Richard Garcia has enjoyed a dream start to his A-League coaching career after a Nick D’Agostino brace helped lift Perth Glory to a crushing 5-3 win over Adelaide United at HBF Park.
Glory led 2-1 at halftime in Wednesday’s match thanks to goals from Neil Kilkenny and D’Agostino, before Bruno Fornaroli combined brilliantly with Andy Keogh to score the team’s third in the 51st minute in front of 6,125 fans.
Alarm bells were ringing in the 60th minute when D’Agostino headed home from close range after being inexplicably left unchecked at a free kick.
But there was still more pain to come for Adelaide, with Glory substitute Carlo Armiento banging home his side’s fifth goal from a tight angle in the 84th minute to make it 5-1.
Adelaide notched late goals from Mohamed Toure and Ben Halloran, but they were mere consolations that barely masked an ugly and disorganised night for the visitors.
The scariest part about Glory’s performance was that they were missing a host of their best players and were only playing their first game of the season.
Captain Diego Castro was ruled out with a leg injury, while Socceroo Chris Ikonomidis (knee), veteran defender Osama Malik (shoulder), former Japan international Kosuke Ota (quarantine), and ex-Bundesliga defender Sebastian Langkamp (yet to arrive) were also missing.
“He had a good game. It’s always good to get two goals,” Garcia said of D’Agostino’s performance.
“I thought he endeavoured to work hard all the time, and that’s something we talk to about with Nick and he’s constantly in the right positions.
“It’s great to get the goals, but I think the team in itself worked hard as a group. That’s the most important thing.”
Kilkenny opened the scoring in the 10th minute via the penalty spot after Adelaide goalkeeper James Delianov clumsily clattered into Glory striker Fornaroli.
Olyroos hero D’Agostino doubled the lead in the 34th minute when his shot bounced off the legs of Adelaide defender Jordan Elsey and into the net.
Adelaide barely created any chances in the first half, but they pulled a goal back in the 42nd minute after a defensive howler from Glory’s left back Dane Ingham.
Ingham’s attempted volley clearance bounced off his back thigh and into the path of Nathan Konstandopoulos, who was able to prod the goal home from close range.
Adelaide were lucky to be only 2-1 down at the break, and Glory heaped on the pain in the second half.
Keogh charged towards goal and expertly drew a defender before laying off for Fornaroli for an easy goal.
And when D’Agostino sneaked in behind Adelaide’s defence to head home Kilkenny’s free kick in the 60th minute, the scoreline read 4-1 and Adelaide were a mess.
Armiento added a fifth when Adelaide were caught napping and didn’t deal with a long-range pass from goalkeeper Liam Reddy.