up to win the shoot out for the Glory and didn’t disappoint, finishing well to the bottom left to send his side through to their first ever final.
Gibson said of reaching the final: “Our process and program really don’t change, but we’ll enjoy the moment and we probably deserve the moment as well.”
Perth SC have another chance in the Top Four Cup as they will play Cockburn City on Tuesday to decide who will face Glory in the final on Saturday.
Perth SC 3 (Zimarino 13min, 119, Milenkovic 50)
Perth Glory 3 (Dau 37, Domfeh 89, 102)
(Perth Glory win 4-2 on penalties)
Saturday, September 1
Perth SC: 1. Francis SOALE, 2. Alex SILLA, 5. Niccolo SABATINI (10. Nicholas AMBROGIO 83), 6. Harley ORR, 8. Tom KING (4. Adrian MADASCHI 116), 9. Gustavo CATARCIONE (7. Aleksander JOVIC 96), 11. Matthew MILENKOVIC, 12. Jordan DE LEO, 13. Rocco PIZZATA, 14. Kristan SANTICH, 20. Paul ZIMARINO
Unused substitutes: 16. Kieran COLWELL, 23. Malek KUC
Yellow cards: Orr 59, Silla 97
Red cards: Nil
Perth Glory: 20. Jackson LEE, 3. Sam RIAK, 4. Daniel WALSH, 5. Walter SCOTT, 6. Jack LEECH (12. Aiden EDWARDS 85), 7. Chok DAU, 8. Henry HORE, 9. Michael DOMFEH, 10. Michael McDOUGALL (13. Gomo DUKULY 79), 11. Yacoub MUSTAFA, 16. Zayd FARAH
Unused substitutes: 14. Nic McDONALD, 15. Jordan ABRAHAMS, 30. Nicholas SPECA
Yellow cards: Farah 90, Lee 115
Red cards: Nil