Victory star Toivonen deals Phoenix knockout blow
Ola Toivonen was the star of the show as Melbourne Victory defeated 10-man Wellington Phoenix 3-1 in Friday night’s Hyundai A-League Elimination Final.
Swedish striker Toivonen’s sumptuous lob over Phoenix goalkeeper Filip Kurto midway through the second half proved the decisive, knockout blow in an enthralling AAMI Park contest.
Victory had earlier opened the scoring just shy of the interval when Georg Niedermeier headed a gorgeous Keisuke Honda delivery home, before Toivonen and Kosta Barbarouses combined for the Kiwi forward to double the advantage early in the second half.
Golden Boot winner Roy Krishna replied by tucking away Sarpreet Singh’s cross – his 19th goal of the campaign - to restore hope for the New Zealanders, but Toivonen delivered the match-sealing strike seven minutes later by breaking into the clear and measuring a superb chip over Kurto from a tight angle.
The heroics of the former PSV, Sunderland and Toulouse man, 32, sets up a Big Blue semi-final date with rivals Sydney FC on Sunday May 12.
It also ensures reigning Champions Victory maintain their record of never losing a finals game in Melbourne in regular time.
Meanwhile, four years to the day of their last finals appearance, Phoenix's fantastic season under Mark Rudan draws to a close. Michal Kopczynski was sent off in stoppage time for Wellington for a second bookable defence.
Re-live all the talking points and highlights from Victoria in the live blog below.