Perth Glory are still alive in this season’s A-League series finals thanks to a first-half strike from Joel Chianese that broke Wellington Phoenix hearts in their 1-0 victory at the Western Sydney Stadium.
- The Glory’s Joel Chianese scored the only goal of the elimination final in the 18th minute
- The Phoenix lacked attacking threats up forward against the Glory
- The Glory will next face Sydney FC in the semi-finals
The Glory’s win means they will tackle premiers Sydney FC in a grand-final rematch on Wednesday in the semi-final stage.
While the Phoenix dominated periods of the elimination final, their lack of firepower in front of goal led to their undoing.
The third-placed Phoenix had reason to be confident against the Glory after defeating last season’s grand finalists a month ago.
But they suffered a blow with regular centre-back Luke DeVere ruled out with a groin strain causing a defensive reshuffle.
Phoenix goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic made an athletic one-handed stop on the goal line to prevent Chianese from forcing a loose ball from a corner over the line.
But the Glory forward would not be denied on 18 minutes with a neat, low finish from the edge of the area that beat Marinovic.
Phoenix dangerman Ulises Davila saw a goal-bound free kick fisted away by Liam Reddy, but the New Zealanders were rarely able to turn their territorial dominance into clear-cut chances.
Tony Popovich’s men slowed their opponent’s momentum after the restart though the Phoenix came close to an equaliser through a Rene Piscopo strike.
Jaushua Sotirio should have pulled his side level with 15 minutes remaining but stabbed his close-range effort wide after Callan Elliot’s fine run and cut-back.
With just a minute remaining, David Ball saw his effort hit the crossbar and that brought a disappointing end to the Phoenix campaign.