2018/19 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Jamie Maclaren (26', 35' PEN)
  • Joel Chianese (84')
  • Diego Castro (90'+1')

Diego Castro stunner completes superb Perth comeback against Melbourne

Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce admitted the dramatic 2-2 draw with leaders Perth at AAMI Park felt more like a loss after the home side had squandered a two-goal half time lead.

A Jamie Maclaren brace had City on the verge of a morale-boosting win in front of the 7746 fans who braved the Sunday evening heat.

But substitute Joel Chianese set up a tense finale when he pulled one back for the visitors six minutes from time, with Diego Castro breaking City hearts with a wonderful strike from well outside the box in the 91st minute.

"They will do [feel like it's a loss], we all do, but there's a lot of positives in the game," Joyce replied when asked about the mood in the dressing room.

"I think the players put a fantastic amount of effort in but they're disappointed not to get the three points because I think they deserved them.

"A worldly strike at the end gets them a point when I think we controlled it well in the first half."

The result means City have won just once in their past nine matches, a run that has upped the pressure on Joyce's position.

All three points were there for the taking after Maclaren brilliantly headed past Glory keeper Liam Reddy in the 26th minute and converted from the penalty spot with 35 minutes gone after a contentious Shane Lowry handball.

Maclaren equalled an A-League record after he found the net in his fourth game for his new club, having scored in each of his first three since signing from Scottish club Hibernian in the January transfer window.

Stung into action, the Glory attacked in waves after the restart, perhaps emboldened by some deep City defending.

But City stopper Eugene Galekovic carried on where he left off after an impressive first half, superbly denying Andy Keogh from point-blank range.

With Perth dominating possession, it came as no surprise when Chianese headed home a Chris Ikonomidis cross.

As brilliant as Castro's strike was, Galekovic blotted his copybook in failing to account for a ball that sailed over his head.

The result stretched the Glory's unbeaten run to 12 games and maintained their undefeated record this season away from Perth.

"We weren't at our fluent best in the first half, they contained us well and we looked a little flat," coach Tony Popovic said.

"We didn't play at our best but we still created chances and that always gives you confidence with this team.

"In the second half, we totally dominated and I believe it was just reward."