Phoenix and Glory's finals hopes on edge after thrilling draw in Auckland
Liam Reddy saved a 90th-minute penalty to preserve Perth Glory a 2-2 draw against Wellington Phoenix as the race for the A-League Finals gets even more congested.
In a match both sides needed to win to boost their top six hopes, the home side took a 1-0 lead to the break thanks to Tomer Hemed’s 10th goal in his last 13th appearances.
Bruno Fornaroli came off the bench to equalise for Glory on the hour mark before a screamer from young gun Callum Timmins looked to have the visitors on course for victory.
But the drama was only just getting started as Jaushua Sotirio equalised 10 minutes from the end before Cameron Devlin won a late penalty for Phoenix when he went down under a challenge from Nick D’Agostino.
Glory player’s protests to referee Alex King meant Phoenix skipper Ulises Davila was forced to wait a few minutes before taking his spot-kick and it proved decisive.
The Mexican’s effort was tame and at a nice height for Reddy to dive to his left and palm the ball away to ensure the sides wouldn’t be separated.
While Wellington’s unbeaten run has improved to a club-record 10 consecutive games, they remain one point outside of the top six and their finals hopes are now out of their hands.
Glory are three points outside the finals places with two games to go, including a must-win clash against Brisbane Roar in midweek.
Hemed keeps scoring run going
With so much at stake the first goal was always going to be vital and it was the Eden Park faithful that were celebrating on 24 minutes.
Reno Piscopo started the move which gained momentum when the overlapping Louis Fenton received the ball on the right.
His cut-back found Hemed in the 18-yard box, with the Israeli taking a touch before firing past Reddy into the roof of the net.
Bruno drags Glory level
Fornaroli was brought on by Glory boss Richard Garcia 10 minutes after the break and took just four minutes to make an impact.
After Glory won possession around halfway, Castro thread a precise ball to the Uruguayan who did the rest.
Fornaroli took the ball into his stride and then slid a left-foot shot past Oli Sail into the corner of the net.
Timmins lights up Eden Park
He may only be early in his A-League career but Timmins showed his undoubted talent with a stunning goal 15 minutes from the end.
Timmins received the ball about 30 metres from goal and with the Phoenix defence failing to close him down he decided to try his luck.
And it was the right choice as he powerful curling effort gave Sail no chance, flying into the top corner for one of the goals of the season.
Subs combine for equaliser
Davila and Sotirio were both introduced in the second half as Phoenix chased the win and the duo combined for the equaliser 10 minutes from the end.
Davila found the winger on the left and Sotirio did the rest, driving at Jason Geria, cutting back onto his right foot and curling a shot into the far bottom corner.
Reddy the hero as late drama unfolds
Phoenix poured forward looking for the goal to keep their finals hopes in their own hands and looked to have done just that in the dying minutes.
Devlin surged into the box and went to ground under a challenge from D’Agostino, with referee King having no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
But Reddy guessed the right way, diving to his left to bat away Davila’s penalty to keep Glory’s finals hopes alive.
Macarthur FC v Wellington Phoenix
Friday, June 4, 2021
Kick-off: 7.05pm (AEST)
Brisbane Roar v Perth Glory
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Moreton Daily Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm (AEST)
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