Mark Rudan believes Western United were in control against Perth Glory before the Hyundai A-League Premiers hit back to earn a share of the points.
Panagiotis Kone’s 48th-minute wonder strike will go down in history as Western United’s first ever home goal but substitute Kristian Popovic’s 76th-minute header made it 1-1 at GMHBA Stadium.
Tony Popovic’s side appeared to have picked up where they left off as a force to be reckoned with as the sides went into half-time locked at 0-0, prompting Fox Sports analyst Andy Harper’s glowing assessment of the visiting team.
“Utter dominance from the Glory, 70% of territory, 53% of possession, and dangerous possession,” said Harper.
“In the United half, they are probing around the penalty area. They are clearly the better team here. They will be very buoyed by the first half, Perth Glory.”
But when asked about his perspective in the post-match press conference, Rudan was in total disagreement.
“I believe that we can control the opponent without the ball,” Rudan said.
“We certainly worked on our shape when we did not have possession of the ball.
“In the first half, I think they had one shot on target. It wasn’t really a save that Filip [Kurto] had to make so we controlled them in both departments.
“We know their strengths and we nullified them. Ikonomidis did not make any runs in behind, Castro was forced to play in front of us most of the time, Fornaroli was back to goal.
“You look at the weapons they have got, I thought we nullified them extremely well, so we controlled them without the ball.”
Oh my Kone!
— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) October 19, 2019
Rudan added: “We need to be better with the ball, that’s for sure. That’s something we are still building towards and building on.
“We are working quite a bit in that department, but second half was much better with the ball.”
After Kone’s sensational strike broke the deadlock, Glory went after the hosts with even more thrust.
That increase in tempo, coupled with tired legs as both teams find their in-season sharpness, left bigger spaces in Perth’s rearguard for United to exploit.
The game opened up and resulted in golden chances for both teams late on. Glory rained in nine second-half attempts on goal to United’s seven in a match that could easily have tipped either way.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Western United’s next home game is Sunday, October 27 at 6.00PM against Melbourne City at GMHBA Stadium, Geelong.
CLICK HERE to buy tickets.
CLICK HERE to become a Western United member.