Phoenix sink Mariners in Wellington

January 22, 2023 03:12 PM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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The least and most likely goalscorers have both found the net for Wellington Phoenix as they scored a 2-1 A-League Mens' home win over Central Coast Mariners.

Captain Alex Rufer scored his first ALM goal in his 107th appearance to open the scoring after 32 minutes on Sunday, while Oskar Zawada netted his club-leading sixth goal of the campaign and fifth In his last six games eight minutes later.

It was Phoenix's third straight win, but the Mariners fought hard in the second half in Wellington.

A stoppage-time goal from Beni Nkololo, a header onto the roof of the net from Nectarios Triantis and an on-target shot from Brain Kaltack made for some worrying late moments  for the home supporters.

There was a post-match scuffle after the final whistle with Wellington goalkeeper Oliver Sail having his shirt torn.

The second-placed Mariners had won their last three matches and six of their last seven.

But the visitors lacked penetration without Socceroo and leading scorer Jason Cummings, who was ruled out of the game with illness.

They showed more urgency in the second half, firing in a number of shots, with debutant Christian Theoharous having one attempt hit the bar and another one blocked on the line before Nkololo struck.

The win lifted Wellington from fifth to third, although Western Sydney had the chance to go back above them with victory against aNewcastle later on Sunday.

Phoenix was the more consistently dangerous side in the first half and Kosta Barbarouses rattled the crossbar with a second-minute shot.

Rufer tapped in from close range after Josh Laws headed a Clayton Lewis cross into his path.

Pole Zawada doubled their advantage when he nipped in ahead of two defenders to steer in a cross from Callan Elliot.

Referee Casey Reibelt awarded Wellington a 13th-minute penalty after Lucas Mauragis was tripped by Storm Roux.

However, Reibelt overturned her decision after viewing pitch side replays of the incident, which showed initial contact was outside the penalty area.

There was a worrying couple of minutes midway through the first half for Wellington fans when Lewis fell to the ground with what appeared to be a nasty knee injury.

But he got to his feet and played on after receiving treatment.


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