No Poppa, no problem for Wanderers

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    Wanderers caretaker coach Hayden Foxe oversaw an opening round A-League achievement even his illustrious predecessor never managed.

    A week after it was announced coach Tony Popovic was leaving the club, the Wanderers scored twice late in the first half at Spotless Stadium on Sunday to secure a 2-1 win over Perth.

    Embarking upon their sixth season, it was the first time the Wanderers had won an opening-round game.

    They should have wrapped the game up before the hour, but hung on at the end after Perth created several chances and pulled a goal back in the 82nd minute.

    There was much to like about the Wanderers, with new recruits Alvaro Cejudo, Oriol Riera and Roly Bonevacia prominent in several attractive moves.

    “It was an excellent performance in particular the first 65, 70 minutes, I thought were outstanding,” Foxe said.

    “I thought we played with so much energy and fluency, it was a real Wanderers’ performance.

    “The last 20 minutes we naturally sat a little bit deeper but we showed a real resilience as a team, a real hard-to-beat attitude from front to back.”

    Foxe made no secret he would love to be the Wanderers coach on a permanent basis.

    “How couldn’t you? To me it’s the best club in Australia,” Foxe said.

    He had to wait 43 minutes for a goal, with Spanish striker Riera pouncing on a through ball from compatriot Cejudo.

    Japan’s Jumpei Kusukami was equally clinical in the one minute of added time when he was released by Brendan Hamill.

    Glory coach Kenny Lowe was pleased with the character his side showed, but disappointed with the goals conceded.

    “I thought we had enough opportunities second half to maybe pinch something out of it.” Lowe said.

    “In both instances (their goals) they’ve been gifted stuff. They’ve worked it hard for better chances to score.”

    The Wanderers could have doubled their halftime lead within seven minutes of the resumption, but Cejudo and Riera couldn’t capitalise on close-range chances.

    Perth surged back into the game, with striker Adam Taggart hitting the post and crossbar in the space of two minutes and Wanderers goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic making a number of saves.

    They finally got on the scoreboard when an header from skipper Andy Keogh deflected off Hamill and into the net.

    © AAP 2017