Sydney FC slumped to its third straight clean sheet loss, though this week there was blame for more than just the players. A missed offside call early in the first half led to a Perth Glory penalty and what ultimately served as the match-winner from Steven McGarry. The 1-0 win at the nib Stadium lifts Alistair Edwards' side to second place and leaves Sydney in the bottom four.
The sequence in question came from a Jamie Maclaren cross with Ryo Nagai streaking into the box. The Japanese attacker slipped just past the last defender when the ball was struck before trying to chest the ball down in the area. Vedran Janjetovic leapt to punch the ball away but instead crashed into Nagai, who had already cleanly chested the ball. The goalkeeper was given a yellow card and Perth a penalty. McGarry converted and much to Frank Farina's consternation, the Glory went ahead in the ninth minute.
Farina, who is on the ropes at Sydney after such a poor start, ranted about the referee in the post game press conference, as quoted in the Daily Telegraph:
"It's not good enough. Days like this you wish you were playing rugby league or rugby union where those things won't happen [because of replay technology]. But unfortunately in our game it does and it's not the first time this season in four rounds. Not just for us, but for other teams.
"The people that are not involved on that square, [where players] are actually playing and combatting, are deciding how games go. For me, that's a sad indictment of where we're heading. People will say 'you're bitching and you're complaining,' but we're in a massive business, a massive industry, where a lot of money is poured into not only the league but into teams.
"If you're going to have people that are semi-professional determining results of this massive industry where a lot of money is being spent, that to me is wrong and it's sad and it has to be looked at. Unfortunately that guy goes back to his job mid-week and then he'll get another game next week."
Speaking of money, Alessandro Del Piero made his return from injury as a second half substitute and was effective in his twenty-seven minutes on the pitch. In fact, the Italian superstar did score in injury time but ironically it was called off due to Yairo Yau being offside. For the Glory, the game also marked the return of a key player as Shane Smeltz played for the first time this season. Like Del Piero, he came on mid-way through the second half but unlike Sydney's star, Smeltz will not be with his team in the coming weeks as he departs for New Zealand duty in the World Cup qualifying playoff against Mexico.
The Glory escaped with a win in a game where they were not at their best, thanks in part to the penalty and some strong goalkeeping from the always reliable Danny Vukovic. His save on Matt Thompson's 83rd minute shot was the highlight as Perth have recorded three consecutive clean sheets and rocket up the ladder.
Next up for Perth is a trip across the ditch to face Wellington Phoenix at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Saturday November 9. Sydney will once again try to regroup, this time with a home game at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday November 9 against rivals Melbourne Victory.
PER McGarry (pen) 9'
Perth Glory: Vukovic; Jamieson, Thwaite, Pantelidis, Davies; Nagai (Smeltz 70'), McGarry, Burns; Sidnei (De Silva 71'), R. Edwards; Maclaren (C. Edwards 64')
Unused subs: Duncan, O'Neill
Sydney FC: Janjetovic; Warren (Naumoff 63'), Petkovic, Thiago, Ryall; Chianese (Yau 66'), Carle (Del Piero 63'), Thompson; Abbas, Emerton; Garcia
Unused subs: Necevski, Jurman