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2018/19 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Joel Chianese (13', 24')
  • Brendon Santalab (45'+3')
  • Adam Le Fondre (68')

Perth Glory extend A-League lead with win over Sydney FC

Perth Glory went six points clear at the top of the A-League after crushing Sydney FC 3-1 in a blockbuster at HBF Park.

Glory led 3-0, courtesy of Joel Chianese's brace and Brendon Santalab's first goal of the season, by halftime on Wednesday night.

Sydney striker Adam le Fondre pulled one back in the 68th minute with a stunner from outside the box, but the visitors' surge was too late.

The result snapped Glory's nine-game losing streak against Sydney in the league. But more importantly, it lifted Glory six points clear of both Sydney and Melbourne Victory in the race for the Premiers' Plate. Victory suffered a shock 2-0 loss to Adelaide earlier in the day.

"We started very slowly. To concede three goals in the first half is very disappointing," Sydney coach Steve Corica said. "I thought we played much better in the second half. But it's difficult to come back once you're 3-0 down at half-time."

Perth coach Tony Popovic felt the first half was probably his team's best of the season.

"It was great intensity, great football, disciplined defensively. It was just an all-round great 45 minutes," Popovic said. "I'm glad they got what they deserved - three goals."

Sydney entered the match having posted six wins and a draw from their past seven trips to the West Australian capital. But their hosts showed little fear against their bogey team, unleashing a powerful first-half display that blew their rivals off the park in front of 9,521 adoring fans.

The destruction started in the 13th minute when a clever one-two between Jason Davidson and Diego Castro broke open Sydney's defence. Chianese then thrust out his leg to poke home Davidson's cross.

The visitors protested against the 28-year-old's second goal in the 24th minute, claiming the speedy attacker handled the ball before scoring. Chianese did well to control Neil Kilkenny's long ball with his chest, but Sydney players felt the ball touched Chianese's arm when it bounced up again.

Sydney were left reeling in the third minute of first-half stoppage time when a defensive turnover allowed Santalab to pounce for his first goal in Glory colours.

Popovic made a whopping six changes to his starting lineup in a bid to rest players during the busy period.

Juande, Castro, and Matthew Spiranovic were among the ins, while Santalab earned his first start of the year in place of Andy Keogh.

Keogh, who could be part of a direct swap for Melbourne City attacker Bruno Fornaroli, was named on the bench and came on for Santalab in the 64th minute.