Wellington Phoenix 1 – 1 Perth Glory
Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory were forced to share the spoils at Westpac Stadium as Roy Krishna’s record-breaking goal was cancelled out by super-sub Diego Castro.
It was a performance Mark Rudan described as his side’s best yet albeit concedes the players “had their heads in their hands” after the result did not go their way.
The Phoenix were controversially reduced to ten men as substitute Ryan Lowry was sent off after his tackle on Chris Ikonomides was reviewed by the VAR.
Lowry’s tackle has been described as innocuous and the decision to reprimand has only exacerbated the heat around the VAR.
Prior to this incident signs were looking promising for the Phoenix who had not registered a win since the opening round.
Despite losing goalkeeper Filip Kurto in the 19th minute due to injury the Phoenix had the better of the chances in the first half and should have led earlier than they did with Nathan Burns missing a golden chance early.
Though the home side were rewarded for their persistence as Roy Krishna scored his 34th Phoenix goal which makes him the club’s leading goal scorer, surpassing Paul Ifill.
It was always going to be an arduous task for the Phoenix to hold the league leaders with ten men and this proved to be too difficult as Diego Castro scored his first goal for the season.
It was the Spaniard’s second game of the new season, coming on midway through the second half to replace Joel Chianese.
A win would have seen the Phoenix jump back in the top six but now sit in 9th equal with Western Sydney and Newcastle on five points, whereas the Glory move two points clear on top of the table.
Melbourne City 3-0 Newcastle Jets
Bruno Fornaroli may have been sitting in the stands but this did not faze Melbourne City who were not without firepower as they defeated the Newcastle Jets 3-0 at AAMI Park.
Neither team played a recognised striker and it showed with both sides struggling to create chances inside their respective areas.
But when those few chances came, they were put away in style.
As he did in this fixture last season Riley McGree created something out of nothing, controlling a wayward corner with his thigh before finishing with a half volley and sending the home fans into raptures two minutes in.
McGree was a standout, combining well with fullback Ritchie De Laet down the right-hand side to create many problems for the Jets defence.
Newcastle found their way back into the match as the half progressed with Ronald Vargas and Dimitri Petratos attempting to galvanise their side albeit this fightback was put to an end right-on half-time courtesy of a Luke Brattan volley.
Brattan’s volley pipping McGree’s as the goal of the night and ensured the home side went into the break with a healthy advantage.
It was much the same in the second half as City dominated possession and Eugene Galekovic only having to make routine saves.
The match was ultimately put to bed when Lachlan Wales scored his inaugural A-League goal with a cheeky dink after being played through by Ritchie De Laet.
Wales, who had been rotating with Dario Vidosic up front, was relieved with his performance and earned the praise of Warren Joyce after the match.
“He does everything he can to be as fit as he possibly can be and he’s an intelligent player,” Joyce said.
“He lives the life of a footballer.”
The win ensures City remains in touch with Perth Glory whereas the Jets remain one point outside the top six.