Late penalty drama as Wellington, Sydney draw
Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC have played out a thrilling 1-1 draw at Westpac Stadium in front of 10,027 fans on Saturday night.
There was plenty of late drama as Filip Holosko scored for Sydney in the 84th minute, and with Roy Krishna levelling proceedings from the penalty spot in the 90th minute.
In squad news, the Phoenix made two alterations to their starting side with Jeffery Sarpong and Tom Doyle returning to replace Alex Rufer and Matthew Ridenton, as they looked to bounce back after losing 2-1 to Brisbane last Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Sky Blues made four changes to their starting eleven after going down 2-1 to Adelaide last week. Shane Smeltz, Milos Dimitrijevic, Alex Gersbach and Chris Naumoff all made way for Matt Simon, Brandon O’Neill, Jaques Faty and Andrew Hoole.
Sydney FC approached the game with a good deal of confidence after winning their past two matches at Westpac Stadium and they dominated the opening exchanges of the game.
Both Matt Simon and Filip Holosko recorded shots on target in the first 15 minutes, forcing Glen Moss into some early saves.
Wellington began to make inroads of their own as the game progressed and created a wonderful chance to score in the 23nd minute through Jeffery Sarpong. Michael McGlinchey delivered a dangerous cross into the box to find Sarpong who had enough space to release a shot, but the effort was well saved by Vedran Janjetovic to deny the Phoenix attacker.
Sydney came inches away from the game’s first goal in the 35th minute with Seb Ryall breaking down the right wing and whipping in a cross for Andrew Hoole who was arriving at the far post for a certain tap-in, but the opportunity was foiled by Manny Muscat who made a superb sliding effort to intercept the ball.
The Sky Blues had the best chance to score in the 45th minute via a free-kick from Brandon O’Neill. The attempt from O’Neill sailed over the Phoenix wall and clattered against the crossbar, leaving the first-half scoreless.
The second half started with a bang as Sydney FC earned a penalty in the 48th minute after Manny Muscat caught the leg of Andrew Hoole inside the goal box. Hoole stepped up to take the penalty, but Phoenix keeper Glen Moss guessed the right way and pulled off a remarkable save to hold out the shot.
The Phoenix struggled to break down Sydney’s defensive structure with both O’Neill and Tavares featuring prominently as holding midfielders, keeping Wellington’s playmakers Bonevacia and Riera quiet.
However, the home side did manage to break through in the 66th minute with McGlinchey taking the ball into the box from the left wing, teeing up Bonevacia whose shot just passed wide of the goal.
With the game entering its climax, the deadlock was finally broken in the 84th minute by Sydney’s marquee-man, Filip Holosko. The Slovakian charged into the box from the right wing and curled a delightful left-footed shot into the far corner for his third goal of the season.
However the late drama did not end there as Wellington were handed a penalty in the 90th minute after Tom Doyle was brought down by Jaques Faty inside the goal area whilst wrestling during a set piece. The Phoenix’s star striker Roy Krishna slotted the penalty into the back of the net, sending Janjetovic the wrong way and ultimately leveling the game at 1-1.
Referee Peter Green signaled for full-time with sides locked at 1-1, wrapping up what was an entertaining affair with a plethora of chances.
Both sides now look onwards to Boxing Day fixtures with the Phoenix travelling to Adelaide, whilst Sydney host the Mariners at Allianz Stadium.
|Ultimate A-League ‘Player of the Season’ Votes|
|3||Filip Holosko (Sydney FC)|
|2||Glen Moss (Wellington Phoenix)|
|1||Brandon O’Neill (Sydney FC)|