27 Oct 2019

Glory edge Phoenix in A-League

9:18 pm on 27 October 2019

Bruno Fornaroli has announced his A-League return, scoring and assisting in Perth's 2-1 defeat of the Wellington Phoenix.

Phoenix's keeper Stefan Marinovic (L) makes a save during the A-League - Phoenix v Perth Glory football match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Phoenix's keeper Stefan Marinovic (L) makes a save during the A-League - Phoenix v Perth Glory football match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Photo: Photosport

The classy Uruguayan scored his first A-League goal in a year in Wellington, helping his new side to their first win of the season.

Diego Castro was best afield but Fornaroli's contribution was of most significance to the Glory, when he netted a close-range dink and assisted for Chris Ikonomidis' volley.

A confidence-boosting goal for the 32-year-old, axed by Melbourne City mid-way through last season, will allow him to lift his sights towards another big campaign for his new club.

"We're very happy he's got his goal. He could have had a couple more," coach Tony Popovic said.

"The chances are being created and I'm sure this will be the beginning of the goal return for Bruno."

The match might have turned on referee Alex King's decision not to send Glory defender Gregory Wuthrich off after a nasty first-half tackle, but Ufuk Talay refused to criticise the call.

Talay debuted marquee striker Gary Hooper in the second half as Wellington chased the game.

The Englishman was fouled for a penalty in the last minute of the match, which was converted by Ulises Davila.

That contribution was too little, too late for the Phoenix, who are pointless after three matches for just the second time in the club's history - ahead of a testing fortnight with trips to Melbourne to play Victory and City.

"The boys dropped their heads a bit after the first goal," Talay said.

"We got back into the game again and it's another soft goal. It's hard to chase the game against Perth Glory."

New head coach of the Wellington Phoenix Ufuk Talay.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Their plight will be of no interest to Popovic and his side, who will make the long journey home with three points.

Castro stormed down the left and cut back for Fornaroli to open the scoring after 11 minutes.

Soon after, a flashpoint arrived when towering centre back Wuthrich crunched David Ball with a flying studs-up challenge from behind.

Referee King consulted his linesman before opting to merely caution the Swiss.

Ball didn't miss with a cynical second-half square-up challenge but, by then, the Nix were two down.

On 33 minutes, Ikonomodis arrived perfectly to smash home Fornaroli's flick-up past Stefan Marinkovic, and Fornaroli would have made it three before the break but not for a last-gasp Louis Fenton header.

In the second half, Hooper was thrown on as part of the salvage operation, treated to a rousing reception.

Despite ball after ball into the box, the Phoenix couldn't call on someone of Castro's creativity or with Fornaroli's finishing.

Davila's late penalty at least meant a first home goal of the campaign - giving the 6054 fans who braved windy conditions something to cheer.