Glory land Fornaroli on two-year deal

Former Melbourne City striker Bruno Fornaroli has signed for A-League leaders Perth Glory.

The Uruguayan is ineligible for the rest of this campaign but will play for Tony Popovic's side for the next two seasons.

Perth wanted to sign the 31-year-old during the transfer window but weren't able to agree a transfer.

Fornaroli, who scored 57 goals in 83 games for City and won the A-League's Golden Boot in 2015-16, fell out dramatically with coach Warren Joyce at the start of this season.

He was left out of the team after the first five rounds, and didn't feature in the team before his contract was terminated by mutual consent last month.

The former Sampdoria and Panathinaikos striker will link up with Andy Keogh and Diego Castro in a formidable Perth forward line.

Perth owner and chairman Tony Sage said: "The signing of Bruno is another strong statement of intent in terms of our ambition to bring sustained success to Perth Glory.

"Players with his great goalscoring pedigree are always in huge demand and we beat off stiff competition from a host of clubs from all over the world to sign him."

Fornaroli scored 23 goals during the regular season in 2015-16, five more than his nearest challenger.

The following season he was handed the captaincy following Patrick Kisnorbo's retirement, and also became the fastest player to score 30 goals in the A-League.

Fornaroli said: "Tony (Popovic) said that there is a project here at Glory and that they want to play better than now and do better next season.

"I believe in the project and I believe in the coach and that's why I'm here. I'm where I want to be and this is the most important thing for me."

Perth Glory are 6/4 to win the Grand Final.

The Glory are 10/11 to win their next game against Melbourne Victory, who are 11/4 with the draw 13/5.

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Barbarouses gets better of Roar

Kosta Barbarouses' double got Melbourne Victory back to winning ways as they saw off Brisbane Roar 2-1 at Marvel Stadium.

It ended a six-match winless run in all competitions for the defending champions and brought them within a point of second-placed Sydney FC.

The Roar have had no answer to New Zealand international Barbarouses this season – his brace meant he's scored seven goals against his former team and 13 overall.

Kevin Muscat's team had only taken two points out of a possible 12 in the league going into the match to slip back in the chase for the minor premiership.

They got things right against the second-bottom side, though, with Barbarouses giving them the lead in the 24th minute when he capitalised on Keisuke Honda's fifth league assist of the season by going around keeper Brendan White from a one-on-one situation.

He doubled Victory's lead six minutes before half-time as he volleyed home from James Troisi's pass over the top – the goal was given after the video assistant referee (VAR) overturned an offside call.

The Roar replied early in the second half, Eric Bautheac chipping Victory keeper Matt Acton after a turnover deep in defence.

Barbarouses was denied his hat-trick just after the hour mark, before Raul Baena forced White into a save.

In injury time Kenny Athiu's flick from a Rahmat Akbari cross hit the post to spare the Roar a third goal.

Muscat had caused a surprise by dropping keeper Lawrence Thomas, who has been the club's number one since the start of the 2016-17 season.

"We need better from Lawrence and he has got to fight for his place," said the coach.

"The decision was more about Matt Acton; I selected him based on everything that we have seen. He was in our opinion the right choice to give us the best chance of success."

Melbourne Victory are 11/4 to win their next game against Perth Glory, who are 10/11 with the draw 13/5.

Victory are 12/1 to win 1-0.

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Popovic: No complacency at Glory

Coach Tony Popovic says he's not worried about complacency creeping into his Perth Glory side in the final rounds of the A-League season.

The Glory moved nine points clear at the top with a 2-0 win away to Adelaide United, where Diego Castro and Andy Keogh scored.

Perth have played a game more than second-placed Sydney FC, who are bidding for a third consecutive Premier's Plate.

But they have now gone 13 games unbeaten, winning nine of those matches, and look tough to stop.

The Glory have just finished a tough sequence of three consecutive away matches, and now have three of their remaining five games at home.

Popovic says the team can improve further, though, after they squandered a number of chances at Coopers Stadium.

"You need to punish teams when you're on top and you get clear opportunities. And we had numerous chances in the box … to really put the game away and we didn't," added the former Western Sydney coach.

Perth have only lost one of their 22 games this season, and Popovic says they will maintain their focus for the rest of the campaign.

"This group, the consistency is there, so there is no thought in my mind about complacency," he added. "When I see them train every day, there's no reason to even suggest it (complacency) to the players, to search for it, because it's not there."

The Glory have never won the Grand Final since the A-League was launched, despite having had much success in its predecessor the NSL.

Popovic, who has given his players three days off ahead of their home clash with Melbourne Victory on 30th March, said the club hadn't spoken about expectation changing anything.

"We have spoken throughout the whole year about creating a possibility to win trophies – that is what we speak about all the time," he added. "Clearly the opportunity is still there now so we continue with that message and we'll see where it takes us."

Meanwhile, defending premiers Sydney FC are 19/20 to win their next game against Melbourne City, who are 3/1 with the draw 5/2.

Sydney are 6/1 to win the game 1-0.

