Gritty Wellington surpass Roar away from home

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Wellington Phoenix are now a major contender for finals after securing a plucky 1-0 victory on Saturday against Brisbane Roar at Kayo Stadium.

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The Roar were a couple of Oli Sail fingertips away from the perfect start to the game when Nikola Mileusnic found space out the back in the third minute.

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It was copy and paste moments later as Mileusnic craftily put the ball through the back of the net having escaped into back field space, only for the goal to be made void by an offside call.

Brisbane weren’t showing any residual signs from Tuesday’s loss against Perth Glory, compounded by a lengthy trip back home.

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Although the early momentum of the game belonged to the Phoenix, the locals were able to create as many chances as their opposition.

The uncompromising opening half struggle was befitting for two teams separated by just one point on the table leading into the match.

Multiple Phoenix deflections denied Brisbane with five to play in the first half, while staunch Roar pressure quelled Wellington’s ability to finish their work – defence reigning supreme in the opening stanza.

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Proceedings opened up upon the resumption of play, both sides desperately seeking to break the deadlock and introducing fresh substitutions.

The first clear Phoenix avenue to goal in the second half came through Yan Sasse’s narrowly eschew half volley strike.

Wellington were the first to score after 64 long minutes, going up 1-0 away from home through striker Oskar Zawada.

Lucas Mauragis piercing left foot cross allowed Polish talent Zawada to sneak in behind Roar’s defence and produce a regulation header.

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The New Zealand side’s drought-breaking goal not only took them ahead 1-0 but helped them progress above Brisbane and into fourth place on the live table.

Brisbane’s desperation immediately surged with roughly 10 minutes left, resulting in missed chances for reserves Louis Zabala and Jez Lofthouse.

Joe Knowles’ 85th minute swivel attempt could’ve been a magical equaliser if not for the impenetrable hands of Sail.

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The keeper once again came up trumps when Knowles tried to squeeze by in stoppage time, ensuring a gritty Wellington win.

A post-match tussle ensued for good measure, but it was the Phoenix with the last laugh.

The New Zealand side move into fourth spot, while Brisbane have suffered consecutive losses for the first time this season.

Brisbane Roar 0

Wellington Phoenix 1 (Zawada 64′)

Stadium: Kayo Stadium

Referee: Adam Kersey

Assistant Referees: Nathan MacDonald and Joey Lee

Fourth Official: Hassan Jomaa

Brisbane Roar:  Jordan HOLMES (GK), Jack HINGERT (Joshua BRINDELL-SOUTH 72′), Scott NEVILLE, Thomas ALDRED, Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS, Carlo ARMIENTO (Henry HORE 57′), Connor CHAPMAN (Joe KNOWLES 73′), Kai TREWIN, Rahmat AKBARI (Louis ZABALA 57′), Nikola MILEUSNIC, Riku DANZAKI (Jez LOFTHOUSE 72′)

Unused subs: Macklin FREKE (GK), Anton MLINARIC

Wellington Phoenix: Oliver SAIL (GK), Callan ELLIOTT, Timothy PAYNE, Joshua LAWS, Lucas MAURAGIS, David BALL, Alex RUFER (Steven UGARKOVIC 57′), Clayton LEWIS, Yan SASSE (Benjamin OLD 57′), Kosta BARBAROUSES (Finn SURMAN 73′), Oskar ZAWADA (Oskar VAN HATTUM 90′)

Unused subs: Alexander PAULSON (GK), Noah KARUNARATNE, Sam SUTTON

Feature Image Credit: Andrew Hudson

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Liam Cook
Aspiring football enthusiast. Covering Brisbane Roar in 2022/23.

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