Perth Glory are daring to dream of an A-League Women finals berth after stunning reigning champions Melbourne Victory 2-0 at AAMI Park to turn the race to the top four on its head.
Victory striker Catherine Zimmerman turned the ball into her own net in the 69th minute, with Leena Khamis doubling the margin four minutes later after a brilliant flick-on from Cyera Hintzen.
Perth remained fifth but moved to 21 points, just one behind fourth-placed Victory and three behind Melbourne City and Adelaide United, though both Melbourne teams have games in hand.
Coach Alex Epakis admitted the prospect of Glory making finals, in a season in which they’ve been on the road after just one game in Perth, was starting to sink in.
“We were just quite emotional in there as a group then because we know what we’re capable of and what we’ve had to go through this year so far’s pretty difficult but they just keep finding a way to do things,” Epakis said.
“We just want two more really good performances in the competition and if that is enough to get us in the top four, then great, we’ll prepare for that as well.”
The game changed when Epakis turned to Lisa De Vanna with half an hour left, then Khamis and Aideen Keane in the 68th minute.
“Lisa’s good enough to have that impact,” Epakis said.
“She’s had an amazing season for us and you don’t just see it on the pitch, it’s actually what she’s doing off the pitch.
“She’s a great leader, she’s helping the leadership group, she’s helping the young players and she’s still got the class and the ability to do what she did today and I’m really pleased for her.”
Victory coach Jeff Hopkins was “proud” of his team, who backed up from Wednesday’s comeback 2-2 draw with Sydney FC.
“The game in the midweek against Sydney probably took a lot out of us, more than we thought, physically and maybe emotionally as well,” Hopkins said.
“It was a good performance but it just lacked a bit of energy, especially in the final third… It’s something the players have got to understand: that a performance like this was going to come.
“It’s not a disaster.
“I thought there were some really good individual performances out there and on another day, with just a little bit less fatigue in the legs, we would’ve gone on and won that game.”
Victory’s day was further soured by youngster Alana Murphy being forced off with an ankle injury in the 31st minute, compounding Amy Jackson’s mid-week injury.
Jackson confirmed to Paramount+ she’d torn her calf against Sydney and was awaiting scan results, but hoped to return for finals.