Chianese's attacking clinic a timely reminder of Perth Glory's firepower
Emerging queries over the composition of Perth Glory's attack were resoundingly swept aside in Wednesday night's crunch 3-1 victory over Sydney FC.
Tony Popovic's decision to bench Andy Keogh amid the absence of Chris Ikonomidis raised tentative questions as to whether the Hyundai A-League leaders possessed the ammunition to snap a nine-match losing streak against the reigning Premiers.
Step forward Joel Chianese.
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Who better to erase the hoodoo than a former Sydney FC player, the lone attacker Popovic retained from the team that stormed home to beat Brisbane Roar 4-2 at Suncorp Stadium three days earlier.
The 28-year-old relished the additional responsibility as he buried an 11-minute first-half brace with the guile of a seasoned poacher, before displaying the full scope of his value by providing the pass from which Brendon Santalab put the result beyond doubt.
Chianese's goals were his second and third of the campaign and indisputable evidence of a player that has come of age, capable now of being a reliable match-winner in fixtures of high importance.
"Tonight he did something he knows he needs to do more of and that's score goals," Glory boss Popovic said.
"I think Chianese has always been a talented player just looking for some consistency. He had a fantastic pre-season where he gained a lot of confidence."
Just the fifth Perth player to score a league double against Sydney FC, Chianese also helped his side notch at least three times for the third successive match – a feat the club last achieved in the 2011/12 Season.
In he, Santalab and Fabio Ferreira – who was squeezed out of the matchday squad by the fit-again Jacob Italiano – Popovic's enviable forward stocks stretch well beyond the headliners.