Jancevski strike earns Perth a point amidst Baisden concern

Melbourne Victory 1-1 Perth Glory

Report by Johnathan Stack. EXCLUSIVE photos from Kieran Chea at AAMI Park. Post-Match reporting by Ben Gilby (6/1/23).

Above: Perth Glory’s Sofia Sakalis looks to beat the Melbourne Victory pair of Alex Chidiac and Nat Tathem. Photo: Kieran Chea for Impetus.

Perth Glory came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory in their A-League Women’s clash at AAMI Park.

The visitors gave a place in the starting line-up to recent signing Izzy Foletta, and local young talent Tijan McKenna was called into the squad for the first time since the end of the 2020/21 season.

Perth was the better side in the opening 20 minutes and had a lot more composure on the ball than Victory but, apart from a pair of early efforts from Cyera Hintzen and Hana Lowry, largely failed to trouble Casey Dumont in the Melbourne goal.

Above: Melbourne Victory celebrate after Paige Zois’ strike. Photo: Kieran Chea for Impetus.

The deadlock was broken by the home side’s starlet Paige Zois who put her side ahead after receiving the ball from Alex Chidiac on the left-hand side and let fly with a powerful strike which went beyond Glory keeper Sarah Langman midway through the first half.

Into the second half, Victory pushed for a second but to no avail as Rikke Madsen dragged one wide.

Substitute Alana Jancevski responded for Perth with a great goal with a quarter of an hour to play. Ella Mastrantonio floated a nice ball over to young magician Jancevski who controlled the ball and stuck it past Dumont to secure a share of the points.

Above: Perth joy after Alana Jancevski’s first goal of the season. Photo: Kieran Chea for Impetus.

The result was marred by a serious knee injury to Glory star forward Rylee Baisden, with the American carried from the field on a stretcher, following an attempted challenge on Kayla Morrison.

Baisden, Glory’s top scorer this season, immediately grabbed her knee and yelled out in agony after the challenge, with players from both sides showing serious concern and visible distress in the aftermath. Morrison who suffered an ACL tear last season temporarily left the field in tears.

The injury put a damper on what was an incredible performance by the Glory, who worked hard to get back into the game after falling behind early doors.

Above: Alana Jancevski prepares to let fly for her equaliser. Photo: Kieran Chea for Impetus.

Next up for Melbourne Victory is the Melbourne derby against City. While Perth Glory have Wellington Phoenix next week.

Post-match opinion:

Perth Glory head coach Alex Epakis fears the worst after key attacker Rylee Baisden suffered a sickening-looking injury in his team’s draw at Melbourne Victory, writes Ben Gilby.

“It doesn’t look good. It’s very it’s heartbreaking. You know, you just forget about the game for that moment (when something like that happens). I don’t know 100% yet, but you know, we just got to remain hopeful. But it doesn’t look great.”

During Baisden’s initial treatment, Epakis was able to speak to his players, who along with their opponents were visibly affected: “I just said, as best as we can, just stay focused for the next 25 minutes and try and do something for Rylee. They (our players) were heartbroken because she’s a huge, huge aspect to what we’re doing and we just remain hopeful for as long as we can.”

In the end, the Glory were able to return to Western Australia with a well-earned point after the mercurial talent of Alana Jancevski netted an equaliser. The Perth head coach was overjoyed by his young star getting off the mark for the season.

“It means a lot to her because she was here (at Victory) for a long time. You know, I think when you’ve got a point to prove it means a lot...it just shows how good she can be in moments. I’m happy for her because she’s thriving in an environment at this level and that’s what we need.

“She just needs to keep focused on what she’s doing. You know, she has got some serious technical quality. We’re just going to grow that further and make sure that it’s happening in the right moments and continue to grow her physical and mental side of the game as well.

I love coaching her. She’s a joy to work with and I think she will continue to progress in a really positive direction as well.”

Alex Epakis, Perth Glory head coach on Alana Jancevski.

Reflecting more widely on the match and his team’s performance, the Perth head coach was pleased that his side kept their Finals hopes just about alive by avoiding defeat. “We knew we had to go all in today. And we were very clear about that throughout the week that we needed to get a result just to keep us in the Finals hunt.

“I think that that performance today was a very resilient front-foot base performance. As far as I was concerned, I thought we dominated the chances and we looked really good and I’m very proud. It’s just unfortunate that we don’t have more points to show for it but it’s a really big step in the right direction.”

In terms of adding to the squad in the January transfer window, Epakis revealed that the club are putting in a request to the APL in order to bring in a guest marquee player. This would be major part in the jigsaw puzzle to attack the second half of the season.

“We’ve been proud of our performances this first half of the season, but we just didn’t have enough to show for it. Now we refresh and just restock. We definitely now know that for the second half of the season, we (have to be) all in every game. That’s the message we’ve got internally at the moment. So we know that we’re capable of some really important results and performances like today will see us get the points we need.

Kieran Chea’s EXCLUSIVE photo gallery from AAMI Park for Impetus:

Teams: MELBOURNE VICTORY (4-2-3-1): Dumont, Tathem, Nash, Morrison, Goad, Murphy, Kellond-Knight, Briedis, Chidiac, Zois, Madsen. Substitutes: Eliadis, Jackson, Markovski, Rowe, Templeman (GK).

Scorer: Zois 26′.

PERTH GLORY (4-3-3): Langman, Foletta, Carroll, Anton, Rigby, Mastrantonio, Lawrence, Baisden, Sakalis, Lowry, Hintzen. Substitutes: Aquino (GK), Jancevski, Koulizakis, McKenna, Phonsongkham.

Scorer: Jancevski 76′.

Referee: Kelly Jones.

Attendance: 973.

Artwork by: Charlotte Stacey, founder of On Her Side.

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