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Perth close in on Premiers’ Plate

Perth Glory extended their lead at the top of the A-League to nine points with a comfortable 2-0 win away to Adelaide United.

Goals either side of the break from Diego Castro and Andy Keogh saw Tony Popovic's side return to winning ways after back-to-back draws.

The Glory have now suffered just one defeat in 22 rounds, and are closing in on the Premier's Plate.

Adelaide have gone five games without a win and could fall to sixth spot by the end of the round.

Castro silenced the jeers of the United fans at Coopers Stadium when he put Perth ahead 10 minutes before the break.

The Spaniard had just fired horribly wide with what looked a straightforward chance, after United keeper Paul Izzo parried Chris Ikonomidis' curler into his path.

He made amends when he saw a shot from 15 metres out deflect off defender Scott Galloway past the wrong-footed Izzo to put the visitors in front.

Izzo made diving first-half saves from Chris Ikonomidis and Joel Chianese as Perth threatened to take command.

But he was left exposed with 20 minutes to go when captain Isaias turned over possession in his defensive half to substitute Keogh, who homed in on goal before sending his low shot past Izzo for his 13th goal of the season.

It meant Perth set a club record with their 15th victory of the campaign.

The pressure is now on their closest rivals Sydney FC to beat Melbourne City on Sunday and get the gap back to six points with five rounds left.

Meanwhile, defending premiers Sydney FC are 19/20 to win their next game against Melbourne City, who are 3/1 with the draw 5/2.

Sydney are 6/1 to win the game 1-0.

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Kilkenny: Teams happy with draw against us

Perth Glory feel Adelaide United might play more positive tactics against them on Friday than they have faced in their last few games.

Neil Kilkenny believes teams have taken an approach against the league leaders that a point would be enough.

With Adelaide having lost their top-four spot last weekend when Wellington Phoenix got a goal difference boost with their 8-2 win against Central Coast, it means United are likely to be chasing victory in the Coopers Stadium clash.

Perth have been frustrated in their past two games, being held to a 1-1 draw at Western Sydney and then drawing 2-2 away to Melbourne City.

It's cut their lead at the top to six points, with nearest rivals Sydney FC doing their best to reel them in and win the minor premiership for a third straight season.

Kilkenny said: "We've found that over the last four, five or six games that teams are happy with a draw against us. Even when we go away from home, they look to stop us from playing instead of actually looking to play themselves to a certain extent.

"That's what we have to deal with at the top of the league and hopefully we can keep pushing, keep progressing and get the three points on Friday."

Coach Tony Popovic says watching A-League rivals play in the Asian Champions League has made him envious and he is determined that Perth will finish the season in top spot so they can earn a guaranteed spot in next year's edition.

"It would be nice to experience what Melbourne Victory and Sydney are this year," said the coach, who guided Western Sydney to the ACL title in 2014.

"We'll do everything we can in our power to bring that experience to our fans and our football club."

Glory are on a 12-match unbeaten run and are yet to lose away from home.

Perth Glory are 13/8 to win the Grand Final.

The Glory are 11/8 to win their next game against Adelaide United, who are 2/1 with the draw 5/2.

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New deal for Glory ace Keogh

Andy Keogh is set to link up with former Golden Boot winner Bruno Fornaroli at Perth Glory next season, after signing a new one-year contract.

The Republic of Ireland striker, who is in his second stint with the Glory, may not need to take up an international spot in their squad next term.

Keogh, who takes up one of the three overseas visas in Tony Popovic's squad, is close to finalising his Australian citizenship.

He is the club's leading scorer this season with 12, as well as being their record scorer overall with 52 goals in 115 appearances.

During the transfer window there was speculation that the striker could be swapped with Fornaroli and move to Melbourne City, but the latter has since been released by Warren Joyce's side and looks set to join Perth for 2019-20.

Keogh said: "I never had any thoughts about leaving the club and it's fantastic to be a part of this team and what is an exciting time for the club.

"I'm looking forward to continuing to score goals and hopefully helping the club to secure some silverware."

Keogh netted four goals in a four-game spell starting with the 2-0 win over Newcastle in round 16 to earn maximum points and extend Perth's lead at the top of the league.

The Glory are 7/5 to win their next game against Adelaide United, who are 7/4, with the draw 5/2.

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Muscat bemoans inconsistency

Injuries and suspensions have had an impact on Melbourne Victory's ability to maintain their challenge for top spot in the A-League says head coach Kevin Muscat.

The defending champions are four points behind second-placed Sydney FC with six games to go, while the gap to leaders Perth Glory is now up to 10 points.

Their prospects of catching Tony Popovic's side took a big hit at the weekend when they lost 2-0 to Newcastle Jets, while Perth came from 2-0 down to earn a point at Melbourne City.

Victory, who have taken only two points from a possible 12, now also have to contend with playing their remaining A-League games alongside their Asian Champions League campaign.

Muscat is not conceding the Premiers' Plate to Perth or the Sky Blues, but admits Victory have been hard-pressed to maintain their form while they have had key players out.

Exciting winger Elvis Kamsoba is the latest to be ruled out, with scans on Friday revealing he has medial ligament damage and is likely to be out for two to three weeks.

