Talking points: Who can challenge Perth Glory in the Finals Series? – Hyundai A-League

Talking points: Who can challenge Perth Glory in the Finals Series? - Hyundai A-League

Perth Glory claim their first-ever A-League Premiership; Qualify for AFC Champions League 2020

Glorys 1-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday saw them claim the A-League Premiers Plate with two rounds to spare.

Read more The win secured Glorys first piece of silverware since their 2004 NSL title triumph, as well as a spot in next years Asian Champions League.

Niedermeier had the final say, though, tapping home Kosta Barbarouses low cross 11 minutes from time to secure maximum points for the hosts, who remain third. The Mariners, meanwhile, stay eight points adrift at the bottom of the table.

But with an A-League Championship still up for grabs, Popovic said it would be business as usual when Glory players return to training on Monday.

Popovic: I saw Tony Sage shed a tear tonight

Theyre the best team in the league, thats a fact. The club goes into Asia, thats also a fact, Popovic said.

Misses by James Troisi and Elvis Kamsoba were then punished by Matt Simon in the 53rd minute, the Mariners captain slotting home from the penalty spot after he had been brought down in the area by Thomas Deng.

Glory will take on second-placed Sydney FC at Jubilee Stadium on Thursday night, before rounding out the regular season at home to Wellington.

Popovic has the luxury of being able to rest some key players, and its an option he may take given theres only a four-day break before the clash with Sydney.

Keisuke Honda and Ben Kennedy both came close in the opening stages for Victory before Ola Toivonen finished a flowing move in the 21st minute to put them ahead.

Juande and Jason Davidson both picked up leg injuries against the Jets, while Chris Ikonomidis is still working his way back to full fitness after dislocating his shoulder earlier this month.

Popovic won the Premiers Plate in his first season at the Wanderers in 2012-13, but said he would allow himself to enjoy his one at Glory even more.

Thats probably me evolving and improving as a coach. Ive tried to enjoy it with the players along the way, I think thats something Ive improved.

Jets coach Ernie Merrick said Glorys consistency meant they deserve to be favourites to win the A-Leagues Championship.

“Its a different feeling, Wanderers was starting a club from scratch, this one weve got a lot of history, but theres been a lot of willingness to be the best we can be. Thats shown off the park and its a credit to everyone.

But he didnt like the current finals format, which gives the top two teams a bye in the first week of the finals before being thrust into a knockout semi-final.

While Popovic has marshalled a cohesive squad from eighth place last season to first the year after, Sages willingness to splash the cash on a squad brimming with experience played a huge role.

The most consistent team has been Glory by far, but theres no double chance anymore, Merrick said.

Perth Glory have collected their first-ever Hyundai A-League Premiership title following a 1-0 victory over the Newcastle Jets at the HBF Park in Perth on Sunday.

Jason Davidson, Matthew Spiranovic, Dino Djulbic and goal-scorer Ivan Franjic have shown the old guard still pay dividends at this level, which Popovic noted after the celebrations.

The Tony Popovic-coached side emerged as the premiers of the Australian domestic league in front of over 11,000 fans after a 65th-minute goal from defender Ivan Franjic gave them a narrow win over the Jets.

For the members. For the fans. For those who celebrated and hurt with us every step of the way. This is for YOU. #OneGlory

“I saw Tony Sage shed a tear tonight, hes put a lot of money into the club and its for a lot of people who have supported the club over a number of years. 

The win meant that Perth Glory now have 57 points from 25 A-League matches and have taken an unassailable lead over the second-placed Sydney FC who were held to a 1-1 draw by Western Sydney Wanderers FC in the Sydney Derby the other day.

Its yet another debut-season Premiership for Tony Popovic, who said hes extremely proud of the squad he and Perth owner Tony Sage have put together.

The win meant that the Glory, founded in 1995, have their first A-League Premiership while also booking a place in the group stages of the AFC Champions League for the 2020 season.

“Ive had three goes at a Grand Final and havent got there. Were guaranteed a big semi-final here at home, but theres a lot of work to do.

They will now take part in the A-League Finals series to be held in May where they await their opponents in the semifinals. Top two teams from the A-League regular season qualify for the semifinals of the Finals while teams occupying third to sixth positions will begin face off in a play-off for the remaining two spots in the semis.

The Glory have won two Premierships in the National Soccer League era, but it is their first A-League Premiership after the Australian top flight underwent a rebranding back in 2005.

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