Shock win to Phoenix

Sunday Mail - - SPORT - ROB GREEN­WOOD

WELLING­TON has caused a mas­sive A-League boilover with a 3-1 away win over Syd­ney FC at Ju­bilee Sta­dium.

Phoenix scored three firsthalf goals in 17 min­utes, with striker Roy Kr­ishna bag­ging a brace, to help coach and for­mer Syd­ney FC cap­tain Mark Ru­dan en­joy a mem­o­rable win yes­ter­day over his old club.

De­fender Michael Zullo pulled a goal back in the 89th minute but Syd­ney suf­fered its first suc­ces­sive home loss since April, 2016.

It was Welling­ton’s first win over Syd­ney in seven games. ADE­LAIDE United has missed an op­por­tu­nity to move to the cusp of the A-League sum­mit, as its wretched record against bit­ter ri­val Mel­bourne Vic­tory con­tin­ued in a frus­trat­ing de­feat last night.

The Reds cre­ated the bet­ter open­ings in the cross-bor­der derby at Dock­lands, but lacked qual­ity in the front third as they went down 2-0 to their tra­di­tional foe.

Se­cond-half strikes by Kosta Bar­barouses and Ola Toivo­nen were enough for the hosts, de­spite Michael Mar­rone hit­ting the wood­work twice.

Apos­to­los Sta­matelopou­los and Ben Halloran also went close to get­ting on the score­sheet af­ter the break, as Marco Kurz’s men were made pay for a lack of pol­ish in the key mo­ments.

The loss ex­tended United’s run to just two tri­umphs in its past 17 meet­ings with the Vic­tory. Ade­laide started strongly as it out­smarted and out­mus­cled the reign­ing cham­pion for the bulk of the early pro­ceed­ings.

Its good work was un­done just af­ter the hour when Terry An­to­nis’ cross from the left was headed down by the im­pres­sive Toivo­nen.

The Swede’s header was well saved by Paul Izzo, but Bar­barouses fol­lowed up to tap home from close range.

Ade­laide’s back four was picked apart again 19 min­utes later when Toivo­nen ex­changed a de­light­ful one-two with An­to­nis be­fore slot­ting home em­phat­i­cally.

The vis­i­tors wel­comed back cen­tre back Michael Jakob­sen in place of the sus­pended Tay­lor Re­gan, while winger Ryan Kitto (foot) and Ken Ilso (ab­dom­i­nal) missed out with in­juries.

Right back Mar­rone went clos­est to break­ing the dead­lock af­ter 15 min­utes when he thun­dered Isa­ias’ in­swing­ing corner against the cross bar from five me­tres.

Toivo­nen had Vic­tory’s first ef­fort on goal as he curled in a 20m ef­fort which Izzo did well to parry away.

Ade­laide sur­vived a mas­sive scare mid­way through the half when for­mer Vic­tory full back Scott Gal­loway con­trolled the ball into his own hand in the penalty area.

The VAR viewed the in­ci­dent and rec­om­mended ref­eree Shaun Evans up­hold his ini­tial de­ci­sion to deny a spot kick.

United worked hard to shut down spa­ces and cut off the sup­ply to Ja­panese play­maker Keisuke Honda in the open­ing pe­riod, press­ing Vic­tory high when the hosts had the ball.

Kurz suc­cess­fully shifted to a 4-4-2 to coun­ter­act the home side’s mid­field di­a­mond, which had ter­rorised West­ern Syd­ney in a 4-0 drub­bing a week ear­lier.

An­other Isa­ias corner in first-half stop­page time dropped to Mar­rone, who had his ini­tial shot blocked by Leigh Brox­ham and his fol­lowup ef­fort ex­pertly smoth­ered by Lawrence Thomas.

Ade­laide con­tin­ued to have the clear­est chances af­ter the break but failed to con­vert.

Mar­rone’s mishit cross was tipped on to the bar by Thomas in the 78th minute, but Toivo­nen sealed the points late on to send his side, tem­po­rar­ily at least, top of the ta­ble.

Tem­pers flared in a push and shove be­tween play­ers from both sides af­ter Bar­barouses fell heav­ily from an ae­rial chal­lenge. It mat­tered lit­tle as Vic­tory made it five straight wins to leave the Reds search­ing for an­swers.

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