Wellington Phoenix have kept their Hyundai A-League Finals Series hopes alive after recording a 2-1 upset win over Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Goals in either half to Shane Smeltz and Roy Krishna proved decisive as Des Buckingham’s side bounced back from last week’s horror 5-1 loss at home to Melbourne City.
Brisbane started the brighter and should have taken the lead just before the half-hour mark with Thomas Broich failing to beat Glen Moss after being played in on goal by Brandon Borrello.
And the miss proved costly with Shane Smeltz firing Wellington ahead less than five minutes later after a brilliant cross from Adam Parkhouse.
The Phoenix grew in confidence after the goal and started to dictate the tempo as the game progressed, with the hosts appearing to struggle physically after a heavy schedule in recent weeks.
Wellington enjoyed the majority of possession in the early stages of the second stanza and took full advantage with Roy Krishna doubling the lead on the hour mark following a well-worked team move.
Brisbane fought their way back into the contest and pulled a goal back with Brandon Borelllo netting a sweet strike from distance with just over 15 minutes remaining.
The Roar continued to push for an equaliser but Wellington held firm to keep touch with the Hyundai A-League top six.
0-1 Wellington Phoenix: Shane Smeltz, 32’
Phoenix fullback Adam Parkhouse found space down the left flank and whipped in a delightful cross which picked out an unmarked Shane Smeltz in the area, with the striker burying a clinical header into the left corner.
0-2 Wellington Phoenix: Roy Krishna, 61’
Shane Smeltz played a delightful ball in behind for Kosta Barbarouses with the winger firing a well-weighted ball across the face of goal for Krishna to slot home from close range.
1-2 Brisbane Roar: Brandon Borrello, 75’
Substitute Joey Katebian found space in the box before teeing up Borrello on the edge of the area with the youngster hitting a sublime first-time strike which curled into the far corner, leaving Glen Moss with no chance.
Experienced Italian defender Marco Rossi was forced off inside 20 minutes for the Phoenix with what appeared to be a hamstring strain. The choppy nature of the pitch looked likely to play a role in the injury.
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