Phoenix skyrocket into third place after tense 2-1 victory against Mariners

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It was a perfect sunny day to celebrate Wellington’s anniversary weekend and the Phoenix did not disappoint, beating Central Coast Mariners 2-1.

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Alex Rufer scored his first goal for the club after 103 appearances and Oskar Zawada bagged his third goal in three matches to win the match and put them into third.

Wellington Phoenix got off to a strong start, with Kosta Barbarouses hitting the crossbar in the second minute.

The match settled down until ten minutes later when Lucas Mauragis was taken down at the edge of the penalty box and the home side were awarded a penalty.

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VAR interfered though and ruled it a free-kick to the dismay of the home crowd, which was as loud as ever after the women’s teams victory before.

The match became a fairly even contest with neither team creating any clear-cut chances.

This was until the 32nd minute when Phoenix captain Alex Rufer scored his first goal for the club off a corner, putting Wellington up 1-0.

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Their lead was doubled when eight minutes later Oskar Zawada continued his impressive form scoring off a Callan Elliot cross, giving the home side a 2-0 lead.

The second half kicked off and it was much the same with the Phoenix taking control of the game.

Wellington were happy to hold possession and consolidate their lead, with Central Coast struggling to create chances.

There wasn’t really any chances for the visitors until the 80th minute, when Christian Theoharous’ shot was superbly saved by Oli Sail.

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Central Coast kept fighting and they eventually got their goal in the 92nd minute, when Beni N’kololo scored.

The match ended 2-1, but then tempers flared after the match when all players got into a scuffle.

It was a bad way to end a an overall great day at Sky Stadium, for the Wellington Phoenix club.

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This result has made a drastic impact to the table, with Wellington skyrocketing from sixth place all the way up to third. Meanwhile, Central Coast stay in second, five points behind league leaders Melbourne City.

The Mariners head home to play Western Sydney Wanderers next week, with the Phoenix playing Perth Glory at Palmerston North.

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Wellington Phoenix 2 (Rufer 32’, Zawada 40’)

Central Coast Mariners 1 (N’kololo 92′)

Sky Stadium

Referee: Casey Reibelt
Assistant Referees: Mark Rule & Isaac Trevis
Fourth Official: Campbell-Kirk Kawana-Waugh

Wellington Phoenix: Oliver SAIL (GK), Timothy PAINE, Kosta BARBAROUSES, Oskar ZAWADA, David BALL (Finn SURMAN 81’) , Bozhidar KRAEV (Benjamin OLD 77’), Lucas MAURAGIS, Alex RUFER, Callan ELLIOT, Joshua LAWS, Clayton LEWIS (Steven UGARKOVIC 50’)
Unused subs: Alexander PAULSEN (GK), Sam SUTTON, Oskar VAN HATTUM, Yan SASSE

Central Coast Mariners: Daniel VUKOVIC (GK), Brian KALTAK, Joshua NISBET (Christian THEOHAROUS 72’), Samuel SILVERA, Beni NKOLOLO, Harrison STEELE (Maximilien BALARD 46’), Storm ROUX (Thomas AQUILINA 46’), Jacob FARRELL (Daniel HALL 72’), Michael RUHS (Paul AYONGO 58’), Nectarinos TRIANTIS, Marco TULIO
Unused subs: Yaren SOZER (GK), Cameron WINDUST

Feature Image Credit: Photomac

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Joshua Dean
Joshua Dean
Aspiring sports journalist! I love sports and enjoy writing, so added my two hobbies together! Studying Journalism at Massey University, Wellington.

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