Key striker Ola Toivonen was missing against Newcastle as he was still battling to recover from illness, though he is expected to be fit to face Korean club Daegu in Tuesday's first-up ACL clash.

"It's what has been happening all season. We have been consistently inconsistent with our line-ups with players injured, sick or suspended," said Muscat. "It certainly doesn't help build certainty, but the players have done well to hang in all season long.''

The coach felt his team had been unlucky to lose to the Jets, as they had created a lot of chances but not taken them.

"We got caught out by a sucker punch goal and although Dimi Petratos' shot was a great drive, it came in the last minutes when we realised that we weren't going to get anything out of the game," said Muscat.

''It was just one of those nights when you had a lot of the ball and got nothing. It's frustrating, but we now have to pick the bones from it and move on.''

Victory are 3/1 to win the Grand Final, with the Glory 13/8 and Sydney FC 5/2.

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Late Glory revival denies City

Captain Diego Castro scored in injury time to rescue a point for A-League leaders Perth Glory in a 2-2 draw away to Melbourne City.

The Spaniard let fly from distance with a shot which deceived City keeper Eugene Galekovic and completed the visitors' late revival.

Tony Popovic's side had trailed by two goals six minutes from time, but still managed to extend their unbeaten run to 12 games and increased their lead to six points at the top of the ladder.

They got back into the match when substitute Joel Chianese headed home a Jason Davidson cut-back, while Galekovic had had an outstanding match until being beaten by Castro's strike.

The keeper pulled off a pair of wonderful saves, one in each half, to deny first Chris Ikonomidis and then Andy Keogh.

City will be frustrated at their failure to hold on to their lead, despite having only 34 per cent of possession at AAMI Park and making 306 passes to Perth's 583.

The home side benefited from a controversial decision in the first half when referee Alex King gave a penalty against Shane Lowry for handball.

Lowry was bracing himself in a sliding challenge and had no chance of getting his arm out of the way of Florin Berenguer's cross, but the decision went against Perth.

Jamie Maclaren netted from the spot for his second goal of the game, making it five goals in his first four appearances for Warren Joyce's team.

The Socceroo had earlier given City the lead when he got between Matt Spiranovic and Lowry to head home a pinpoint Scott Jamieson cross.

Perth Glory are now 13/8 to win the Grand Final, while Andy Keogh is 5/2 to be top goalscorer in the A-League.

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Glory wait on Fornaroli offer

Perth Glory owner Tony Sage says he's not counting his chickens in the club's bid to bring in striker Bruno Fornaroli.

The Uruguayan was released by Melbourne City on Wednesday, having not featured in their squad since the opening four rounds of the A-League season.

Reports suggest he is in line for a $1.2million contract with the A-League leaders starting next season, but Sage says the move is not yet cut-and-dried for the 31-year-old.

"Bruno Fornaroli has just parted ways with City and Tony Popovic showed interest," he added. "Agents are talking to management and who knows what will happen.

"He's obviously got lots and lots of different offers on the table – until you get a signed contract from a player it's not a done deal. We showed interest, it's up to him now to show interest in Perth Glory."

Sydney FC are also interested in the former Golden Boot winner, having failed to snare him in the off-season from City.

The Glory have several players coming off contract at the end of the season, including Jason Davidson, Joel Chianese and Andy Keogh.

Socceroos striker Chris Ikonomidis is sure to attract interest and has admitted he harbours hopes of a return to Europe.

Sage said Perth wouldn't stand in the way of Ikonomides if he attracted a big offer.
"That's his goal, his dream," he added. "People leave for various reasons and you always have to be looking for various players to replace them."

The Glory are 11/8 to win their next game against Melbourne City, who are 2/1, with the draw 23/10.

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Maclaren retains faith in City

Striker Jamie Maclaren believes Melbourne City have the quality to upset league leaders Perth Glory on Sunday and get back into the A-League title race.

City are fifth in the table, 18 points behind Tony Popovic's side, and haven't tasted victory in six games.

Maclaren, who signed earlier this month and has scored three goals in three games, feels they are capable of handing Perth just their second defeat of the campaign.

"If we focus on our own backyard and how we are going to create chances and really push forward, then we will do good things on Sunday," said the Australia international.

"It's time to get three points, because I can sense the vibe in the team – once we do get three points we will be a hard team to stop.

"I look at the depth we have got and the quality in the team. With the way we play, people say it's all possession based, but imagine if you bring possession based with creating chances and burying chances plus being sure at the back; it's almost like a complete squad."

City failed to beat 10-man Melbourne Victory last week, despite Maclaren having given them a 16th-minute lead from the penalty spot and goals have been at a premium for Warren Joyce's side over the past nine games.

They came good in a 4-3 home win over Western Sydney last month, but their other eight outings have only yielded five goals.

City will have home advantage over Perth at AAMI Park, which they hope will tip the scales their way. They are unbeaten in their last eight home games, picking up five victories during that run.

City are 2/1 to win the game against the Glory, who are 11/8, with the draw 23/10.

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