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Duke fires Wanderers to a A-League win

A brace just either side of halftime from Mitchell Duke made sure the VAR system didn’t have the decisive say, with Western Sydney Wanderers scoring a 3-0 home A-League win over Perth on Friday.

The victory, the second-placed Wanderers’ first in ten games against Glory since 2017, moved them to within three points of Central Coast Mariners.

The Wanderers had the ball in the net three times in 11 first-half minutes at Bankwest Stadium, but all were correctly ruled offside after VAR reviews.

Bernie Ibini had the first two rubbed out and Duke the third, but the latter ensured the Wanderers’ persistent attacks were rewarded.

In the second minute of added time at the end of the first half, Duke powered an unstoppable header into the net from a James Troisi cross.

Duke doubled the lead in the 47th minute, when he raced on to a pass from Keanu Baccus and blasted a fierce right foot shot past Perth goalkeeper Liam Reddy from just inside the area.

The Wanderers’ decisive surge gleaned a third goal and finally some love from the VAR.

Troisi tapped in from close range, though it was originally ruled offside before being overturned on review.

Duke almost completed a hat-trick when he was put clear again in the 63rd, but he slid the ball wide from a tough angle and was substituted a couple of minutes later.

Even before the goals and the VAR decisions, Wanderers had plenty of chances with Ibini twice denied from close range by Reddy, who also produced a fine diving save to deny Duke.

Perth, who looked vulnerable whenever the ball was played in behind them, started the game well.

Bruno Fornaroli had a shot tipped around the post by Wanderers goalkeeper Daniel Margush, had another attempt blocked, and Nick D’Agostino fizzed a shot just wide in the first ten minutes.

They also had number of shots in the final half hour.

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