A late goal on the cusp of full-tme has given Wellington Phoenix a 2-1 win over Perth Glory in the #LongDistanceDerbyCup at nib Stadium on Sunday.
Lia finished a well-timed volley in the 88th minute off a Michael McGlinchey corner, soon after captain Richard Garcia was sent off.
Perth Glory looked sharp in the early moments of the game, despite McGlinchey threatening in the fifth minute with a low cross. However two minutes later, it was the home team who opened the scoring.
A well-driven Mitch Oxborrow corner kick was headed down by towering defender Dino Djulbic for Hungarian midfielder Gyorgy Sandor to unleash a vicious bottom corner strike; his second goal of the season.
Phoenix soon equalised with a counter-attack just two minutes later.
Phoenix winger Roy Krishna was played through one-on-one against Michael Thwaite, and the Fijian international made no mistake and struck the ball across the face of goal and into the bottom corner.
Glory almost turned the match on its head in the 25th minute, when Oxborrow’s corner slipped through Phoenix goalkeeper Glen Moss’ hands, but Dutchman Jeffrey Sarpong was there at the far post to clear the danger.
The rest of the first half saw threats from Chris Harold, Dino Djulbic, Roley Bonevacia and a saved low strike from Roy Krishna, as the two teams headed into the change-rooms deadlocked at 1-1.
The second half was cagey, with both defences refusing to relent. Both teams’ chances were limited from distance; Diego Castro threatened in the 75th minute with a well-timed run, while Blake Powell tried a low shot from distance in the 79th minute, easily saved by Covic.
The all-important turning point came in the 84th minute, as a late sliding challenge from Richard Garcia saw the skipper pick up his 2nd yellow card, forcing Glory to play the final minutes with a man down. Phoenix went on the attack as Glory defended frantically to hold out for a point.
A late Michael McGlinchey corner in the 89th minute fell to Vincent Lia in the box who sliced home a top corner goal that Covic couldn’t palm away. It was the Australian midfielder’s first Hyundai A-League goal in four and a half years.
Perth Glory now set their sights to Melbourne City on Wednesday in the Westfield FFA Cup Semi-Final.
Lowe said it was a frustraing day out at the office but the team’s intention on Wednesday was very clear.
“We want to win the FFA Cup, the boys have worked their socks off. We want to win every match”.
Glory will then host Adelaide United next Sunday at nib Stadium.
Kick-off is at 4pm.
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