Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory have shared the spoils following an exhilarating 3-3 draw at Auckland’s QBE Stadium on Saturday night.
Keen to avoid a season sweep in the Distance Derby, the Phoenix got off to a rollicking start with Kosta Barbarouses having an early shot smothered on the goal line.
Glory also showed their intent to attack from the off but it was the home side who broke the deadlock through the returning Gui Finkler, with the Brazilian dedicating the goal to his new baby girl.
The Phoenix doubled their advantage when Roy Krishna calmly slotted his 11th goal of the campaign but Glory pulled a goal back following a delightful piece of individual skill from their frontman Andy Keogh.
Wellington looked to be headed for back-to-back wins when Barbarouses bent the ball into the back of the net early in the second stanza.
However Glory fought back with a fine finish from Adam Taggart and a sublime free kick from Diego Castro to set up a grandstand finish with ten minutes to play.
Both sides had chances to net a late winner as play went from end to end in a heart-stopping finale but in the end both sides had to settle for a draw, which on balance was a fair result.
1-0 Wellington Phoenix: Gui Finkler, 10’
The Brazilian cracked a shot from an acute angle after being played into space, which took a deflection off Joe Mills giving Liam Reddy no chance before it rippled the back of the net.
2-0 Wellington Phoenix: Roy Krishna, 25’
A long ball from Matthew Ridenton found the run of Shane Smeltz, who was able to hold the ball up before finding his Fijian strike partner. Krishna weaved his way around Rhys William before shooting low and hard inside the far post.
2-1 Perth Glory: Andy Keogh, 34’
Dino Djulbic picked out the run of the Irishman with a long pass, who was able to chest the ball down on the run, taking him past a couple of defenders, before firing past Glen Moss.
3-1 Wellington Phoenix: Kosta Barbarouses, 46’
Some swift ball movement from the Nix following a turnover teed up the All Whites international on the edge of the box and he bent a beautiful left footed shot inside the far post.
3-2 Perth Glory: Adam Taggart, 67’
The Glory striker got on the end of a cross from Josh Risdon, with Moss making a great save to keep out the header but Taggart was quickest to react to the second ball and was able lash it home.
3-3 Perth Glory: Diego Castro, 80’
Glory’s marquee man lined up a free-kick on the edge of the box and proceeded to hit it perfectly over the head of Moss and inside the far top corner to draw his side level.
Glory defender Joe Mills had to be replaced midway through the first half with a hamstring injury, with Marc Warren coming on for his first appearance since Round 12.
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