Wellington Phoenix got back on track against Melbourne City at Westpac Stadium on Easter Sunday as goal scorer Roy Krishna stole the show in front of 8294 fans.
Mark Rudan’s side still dreamt of obtaining that fourth spot and home playoff final in Wellington and they knew the tie against Melbourne was a must win.
Wellington from the first minute showed the hunger and intent synonymous with Rudan's side this year as David Williams attempted to deliver the ball into a dangerous area inside the Melbourne box, only for it to run beyond his teammates.
It wasn’t long before Melbourne also showed their intent to grab the three points as both Jamie Maclaren and Riley McGree enjoyed chances on goal. They would have taken the lead if it wasn’t for Filip Kurto’s heroics, denying them both from close range.
Wellington Phoenix top goal scorer, Krishna, was in fine form yet again as he took the lead for his side after Max Burgess’s sublime pass in behind opened up the Melbourne defence. The Fijian beat Eugene Galekovic to the ball before chipping over the goalkeeper and into the empty net to provide the first goal of the evening.
It was a dominant first-half display from Wellington Phoenix and despite the McGree equaliser moments before the break, Rudan’s side looked the better one with the score at the break ending 1-1.
Into the second half and Krishna continued to rattle the away backline as the Fijian flyer powered in an effort following a promising counter-attack. Krishna picked the ball up on the edge of the box, turned and fired a low piledriver beyond Galekovic to supply the lead once again. It marked a significant milestone for the striker as it broke the record for the most goals scored in a Wellington Phoenix season, beating Jeremy Brockie’s record of 16 goals scored back in 2012/13.
The away side wasn’t done yet and after two-world class saves in a row from Kurto, the third effort from McGree passed the Polish stopper to equalise for the traveling side.
Melbourne City almost snuck a winner after Shayon Harrison’s free-kick hit the crossbar before Maclaren’s headed chance went begging from just seven-yards out.
Deep into injury time and hit man, Krishna made Melbourne pay for their missed chances as the striker scored the dramatic winner with only moments left.
A late Wellington Phoenix attack forced the ball into the six-yard box and Krishna tapped it home to secure all three points for his side as they won 3-2 and continued the dream of a home playoff final at Westpac Stadium.
Full Highlights here.
1. Filip KURTO, 4. Mandi SOSA, 11. David WILLIAMS, 13. Liberato CACACE,14. Alex RUFER, 15. Michal KOPCZYNSKI, 18. Sarpreet SINGH, 21. Roy KRISHNA, 22. Andrew DURANTE, 23. Max Burgess, 27. Steven TAYLOR
Wellington Phoenix Substitutes
56’ OFF 4. Mandi SOSA ON 7. Cillian SHERIDAN
84’ OFF 18. Sarpreet SINGH ON 17. Callan ELLIOT
90' + 1 OFF 11. David WILLIAMS ON 31. Benjamin WAINE
Melbourne City Substitutions
56’ OFF 7. Rostyn GRIFFITHS ON 15. Kearyn BACCUS
78’ OFF 27. Florin BERENGUER-BOHRER ON 21. Ramy NAJJARINE
Next Match details
Perth Glory vs. Wellington Phoenix, Sunday 28th April, HBF Park, Perth, 9:00pm NZT