I had some really high hopes for Daniel Sturridge when he announced that he was joining Perth Glory. It took up all the talk…
Second-half goals to Brandon O’Neill and Bruno Fornaroli have given Perth Glory a 2-1 A League Men win over Sydney FC.
Glory captain and former Sydney FC midfielder Brandon O’Neill gave the visitors a 55th minute lead on Saturday, when he slotted the ball home after goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne pushed out a shot from Jack Clisby.
Bruno Fornaroli doubled their advantage at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium by lashing a shot into the net in the 85th minute.
Sydney got a goal back in added time as Anthony Caceres scored from a penalty after substitute Mustafa Amini was fouled by O’Neill.
“Tonight they played not only with their bodies but with their brains and managed the game very well and managed themselves very well,” Garcia said.
With the WA government this week changing their decision not to reopen their border on February 5, Glory, who haven’t played a home game since November, now face an indefinite amount of time away from home.
“It’s been a very tough few months and it’s fantastic to see their resilience as a group, their togetherness is pulling them through times that are difficult,” Garcia said.
The win lifted Perth four spots to eighth and Sydney stayed sixth.
At the 63 minute mark and with his team clinging to a 1-0 lead, Garcia made a daring double substitution by introducing two strikers in former England striker Daniel Sturridge and Republic of Ireland international Andy Keogh.
“We started to get on the back foot and I thought if I bought the strikers on it might actually get us back on the front foot so it was good we capitalised on that and we got another goal,” Garcia said.
Sturridge, who has yet to start and has made three cameo appearances off the bench, looked lively and released Adrian Sardinero with a great pass, but the Spaniard’s close range attempt was blocked by Redmayne.
Garcia said it was another step in the right direction for the striker, who did appear to be struggling in the closing minutes.
“He said he had a bit of tightness so we’ll check that out,” Garcia said.
He was non-committal about Sturridge starting the next game, but suggested the star recruit needed to play 45 and 60 minute blocks before playing a full match.
Neither team showed much imagination, creativity or intensity in a turgid and dull first half.
“We spoke about at halftime to take more risks and make sure we were rewarding strikers good runs, I thought the second half they started to do that quite a bit more,” Garcia said.
The loss completed a miserable week for Sydney, who scored just one goal across three home games, losing an FFA Cup semi-final after being held at home by Brisbane.
“We didn’t take our opportunities when they came along,” Sydney coach Steve Corica said.
“Both (Perth) goals I’ve got to say that was poor defending, very sloppy and you can’t afford to do that.”