Logarzo’s birthday goal fires Western United to impressive victory over league leaders Perth

Chloe Logarzo's first-half goal was the difference between Western United and Perth Glory on Friday night.

A brilliant birthday goal from Chloe Logarzo has fired Western United to an impressive 1-0 victory over league leaders Perth Glory at City Vista Recreation Reserve.

Logarzo’s 19th Liberty A-League goal was the difference between the two sides, firing an inch-perfect effort from the edge of the area to give Western an important three points on Friday evening.

Western had the lion’s share of the chances and could have put the result beyond doubt before half-time, hitting the post twice among a myriad of missed opportunities and creating all sorts of havoc for Perth who struggled to play through their press.

However, Kat Smith’s side won’t be complaining after bouncing back from last weekend’s disappointing loss to Newcastle Jets, by taking home all three points and climbing into fifth on the standings thanks to Logarzo’s strike on her 29th birthday.

Meanwhile, the loss means Perth have only won one of their last five games and will drop off the top of the standings regardless of the result in tomorrow’s Derby between second placed Melbourne City and third placed Melbourne Victory.

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In-form Glory striker Millie Farrow had the first chance of the contest, breaking through a sea of defenders, before just putting her effort wide after Western goalkeeper Hillary Beall did enough to put her off at the last minute.

Minutes later, Western opened the scoring, after Melissa Taranto pounced on a Glory turnover, before playing it short to Logarzo who cannoned her long-range strike past Glory keeper Morgan Aquino.

Smith’s charges gained full ascendancy of the contest from there and put Glory’s defence under enormous pressure. First, Hannah Keane put an effort just wide of the mark from long range, before hitting the post minutes later, after Aquino spilt Grace Maher’s initial strike.

And the post denied Western once more before half-time, with Melissa Taranto hitting the woodwork.

Perth really struggled to break down a resolute Western defence throughout the first-half, but almost caught them napping seconds after the restart. Grace Jale’s long throw found Farrow, who burst in behind and smashed her effort across the face of goal.

Alex Epakis threw on the likes of Quinley Quezada, Isobel Dalton and Grace Johnston in search of an equaliser, but Western’s defence did well to repel any Glory attack throughout much of the second half.

But Glory almost pinched a point with time expiring, as Farrow did well to round Alana Cerne before playing it to an unmarked Hana Lowry, but her goal bound shot was blocked by Stacey Papadopoulos.

Back the other way, Western almost had a second to wrap up the three points after Keiwa Hieda played a one-two with Keane, which set the Japanese attacker through on goal, but the substitute’s strike was brilliantly saved by an on-rushing Aquino.

The talking point

It hasn’t been the smoothest of runs for Perth Glory who have now won only one of their last five games.

After a barnstorming start to the season that saw them win their opening four matches, Glory have won one, drawn two and lost two during a patch that saw them play Melbourne Victory, Wellington Phoenix, Melbourne City, Sydney FC and Western.

Given they played all four of last season’s finalists and the side that currently sit in third on the ladder in Wellington, it was a stretch that would show where they sit among the best in the competition.

Although they haven’t come away with as many points as they would have liked, it’s far from disastrous from Perth, who will still remain firmly entrenched among the top sides on the ladder.

The first port of call for coach Alex Epakis will be finding an answer for their recent struggles in-front of goal, going goalless in consecutive matches for the first time since Round 4-5 of the 2021-22 Liberty A-League season.

The star

It was the perfect 29th birthday for Chloe Logarzo.

The Western United midfielder scored the winner in their victory over Perth, taking her tally to three goals for the season after scoring against both Wellington Phoenix and in last weekend’s loss to Newcastle Jets.

Logarzo linked up well with both Taranto twins and Hannah Keane, putting in a brilliant shift as their No.10, playing in a more familiar role with the latter shifting centrally to play as an out-and-out striker after starting the season out wide.

The 49-time Matilda has been on the outside looking in to the national team setup since returning from injury this season, with her last call-up coming as part of their provisional squad for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

However, this has been the first stretch of consecutive matches that she’s been able to string together for quite some time after constant injury setbacks.

More performances like this and she’s almost certainly set to fall on Tony Gustavsson’s radar ahead of their upcoming Olympic qualifiers against Uzbekistan in February.

What it means

Western United are into fifth on the standings for the time being, but could be back outside the top six depending on the results of Sydney FC’s clash with Brisbane Roar and Newcastle Jets’ trip to face Wellington Phoenix.

Consistency is the key now for Kat Smith’s side who are still yet to win consecutive matches this season.

Up next, is a trip to the capital to face Canberra United on December 30.

Meanwhile, Perth will be sitting in second or third on the standings at the end of this round, depending on the result in tomorrow’s Melbourne Derby between City and Victory.

They will be on the road again for a fourth away game in five next weekend, when they take on Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on New Year’s Eve.