Sococeroos in the A-League: Jamie Maclaren brings up century in style
Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren became the quickest player to reach 100 A-League goals with the first of his two strikes in his side's 3-1 win over Perth Glory at HBF Park on Wednesday night.
Perth scored first through a magnificent Chris Ikonomidis finish in the 31st minute, before a Luke Bodnar goal allowed the visiting side back into the game.
Maclaren put City 2-1 ahead in first-half stoppage time, becoming the fastest player in Australian national league history to net 100 goals - taking just 144 games to do so.
After putting his side into the lead, Maclaren netted his second of the night to put the result to bed at HBF Park. Scott Galloway assisted his attacking teammate for the second time on the night with a cut-back from Maclaren's pass toward the byline after Marco Tilio - who impressed from the start - ignited the chance with a pass off the right wing into the box.
After coming from behind to carve out a two-goal lead, City eased to the final whistle to seal a 3-1 win on the road - the reverse scoreline to what Perth notched over their Wednesday-night opponents earlier in the 2020/21 season.
The three points helped City move six points clear of second-placed Central Coast Mariners, leaving Perth ten points clear of the top six.
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The visitors had the better of the early chances thanks to a bright start by the energetic Tilio, but Perth soaked up the pressure to get on the front foot and go ahead with 31 minutes on the clock.
Ikonomidis scored his first A-League goal for Perth since January 2020 to put the home side up - and the technically brilliant strike was well worth the wait.
The Glory winger combined with Andy Keogh who played a lofted pass from one side of the penalty area to the other. Ikonomidis took one touch to control, a second to open up the space past Aiden O'Neill and a third to rifle his strike into the top-left corner of goal.
GOAL: Ikonomidis - Glory up 1-0 at HBF Park
Perth's vital lead over the league-leaders was to last just five minutes, after a disastrous Bodnar own goal gave City an invitation back into the contest.
The ball found the back of Perth's net after Tilio whipped in a cross off the right flank which Bodnar failed to keep away from danger. Instead, the young defender diverted the ball on target, wrong-footing an unsuspecting Liam Reddy to bring the score back to 1-1.
OWN GOAL: Bodnar - Unfortunate moment for Perth
With time ticking toward half-time, the home side was dealt a cruel blow when City combined brilliantly to carve out a 2-1 lead to take into the break.
It was Maclaren getting on the end of it for the 100th time in his A-League career, heading Scott Galloway's cross home to become the quickest player to reach a century of goals in Australian national leagues history.
GOAL: Maclaren - Striker hits a century of A-League goals
City set off in pursuit of a sealing third goal early in the second half, and would have done so with ease if not for the desperate defensive work of Kosuke Ota.
The Japanese international got ahead of Tilio at the back post to knock a dangerous cross off his defensive goalpost and into the path of Maclaren, who shot into the body of Ota who got up quickly to provide a secondary block.
A brave Ota block denied Maclaren a second, but there was nothing the Perth full-back or any of his teammates could do to stop the Socceroos spearhead from netting a second after combining with Galloway once again to finish calmly into the bottom-left corner.
Maclaren took two touches in the scintillating City move. His first set Galloway into the box after Tilio's cutting pass off the right flank, and his second sent the ball past Reddy to find a comfortable spot for itself in the bottom left corner.
GOAL: Maclaren - 'J-mac' has done it again