Phoenix were in ‘total control’ against Western United says Talay

Head coach Ufuk Talay praised his Wellington Phoenix’s side’s ‘complete’ first-half performance in the 2-0 triumph against Western United.

Star left-back Liberato Cacace’s 29th-minute effort put the Kiwi club in the ascendancy but it took until the 90th minute for English striker David Ball to finish off the Hyundai A-League newcomers.

The convincing result lifts Wellington to third place, higher than their club’s best ever competition finish of fourth, although Perth Glory are a point behind with two games in hand.

Phoenix have now won six of their last eight matches, and were rarely troubled by their seventh-placed opponents at Sky Stadium, as the home side led the shot count 21-5 and controlled 56% of possession.

“I think the first 45 was a very complete performance but the second half, at times, we left them come back into the game,” Talay said.

“They didn’t really create opportunities, there were a few deliveries into the box that caused a few problems but, other than, that I thought we were in total control.”

“We should have finished the game off in the first half to be honest.”

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Western United head coach Mark Rudan admitted his side could not cope with Wellington Phoenix’s first-half onslaught before they were shut out for the third straight match. 

“We couldn’t finish off all of those entries into the final third - not through lack of trying,” Rudan said.

“The first half was charge of the light brigade - they were just at us non stop.

“I’ve always said it’s a tough place to come. It took us some time to get into the groove of things but second half was much better.”

During those three goalless matches – a 0-0 draw at Newcastle Jets, a 1-0 loss to Brisbane Roar and this 2-0 reverse in New Zealand – the Green and Black have only landed four shots on target.

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Despite the Victorians’ goalscoring woes, Rudan refused to question the performances of star front man Besart Berisha.

“[Berisha] has been up front on his own most of the season, it’s not because of him being up front on his own,” he said.

“We set up a certain way to create goalscoring opportunities so it’s not Bes or another player, it’s a collective. In the second half, it was much better.”

Rudan added: “We’ve got Central Coast Mariners next week so we’re still going to fight all the way, irrespective of [this] result.”

SATURDAY PREVIEW: Brisbane Roar v Perth Glory
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Round 21

Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix
Wednesday, 18 March
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 7.45pm AEDT

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Match Centre

Western United FC v Central Coast Mariners
Sunday, 1 March
GMHBA Stadium
Kick-off: 4pm AEDT

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Match Centre

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