17 May 2019 16:01
Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic hopes a heaving home crowd will help his team get over the line in tonight's semi-final clash with Adelaide. The veteran coach was impressed by the atmosphere Adelaide's fans created at Coopers Stadium, and he's hoping Glory fans can do the same at HBF Park. "Adelaide had their reward last week by playing at home, and their home fans really helped them across the line," Popovic said. "Now we get the same opportunity to have a huge crowd, and hopefully as happened for Adelaide, they can be that extra man so to speak that can help us get over the line." Perth Glory secured a place in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final 2019 after a dramatic 5-4 penalty shootout victory over Adelaide United. Perth custodian Liam Reddy made four crucial spot-kick saves and scored one himself, before Joel Chianese ended an epic shootout and sent Glory into their first Grand Final appearance since April 2012.
Handsome Perth Glory star Chris Ikonomidis and Zofia Bukala, a stunning Vivien's model, met only two months ago. Both are living away from their families: Ikonomidis is from Sydney while Bukala moved from Poland to Perth a year ago to study music and drama at John Curtin College of the Arts. Ikonomidis and Perth Glory will take on Adelaide United at HBF Park in the A-League semi-final at 6.30pm tonight. The victor will earn a spot in the grand final against the winner of Sunday's clash between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory. He's enjoying a golden season with the boot but it's A-League championship success that Perth Glory striker Andy Keogh is craving the most.
Keogh has only tasted one win in a final during his five seasons at Glory. His best shot at title success was in 2014/15, when Glory started the season in stunning fashion before they were stripped of their spot in the finals because of serious salary cap breaches. Popovic has taken less than one season to transform Glory into a title contender and Keogh is savouring the experience. Perth Glory have confirmed midfielder Neil Kilkenny has been sent for scans after picking up an ankle injury in training on Saturday. Results are expected on Monday with initial reports suggesting the 33-year-old could be set to miss Glory's semi-final on Friday night.
Glory will take on second-placed Sydney FC at Jubilee Stadium on Thursday night, before rounding out the regular season at home to Wellington. Popovic won the Premiers Plate in his first season at the Wanderers in 2012-13, but said he would allow himself to enjoy his one at Glory even more. "I probably didn't know how to enjoy that at that time," Popovic said. "To me, one of the top two teams at the end of the season proper should be in the grand final. "After 20 cherished years with Perth Glory, and in line with the portfolio review, the end of this final series will draw the partnership to a close," the spokesperson said.
"We wish them all the best for the finals and will continue to follow their fortunes with keen interest." QBE did, however, extend their sponsorship with the Sydney Swans last year - after the "portfolio review", it's understood - through to the end of the 2022 AFL season. "QBE have been fantastic for Perth Glory – through the good times and some not-so-good times and we really appreciate what they've done," chief executive Tony Pignata said. It's a lot of exposure for a potential sponsor, so that's exciting." Farewell feast Western Sydney Wanderers marquee Oriol Riera will almost certainly be playing his final game for the club this Saturday against Melbourne Victory and appeared to make a symbolic farewell to his teammates during the week. Credit:AAP Roar deal A broom is about to be put through the Brisbane Roar squad following the appointment of Robbie Fowler as their new coach, but some of the changes the English Premier League legend wants to make to the club will go beyond football. There could be plenty of empty seats at the A-League grand final if Sydney FC host the decider. Should premiers Perth Glory fail to reach the final and Sydney FC qualify as the top-ranked team, the decider will almost certainly take place at the 83,000-capacity venue in Olympic Park, despite it not including a drawcard opponent. The Sky Blues could only face Adelaide United, Wellington Phoenix or Melbourne City in a home grand final, none of which would likely draw significant away support. Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic hopes a heaving home crowd will help his team get over the line in Friday night's semi-final clash with Adelaide. Glory were awarded a bye in the first week of the A-League finals after finishing on top of the ladder. The veteran coach was impressed by the atmosphere Adelaide's fans created at Coopers Stadium, and he's hoping Glory fans can do the same at HBF Park. "Adelaide had their reward last week by playing at home, and their home fans really helped them across the line," Popovic said. "Now we get the same opportunity to have a huge crowd, and hopefully as happened for Adelaide, they can be that extra man so to speak that can help us get over the line." Glory received a huge boost on Thursday when star midfielder Neil Kilkenny was given the green light to play. Glory will start as hot favourites against Adelaide, who have had just five days break between games. Adelaide failed to score a single goal against Glory in their three regular-season match-ups. Glory twice won 2-0 at Coopers Stadium, with the only match in Perth ending in a 0-0 stalemate. Popovic said those past results wouldn't mean much come Friday night.