‘The dream’s alive’: Popovic’s Perth overcome hurdle to host ‘deserved’ Grand Final

It was an encounter crazy enough to leave you speechless but Perth Glory head coach Tony Popovic retained his usual calm demeanour after his side’s dramatic penalty shootout victory over Adelaide United.

The Reds came from 2-0 down via Baba Diawara and Ryan Kitto after Diego Castro had notched a brace for the home side at HBF Park.

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Both sides then traded goals in extra-time before a ridiculous penalty shootout ensued with goalkeeper Liam Reddy emerging as the hero, making four saves to send Perth to their first Hyundai A-League home Grand Final.

When asked for his thoughts on one of the most extraordinary Hyundai A-League games Popovic calmly summed up where the team was at.

“The dream’s alive,” he said.

“We wanted a possibility of making that dream a reality, we can do it now. That’s what this result has done and we’ll get the boys in tomorrow, do a recovery and discuss the week ahead.

Diego Castro seemingly put Perth beyond reach, but Adelaide had other ideas.

“A lot of them will find it hard to sleep. Normally footballers struggle after a match but this is a special match, a special moment.”

Glory captain Castro looked to have sent Perth on their way with two goals in regular time but the Reds refused to budge.

Popovic explained post-match his whole squad had played their part in the historic victory, one that he never had any doubt in.

“It’s a big game and big players step up, he [Castro] was fantastic,” Popovic said.

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“All the players that came on made an impact during the game to keep our composure when things were tough. They [Adelaide] kept equalising, they kept coming back and then they [Glory players] all played a big part in the penalty shootout.

“It’s always a fine line, big games are determined by fine lines and the skill set is one thing but there are a lot of things that you can’t measure, you can’t get a stat for which this squad has in abundance.

“It’s not just tonight, they’ve shown it all year and I believe they thoroughly deserve to play in the Grand Final next week.”

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