Perth Glory v Adelaide United at CBF Park. Well that’s what it feels like right now because after 90 minutes + extra time + penalties in what was at least an hour of full dramatisation, I cbf.
Adelaide were the ones to start off like the better side. Very concerning. The team who have struggled to score all season, played 120 minutes only four days ago against the team who could score 6 with their eyes closed and had a rest last week. Just f*cking fantastic.
For everyone not currently on the pitch, it was a thrilling opening to the match. Adelaide dominating, Glory forced to work for it. Just some really exciting stuff out there.
A tale of Adelaide United’s season, the better team but fail to score. It’s Diego Castro for the Perth Glory who opens the scoring. It was practically in slow motion as the United defence were a bunch of training cones. Ikonomidis sees Castro chasing up the right, passes on to the Spanish man as though not a single other person is in sight. Diego Castro, on an angle, puts it past Paul Izzo at the near post to give the Glory the lead.
After the goal, the reds as per usual when conceded, dropped their heads a little. However rather than Glory kicking them while they’re down, they too slowed down the tempo making it a boring as f*ck game for everyone involved.
The second half kicked off as batshit boring as the first finished. F*cking fantastic.
Praise the football Gods for the excitement injected back into this game when Diego Castro got his brace in the 74th minute. Again Ikonomidis to a very open Castro (like really guys?!) who confuses Galloway easily to find the back of the net with an unavoidable deflection from Paul Izzo and makes it 2-0. The Shed goes wild.
Each and every person was rubbing their hands together, it’s a Perth Grand Final, it’s done. Even myself, I found myself struggling to maintain faith for a bit. But I could see just something in the reds. There is something about the way they play when you know they haven’t given up. To me, it’s very obvious.
Only 6 minutes after Castro’s second goal, substitute and United’s lord and saviour, Baba Diawara finds the back of the net amongst a kerfuffle in the area. With similarities to a pinball machine, the ball just could not find itself out of the box and was constantly forced back in by barriers. Fortunately for the meme’s, Diawara was there to slot it home.
We’re not going home without a f*cking fight.
We hold on with glimpses of ‘just a little behind, still good still good’.
The fourth offical tells us there will be four minutes of stoppage time added. Four minutes. Excellent. A lot can happen in four minutes (dirty jokes aside).
In the 92nd minute, man was I screaming. I can’t tell you how many times I said ‘FOOOOORRRRRWWWWAAARDDD’ and ‘THIS IS NO TIME FOR TIKI TAKA’. 93rd minute, Paul Izzo runs up for a corner, man what a sight that would be if he scored. Doesn’t eventuate to anything.
93rd minute and 54 seconds. I shit you not. A headed clearance falls at Kitto’s feet who’s waiting inside the box. He maintains composure, who knows if he could even think, see what he was doing at this point, he just did. Kitto shoots straight and low. It’s in. IT’S IN THE BACK OF THE NET. REDDY LOOKS BEHIND HIM LIKE WHAT THE F*CK JUST HAPPENED. THE ENTIRE TEAM SPRINT OVER TO THE TRAVELLING FANS IN THE NEAR CORNER. I DON’T KNOW HOW I DIDN’T BREAK MY LAPTOP.
This, I believe, is all Marco Kurz’s doing. From the moment he took over, the reds became a lot more disciplined and were noticeably fitter. Kosmina even pointed it out on the Fox panel and he was spot on – Many people criticised Kurz’s intense training technique but here in Australia they don’t train enough. Even when talking to Adelaide United’s High Performance Coach back when Kurz initially arrived, he told us how much he loved working the lads that hard and how it’s making them all much better players. Two years on and look where they are.
Now let’s catch our breath because holy crap I’m gonna need a cigarette. And I don’t even smoke.
Extra time started exactly how we expected and to be honest, hoped it would. It took a good 5 minutes or so for anyone on the park to figure out they were actually on the park. That’s right reds, you gotta do this God damn 120 minutes again, four days later. RIP your quads.
Jason Davidson again brings the Perth Glory in front with a pass to Scott Neville’s head. Scott Neville who loves scoring against the reds in finals, finds the back of the net. 11 minutes later it’s Adelaide’s turn to once again equalise. I mean at this point, it’s feeling very stock standard. This time Ryan Kitto finds Michael Marrone’s head who in quite a similar fashion to Neville, finds the back of the net.
We’re going to f*cking penalties. My heart rate was so high I could not stop coughing. I was yelling, I was screeching, I genuinely thought I was going to be sick.
I was pretty confident. Paul Izzo has been performing extremely well the last few games and Liam Reddy is Liam Reddy. Nah he’s alright, occasionally makes an error that makes us say wot but overall, has proven himself and is deserving of at least one A-League final in his lifetime.
Craig Goodwin is the first one to step up. F*ck I love this bloke. He knows how to step up in big games. Without fail, he slots it home and give the reds the lead. No stress for the Glory as Juande buries the Glory’s first pen.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you about every goal/save because not only am I concerned for my health but there was that many I’m going to run out of space.
Castro was the second Glory player to step up. Two goals in regular time, Castro got this, right? No bueno. Paul Izzo with one of the most exciting saves of his career to deny Diego. There must be something in the churros because next to be denied is none other than Señor Isaias making it 3-2 on pens.
Liam Reddy decides to take one for himself because he’s all full of confidence. And why the hell not. Liam Reddy scores! There’s something you don’t see every day. Both Halloran and Brimmer step up to bury their shots and we’re on 4-4. Next goal wins.
It now turns (more so) into battle of the keepers. Unbelievably the next 5 shots are saved. Absolutely crazy scenes. By this point I had practically walked into a different room of my apartment twice over, including the balcony for air. I just had to walk. I didn’t know where. Hell I’m lucky I didn’t find myself sitting by the river by the end of pens.
Chianese steps up. I’ve just sat (on the ground clenching onto the side of my bed cos that’s normal) there watching 3 of my team’s players’ spot kick saved. My heart rate was dangerously high. I sat there saying ‘he’s got this, he’s got this, we’re done’ mind you at the previous one when Konstandopoulos stepped up I was saying ‘he’s got this, we’ve got this’ so by this point my emotions were nuts.
Chianese steps up. It’s in the back of the net. Perth Glory have a home final next weekend against either Sydney FC or Melbourne Victory.
Perth Glory all along, all season, were the deserving team. There is no one who deserves to win the Grand Final more. But that’s the thing, it’s all about who shows up on the day.
This one though, this was a hard one. Many people wrote the reds off. There was only about 5 minutes, if that, where I wasn’t sure we could actually do it. I kept the faith the entire 90. Plus 30. Plus what felt like an infinite amount of time on penalties. The 1-0 scoreline, that’s what did it. It was very un-like Perth Glory to only be leading 1-0. We were still in the game. Regardless of the 30 minutes between the first goal and midway through the second half where we played like absolute shit. Perth Glory weren’t exactly capitalising on our mistakes. Recently we’ve been very predictable and they just did not predict and well, made life harder for themselves.
I really do hope Perth Glory can go all the way and bring it home. But for now, I will mourn.
By Rose Valente