Perth Glory called upon the city to ‘Pack the Park’ ahead of their season opener; and they did not disappoint.
The atmosphere was absolutely electric, as a sold out crowd of 17,198 piled in to HBF Park to cheer on the Glory and to welcome Daniel Sturridge to Western Australia, but they were rewarded by an incredibly shaky performance from the home team.
Whether it was a case of new season nerves, a bit of ring rust or feeling the weight of expectation the Glory struggled to settle and it allowed Adelaide to dominate much of the opening half hour, the Reds taking a thoroughly deserved lead through Kusini Yengi.
Fan favourite Bruno Fornaroli finally gave the supporters something to cheer about on the 40th minute mark, defeating James Delianov with a truly spectacular strike to send the two sides into the sheds on an even keel.
Adelaide came out all guns blazing and looked to have regained an early lead, only to see their goal chalked off for a foul in the build up.
Perth appeared to strike back instantaneously, Antonee Burke-Gilroy drifting inside to smash one home, only to see that one ruled off after an agonisingly long VAR decision.
This was a sign of things things to come, with the second half proving plenty of end to end action.
The introduction of youngster Daniel Stynes and new signing Sardinero provided a real boost and Perth really began to dominate proceedings towards the end but Garcia’s men were unable to find a way a winner.
Still, the late introduction of a certain Daniel Sturridge gave the crowd plenty to cheer about.
The sell out crowd were truly superb tonight.
The Perth supporters came out in force, creating a truly electric atmosphere at HBF Park and singing all night long.
Sadly, it’ll be some time before we get to see the sight and sounds of a packed park, as Perth embark on a run of eight consecutive games on the road.
Will Garcia and his men rue the missed chance to capitalise on this home advantage?
‘EL TUNA’ LOOKS FRESH
Perth Glory looked to overhaul their attacking end during the off-season’ with the arrival of Marquee signing Daniel Sturridge, Spanish striker Adrian Sardinero and winger Pacifique Niyongabire all arriving at the club.
But Fornaroli demonstrated tonight that he certainly isn’t prepared to step aside for anyone, his stunning strike capping off a brilliant performance from the 34-year-old Argentine.
The iconic broadcaster may no longer be the home of the ‘Global Game’ in Australia, but A-League fans got their first, albeit brief, glimpse of a new SBS; the Glory strike force of Sturridge, Bruno Fornaroli and Sardinero.
Sturridge only made a small cameo, but the Spanish striker looked incredibly lively on his debut; combining well with Fornaroli and adding a real lift following his introduction from the bench.
A-League Men Round One, HBF Park
Perth Glory 1 (Fornaroli, 40m)
Adelaide United 1 (Yengi, 22m)
HOW DID THE MANAGERS REACT?
Adelaide United: Carl Veart
“We just couldn’t get the ball in the net… we did everything but that… created some great opportunities and pretty much had control of the game for large parts.”
“I’m still a little bit unsure why our second goal was ruled off at the other end. I’d like to see the replay one that one. I don’t know what the free kick was for, it looked like a good goal, but I’d like to see the replay on that one.”
Perth Glory: Richard Garcia
“It was a difficult game. We looked like a team that hadn’t had a game since last season, but they worked their way in to it.”
“[Fornaroli was] Fantastic. Led from the front, a real leader, he works hard for the team, he scores, he does everything for the team. There’s a reason he’s been here for a while and why he’s one of the best players in the league.”
Image source: Perth Glory