Wanderers edge Victory in perfect send-off for retiring Schwegler
Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder Pirmin Schwegler ensured his playing career ended on a high, scoring a first-half goal in his side's 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night.
The Wanderers edged the battle between ninth and tenth on the Hyundai A-League table, as Schwegler's goal and a well-taken strike from Jordan O'Doherty proved enough to stave off a late fightback from Victory inspired by a consolation goal scored by Andrew Nabbout.
Schwegler gave the Wanderers a one-goal advantage at the half time break in some style, curling a left-footed strike from outside the box past Matthew Acton in Victory's goal to ensure he had a personal moment to savour in the last game of his career.
It was a well-earned lead for the Red and Black who crafted all of the best efforts on goal in the first half aside from a long-range attempt from Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio which called Tristan Prendergast into a relatively comfortable save.
The Wanderers carried their ascendancy into the second half and looked set for a routine win to end their season when O'Doherty ghosted into the box to expertly divert a cross from Mitch Duke off the post and into the back of the net.
But Victory weren't ready to say die; Nabbout made sure he got a send-off of his own in his last game in Victory colours, when he swept home a fluffed strike from Lawrie-Lattanzio to bring his side back to within one goal with more than 20 minutes to play.
A second Nabbout strike was rightly adjudged offside and that was all the fight Victory could muster, as the Wanderers held onto a 2-1 win which takes them above Newcastle Jets into eighth on the Hyundai A-League table.
The Jets play Wellington Phoenix on Thursday night with the chance to go back above the Wanderers, while Victory end the 2019/20 campaign in tenth place with 23 points, one position off the bottom of the table.
WEDNESDAY REPORT: Berisha brace helps United down Perth and leapfrog Reds
WEDNESDAY REACTION: Berisha, Rudan reflect as finals-bound United target top-three finish
Acton shows athleticism to deny Jurman a classy finish
The Wanderers came close to opening the scoring with a delightful chipped attempt, but it wasn't one of their strikers producing the chance.
Instead it was Matt Jurman, who ventured forward from centre-half to receive the ball from O'Doherty on the tip of the box, dispatching a left-footed chip which Acton did well to scramble to tip over the bar.
Lawrie-Lattanzio threatens to finish Victory counter with a goal
A strong tackle from James Donachie on Duke set Lawrie-Lattanzio on a marauding run from inside his own half which led to a strong strike on goal from the Victory youngster.
Lawrie-Lattanzio had three attacking options to choose from but opted instead to lash a strike of his own toward goal, which Prendergast proved to be more than capable of saving.
Retiring Schwegler with a fairytale finish
It became very clear, very fast that Schwegler wasn't willing to let the final game of his career play out before punctuating it with a moment to savour.
Duke sparked the chance with a ball into the box which caused chaos; O'Doherty slipped at the front post as the cross skimmed to the feet of Simon Cox who turned to find Schwegler waiting on the tip of the box.
His first-time strike off his left boot curled around Acton and into the back of the net - Schwelger threw his arms into the sky and Wanderers players came from far and wide to embrace the 33-year-old as he put his side into the lead with a memorable goal.
Schwegler displays his confidence with shot from a corner
With a number of Wanderers players crowding Victory goalkeeper Acton, Schwegler decided to take an audacious shot from a corner kick which almost found its way into the back of the net.
But Acton - not for the first time in the game - showed his ability to deny the Wanderers with a backwards leap and an outstretched glove as he sent the ball out for another corner.
O'Doherty produces sharp finish to put Wanderers in control
A second goal was the least the Wanderers deserved for their performance throughout the first hour of play, and that's just what they got when O'Doherty connected sweetly with a low ball from Duke from the left flank to the front post.
O'Doherty got ahead of Adama Traoré to find himself in a great position but the Wanderers midfielder still had it all to do.
Fortunately for the Wanderers O'Doherty was up to the task, as he swept a first-time strike around his body, off the post past Acton and into the back of the net.
Lawrie-Lattanzio can't convert - but Nabbout can
It seemed a Victory goal was a certainty when Lawrie-Lattanzio waltzed toward the penalty spot to connect with a cross from Leigh Broxham in acres of space.
But the 18-year-old's shot was a poor one; luckily for Victory Nabbout was on hand to direct the ball back on goal and hand his side a lifeline.
There were calls for offside but with Patrick Ziegler standing too deep in the Wanderers box no such call was made as Victory moved to within one goal.
Featured NewsRead more
'They’re really stepping up': Glory young guns providing platform for veterans to shine
Richard Garcia says the sky is the limit for his brigade of rising stars, as the mix of youthful exuberance and top-shelf experienced talent blended to perfection in Perth Glory's 3-1 win over Brisbane Roar on Friday night. The spotlight shone brightly on the likes of Diego Ca
Free-scoring Perth turn on the style in classy win over Roar
Perth Glory moved into fifth on the A-League table with a 3-1 win over Brisbane Roar highlighted by a trio of well-worked goals at HBF Park on Friday night. Richard Garcia's side became the first A-League team in history to score 18 goals across the first six games of a campai
Matchweek 10 preview: Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix
Wellington Phoenix will be desperate to spark an uplift in form after slumping to the bottom of the A-League table, beginning with a win against Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday night. The Phoenix have just one win on the board to date in the 2020/21 A-League