Melbourne Victory star Chris Ikonomidis is facing a possible three-match ban after he was red carded for kicking during Perth Glory’s stunning 3-1 victory at Macedonia Park.
Glory recruit Adam Taggart was the hero on Saturday night with a late double, but the biggest talking point came shortly after halftime when referee Stephen Lucas handed out two red cards following an ugly incident.
Perth defender Jack Clisby was the first to be sent off after lunging at Ikonomidis’s throat as the Victory attacker attempted to get up off the ground.
But VAR revealed that Clisby was merely retaliating after being kicked by a frustrated Ikonomidis while they were both on the ground.
Ikonomidis, who had just been tackled to the turf by Clisby, ended up being handed a straight red for his studs-up kick near the Glory defender’s throat, leaving both sides down to 10 men at the 53-minute mark.
Both players are facing the prospect of being handed three-match bans for violent conduct.
“I spoke to (Clisby) and he said Ikonomidis lashed out and kicked him in the chest or tried to kick him in the chest, and Clisby reacted and pushed him,” Glory coach Ruben Zadkovich said of the double red card incident.
“But he said he didn’t do too much. It is what it is now and we just have to deal with it.”
Victory coach Tony Popovic said it was out of character for Ikonomidis.
“They both got a red, so they’ve both done something they shouldn’t have done,” Popovic said.
“It was out of character for both players. They were tussling and they both got a red card.”
Victory substitute Roderick Miranda levelled the scores with a spectacular volley in the 69th minute, cancelling out the early strike from Ryan Williams.
But Glory’s transfer window signing Taggart sent the sellout crowd wild with an unmarked header in the 80th minute after a burst down the wing from Jacob Dowse.
It was Taggart’s first ALM appearance since 2019, and he made the most of his chance with his second in the 87th minute when he stuck out his boot to deflect in another cross from Dowse, who had stripped goalkeeper Matthew Acton of the ball.
Taggart’s heroics and the red card drama completely overshadowed Bruno Fornaroli’s high-profile return to Perth.
Fornaroli departed Glory in ugly circumstances earlier this season after allegedly refusing to play when he was relegated to the bench.
The 35-year-old Uruguayan was in the thick of the action early but was unable to score against his former side before being subbed out amid loud boos from the crowd in the 74th minute.
The result leaves Victory rooted to the bottom of the ladder, with Tony Popovic’s side producing one draw and four losses from their past five matches.
Glory have picked up 14 of a possible 18 points from their six home games at Macedonia Park, putting them within goal difference of sixth spot.
Victory had five former Glory players in their starting XI – Fornaroli, Jason Geria, Matthew Spiranovic, Ikonomidis and Jake Brimmer.
It led Glory owner Tony Sage to label the Victory the “Glory B team”.
It could have been six former Glory players in the starting side if not for the departure of striker Nick D’Agostino, who had joined Norwegian club Viking FK for an undisclosed fee on Friday.