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2016/17 Australian A-League, Elimination Finals
  • Diego Castro (16')
  • Joel Chianese (30')

Perth Glory beat Melbourne City in elimination final to reach semis

Perth Glory Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Diego Castro embarrassed Melbourne City in their elimination final and sent Perth Glory to the A-League final four for the first time in five years.

The Spanish wizard scored a dazzling opener and set up the second in a 2-0 dismissal of City that stunned the 9,944 crowd at AAMI Park on Sunday night.

City looked a shadow of the team that won the FFA Cup earlier in the season, playing without fluency against the rampaging Glory. They became the first Australian side to lose a home final since 2013.

A savage off-season review for the most expensively assembled A-League side in history will follow, one that will most likely end caretaker coach Michael Valkanis' tenure.

In contrast, Kenny Lowe's counter-attacking side continued their domination of possession-hungry City and can look forward to a date with premiers Sydney FC in Saturday's semifinal.

Castro was the match's outstanding player, with strong contributions from returning captain Rostyn Griffiths and frontman Andy Keogh. The trio combined on 16 minutes to start the scoring.

Keogh controlled Griffiths' fine through-ball before passing off to Castro. The 34-year-old found his route to goal blocked by Ivan Franjic but simply waltzed around the Socceroo and the static City defence, curling home at the back post.

City, without shock exclusion Luke Brattan, were at sixes and sevens and it was no surprise to see them concede again on the half-hour mark. Joel Chianese received a superbly weighted ball from Castro and cut inside Josh Rose, arrowing a strike past Dean Bouzanis.

City hauled off unimpressive duo Bruce Kamau and Ruon Tongyik at the break, injecting Brattan and Nick Fitzgerald.

Never before had City recovered from a two-goal deficit to win a match, but they set about an unlikely repair job. City's best chance came with nine minutes remaining, when Bruno Fornaroli jinked into the box. Liam Reddy palmed away his effort before Fitzgerald skied the rebound over the bar with the goal begging.

At the other end, Castro almost added to Perth's tally with a rasping free kick that an ailing Bouzanis nearly took over the line.

The Spaniard's tricks continued, with his fizzing through-ball putting Adam Taggart clear only for the striker's effort to be saved.

The margin might have been greater but two goals would do for Perth, who kept just their third clean sheet of the season. For that effort, defensive duo Dino Djulbic and Lucian Goian deserve strong credit, subduing star pair Fornaroli and Tim Cahill all night.

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