‘God was on God’s side’ - Talay struggles to explain Phoenix loss

He was christened ‘God’ by the Liverpool FC faithful and Wellington Phoenix boss Ufuk Talay feels that Brisbane Roar coach Robbie Fowler may have called in a favour from the heavens on Saturday.

Divine intervention is the only explanation Talay could come up with while reviewing how the Kiwi club failed to score after dominating in their 1-0 defeat at Suncorp Stadium.

A strike from Roar substitute Dylan Wenzel-Halls brought a crashing halt to Wellington’s club record equalling nine-match unbeaten stretch, despite the visitors controlling 58% of possession and raining in 20 shots on the Queenslanders’ goal. 

Jaushua Sotirio’s shot cannoned back off the crossbar and Steven Taylor’s header also rattled the frame of the goal as Brisbane resorted to some desperate defending to keep the ‘Nix at bay.

“I think God was on God’s side, with Robbie Fowler, so it’s just one of those games,” Talay quipped. 

“If we score one I think it’s going to be a two, three nil game for us. That’s football sometimes, it doesn’t always give you the result.”

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Matti Steinmann picked up a fifth yellow card and a one-match ban, with Talay revealing Brandon Wilson and Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi will be in contention for a midfield berth against Newcastle Jets next week while Alex Rufer is still sidelined.

The match was played in humid conditions in the River City after heavy rainfall had hit south east Queensland overnight but Talay believes misfortune was the only thing working against his in-form side.

“I don’t think we got tired because I thought we had them on the back foot even after they scored,” he added.

“I thought we had total control of the game, created a lot of opportunities, hit the post a couple of times.”

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Corey Brown made his Roar return after two seasons at Melbourne Victory, starting at left-back, and Scott McDonald made his debut from the bench as Fowler integrated his new signings. 

Three points for Brisbane lifts them to seventh in the Hyundai A-League table off the back of four matches unbeaten and, after a testing start to the 2019/20 campaign, Fowler insists the ladder is starting to work itself out.

“We’ve played alright this year. Probably the one game we deserved to lose was Sydney, every other game we’ve been in it,” Fowler said.

“We’ve had a tough start… we’ve had plenty of away games, we were always playing catch up because we’ve had two byes.

“Where we are now, I think we’re in a good place.”

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Round 16

Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets
Sky Stadium
Friday, 24 January 2020
Kick-off: 7.15pm local, 5.15pm AEDT

Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar
Central Coast Stadium
Saturday, 25 January 2020
Kick-off: 5pm AEDT