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Perth Glory have snatched their first win of the A-League Men season with Antonee Burke-Gilroy inspiring a 3-0 win over a 10-man Melbourne Victory.
Victory had Rai Marchan sent off late in the first half and little-known midfielder Burke-Gilroy’s brilliant long-range effort broke the deadlock in the 66th minute.
Burke-Gilroy then teed up Ciaran Bramwell for Perth’s second eight minutes later, with Bruno Fornaroli adding a third in the 88th minute at AAMI Park.
It was a professional performance from Perth, who are dealing with the uncertainty of more border restrictions potentially affecting their plans to return home.
“(I’m) very, very pleased with the group of guys who are going through an impossible situation,” Garcia said.
“Tonight, they showed their togetherness, their selflessness, the trust that they have in each other and they played like that. So it’s great to see.”
The undermanned Glory’s win was more impressive given the absences of captain Brandon O’Neill (personal), goalkeeper Brad Jones (calf), Daniel Sturridge (managed) and Andy Keogh (calf).
It was a dirty night for Victory, who dropped their first points under former Glory coach Tony Popovic and had defender Brendan Hamill (groin) forced off in the 13th minute.
“Everything that could go wrong went wrong,” Popovic said.
“But I can’t fault their effort.”
Victory were again without Roderick Miranda and Chris Ikonomidis (thigh).
The game was turned on its head just before halftime when Marchan stuck up a high boot as he went to contest the ball with Jonathan Aspropotamitis and caught the Perth defender high.
Referee Kurt Ams originally gave Marchan a yellow card but after a VAR review, upgraded that to a red.
Garcia felt it was a red card but Popovic was “disappointed” with the long time between the incident and the VAR review.
“The referee’s five metres away. I don’t think he could have been in a better position,” Popovic said.
“He gives a yellow for a reason. It’s exactly what he saw, he saw a yellow card. The players remonstrate, which was for quite a while.
“It always concerns me when it takes six or seven minutes before you go have a look at the VAR, so there is doubt.
“If there is doubt, then stick to your decision. If there’s no doubt, go over straight away, give him a red card and change it.”
After a dour first half, Perth struck when they played a short corner and Burke-Gilroy unleashed a fizzing, spinning left-footed strike that sped into the back of Ivan Kelava’s goal.
Eight minutes later, Burke-Gilroy whipped a tantalising ball towards the six-yard box, where Bramwell leapt highest to head home.
Late in the piece, Fornaroli smacked home a long-range strike to round out the win.