Glory to meet Phoenix in elimination final
Perth Glory will face Wellington Phoenix in their A-League elimination final this Saturday after the regular season was completed on Wednesday night.
With Melbourne City defeating Western United 3-1 at Nestrata Jubilee Stadium, the Phoenix maintain third spot on the table to set up a second meeting with the Glory in Sydney since the competition restart, while United will play Brisbane Roar in their first ever final in what is their inaugural season.
Tony Popovic’s side finished sixth on the table after 26 games, with a ten win, nine loss and seven draws record for the 2019/20 campaign, having lost their last two games and four of their six upon resumption.
Captain Diego Castro chose not to return after the COVID-19 delay which ran from late March to mid-July, leaving the club without it’s marquee player.
But now the team can set it’s sights on the Grand Final prize, needing to win three consecutive games to claim the title that eluded them in 2019, when they lost the Grand Final to Sydney FC.
Veteran goalkeeper Liam Reddy says confidence within the playing group remains high.
“The results haven’t been there, but the boys are really confident,” Reddy told Sports Drive on Wednesday.
“The boys have trained really well, everyone’s very confident. We’re really looking forward to this weekend.”
Reddy believed the cut-throat nature of finals football and being away from home could work to the Glory’s advantage.
“It’s a final, it’s a one-off game,” he said.
“This whole hub situation has all been geared towards getting ourselves in to the top six, which we have now achieved. Now we know we are three games away from winning a Grand Final.
“Our main goal in this whole process of going home, training by ourselves and being stood down and now coming back in to the hub has been putting ourselves in a position to win the Grand Final and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve given ourselves an opportunity and that starts this weekend.”
While the squad has changed considerably from last year’s finals series, Reddy said squad members would draw on experience from last year to guide them towards hopeful premiership glory.
“You can as an individual, but I think on a team aspect it’s a different squad. There’s not many players who played in that season,” he said.
“It’s something that you look back in with fond memories, it’s something we’d like to replicate again in the coming weeks. “
Reddy also backed star striker Bruno Fornaroli to deliver when it matters up front in the sudden death final against the Phoenix.
“He’s working extremely hard. He obviously hasn’t scored, but he does a lot of work off the ball on the park. I’m sure when he gets his goal, goals two and three will follow very closely.
“He’s very upbeat, just like every other player in the squad. Everyone’s been really positive through this time, and we’re looking forward to playing in this sudden death game and progressing.”
Kick off for the Phoenix-Glory match is at 3PM WST (5PM EST) on Saturday afternoon, with the winner to progress to a semi-final against either Sydney FC or Melbourne City.
IMAGE: The West Australian.