Vince Lia snatched a late winner as Wellington Phoenix edged out a 10-man Perth Glory 2-1 at nib Stadium on Sunday night.
Lia proved to be in the right place at the right time as he volleyed the ball into the top left corner from a corner kick in the 89th minute.
The Phoenix were the dominant side despite falling behind after just seven minutes, but bounced back quickly and were almost left to rue a number of missed chances either side of the break.
Glory had been forced to play out the final six minutes of regular time with just 10 men after captain Richard Garcia was sent off for picking up his second yellow card of the match.
Perth remains the only team without a point to its credit after the opening two rounds of the Hyundai A-League season.
WHAT THEY SAID
"We’ve got to concentrate better on set pieces, especially corners. Wellington play a tough game similar to us, I think in the end it could have been an even result but they got the win at the end.
"I don’t think there’s any excuse. We’ve got 5 months (off-season) in the A-League, I don’t think anyone in the World gets that amount of time.
"We’ve got some new players but that’s no excuse, so does every other team." - Glory defender Michael Thwaite told Fox Sports.
"It was a tough game, we scored right at the end of the game which was a relief for the whole team I think." - Phoenix midfielder Roly Bonevacia told Fox Sports.
1-0 Gyorgy Sandor (7’) – The Hungarian international scored his second goal in as many games after pouncing on the scraps from Glory teammate Mitch Oxborrow’s corner kick.
1-1 Roy Krishna (9’) – The fast-moving Fijian found himself on the end of a brilliant pass from Phoenix teammate Michael McGlinchey and rifled the ball into the far corner of the net.
1-2 Vince Lia (89’) The maligned midfielder was in the right place at the right time, volleying a corner kick into the top left corner from 10m out to seal the three points for Wellington.
Glory captain Richard Garcia picked up his second yellow card of the match and was given his marching orders with six minutes left to play. The home side had been struggling to keep out Wellington’s with 11 players on the pitch and losing their main leader at a crucial stage of the match ultimately cost them a point.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
Roy Krishna loves playing in Perth. The popular Fijian has scored on each on his last three visits to nib Stadium for a total of four goals.
The highlights were few and far between, particularly for Perth, but any time Glory speedster Chris Harold made a dash down the right wing, the home crowd was on its feet in anticipation. Opposing goalkeepers Ante Covic and Glen Moss both pulled off spectacular and crucial saves either side of half-time.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
Glory’s star international recruits, Guyon Fernandez and Deigo Castro, are not gelling as an attacking pair. Dutchman Fernandez looked lethargic during his 66 minutes on the pitch while experienced Spanish campaigner Castro appears to be struggling to adapt to Australian conditions. Perth coach Kenny Lowe will be quietly hoping rumours of a possible mid-season return by Irish striker Andy Keogh prove to be true.
THE FINAL WORD
Perth Glory remains the only team without a point after two rounds, but the consolation will be a home Westfield FFA Cup semi-final clash against Melbourne City on Wednesday night. Serbian midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic (hip) is a chance to return.
Vince Lia’s late winner was just reward for Wellington, who were the better side but almost rued too many missed opportunities. There is no questioning the Phoenix’s fight, however, and coach Ernie Merrick will be pleased to have claimed the first leg of the Long Distance Derby Cup.
Perth Glory: 1.Ante COVIC (GK), 5.Antony GOLEC, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Gyorgy SANDOR, 11.Richard GARCIA (c), 14.Chris HAROLD (15.Hagi GLIGOR 83’), 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Mitch OXBORROW, 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Guyon FERNANDEZ (16.Sidnei SCIOLA 66’), 23.Michael THWAITE
Wellington Phoenix: 1.Glen MOSS (GK), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 7.Jeffrey SARPONG (12.Blake Powell 60’), 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY, 13.Albert RIERA, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Vince LIA, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 19.Tom DOYLE 11.Kwabena APPIAH 86’), 21.Roy KRISHNA (8.Alex RODRIGUEZ 77’)
Scorers: Gyorgy Sandor (7’), Roy Krishna (9’), Vince Lia (89’)
Yellow cards: Guyon Fernandez (27’), Josh Risdon (31’), Vince Lia (51’), Tom Doyle (69’), Richard Garcia (71’), Blake Powell (89’), Diego Castro (90’+1)
Red cards: Richard Garcia (84’)
Conditions: 17C, showers
Attendance: 8145 at nib Stadium