Perth Glory maintained their unbeaten start to the season on Sunday, scoring a goal in the dying seconds to secure a 3-2 win over Central Coast Mariners at nib Stadium.
Chris Ikonomidis was the hero scoring the opener in the 12th minute and the last gasp winner that sealed Glory’s place at the summit of the Hyundai A-League, four points clear after four wins and a draw from the opening five rounds.
The star-studded squad are one of the favourites to win the title but Glory coach Tony Popovic is confident his players won’t get ahead of themselves.
“I think it’s quite easy,” Popovic said of the challenge of keeping everyone grounded.
“They’re a very good group. They’re a pleasure to coach.
“A lot of these players are winners, and they were winners before I got here.”
The Mariners looked set to take a hard-earned point after a Glory own goal and Aiden O’Neill’s 23-yard strike in the 64th minute levelled the scores at 2-2.
But the 10,417 erupted as in the dying seconds of the 5th minute of stoppage time as Glory striker Andy Keogh missed the ball with his attempted bicycle kick, but Ikonomidis was there to chest Neil Kilkenny’s cross down before blasting it into the back of the net.
“I think we underestimate how difficult it is to bring a ball down in injury time when you’re fatigued, and to have that composure to finish it so well,” Popovic said.
“It’s so easy to lean back and put the ball over the crossbar. But it just shows the signs of maturity that are coming with him.”
Meanwhile Central Coast remain on the bottom of the ladder with just two points to show from five games.
Sydney FC beat Melbourne Victory 1-2 in the other Sunday match.