A horrific defensive mistake gave Bruno Fornaroli a saloon passage to score and defeat the Wanderers 1-0 at Parramatta tonight, with reports that the Wanderers board will sack Markus Babbel within the next day.
With the looming Sword of Damocles hanging by a thread over the head of Markus Babbel he needed his side to fire against a red hot Perth side, but his defensive duo of Dylan McGowan and Patrick Ziegler let him down inside 10 minutes as the visitor's opened the scoring.
McGowan's woefully underhit pass wasn't met smartly by Zieger and Jake Brimmer pounced, the ball fell for Fornaroli and he burst towards the Wanderers penalty box. McGowan compounded his error by standing off the marquee striker and he punished the Wanderers, firing into the defenders legs, deflecting past the desperate lunge from Daniel Lopar.
The Wanderers first major attack of the half took until the 26th minute, Muller & Yeboah combined before Georgievski launched a chip to the edge of the penalty area for Nicolai Muller, his knee height first time volley looked like it was heading to the top corner until Liam Reddy rose into the air and palmed it away with his left hand. Perth had the ball in the back of the net shortly after but were denied by an obvious but late called offside.
Mitch Duke had a good chance 5 minutes before half-time, from a wide free kick he cut back to the middle of the penalty area rather than attack the usual lobbed delivery, but he couldn't get his shot through the sea of players.
Kwame Yeboah thought he has the equaliser 10 minutes into the 2nd half, Georgievski blasted a shot at goal, it was going wide until Yeboah stretched out to turn the ball home, initially thought to be off the chest it turned out after a video review to have been a handball, after a long delay the goal was ruled out.
Brimmer continued his good game with a fierce strike in the 70th minute, firing the ball just wide of the Wanderers goal. Markus Babbel made what could be his last substitutions as an A-League coach, bringing on Mo Adam, Tate Russell and Nick Sullivan, but they couldn't get the Wanderers over the line legally at least.
Perth snuffed out the game, grinded out the 1-0 away result and took all three points, and with are reports that Markus Babbel will be sacked as the coach of the Wanderers, the Wanderers greatest coach may have ended the career of their currenet coach in Popovic's first return to Parramatta since he left all those years ago.
The Wanderers have a bye next week, and return to A-League action against the Central Coast Mariners on Sunday February 2 in Gosford.