Wellington Phoenix had bigger plans in mind as Mark Rudan fielded a youthful side that fell to defeat against Perth Glory at HBF Park on Sunday night.
Mark Rudan’s side had long secured Hyundai A-League Finals football as they headed into a tough away fixture against a strong Perth Glory side and it didn’t take long for Perth to prove their season was well deserved.
Early in the half and Liam Reddy’s blushes were spared after nearly mis-controlling a pass back into his own net, only for the goalkeeper to recover and clear for a Wellington Phoenix corner.
Moments later and after young Kiwi goalkeeper, Oli Sail produced a world-class double save, the home side found the lead through striker Andy Keogh. The Irishman headed in from close-range after Sail had made a fantastic initial save.
The home side doubled their lead shortly after the half-hour mark as Keogh again headed home from close-range.
Wellington Phoenix Youngsters, Benjamin Waine and Gianni Stensness were starting their first Hyundai A-League game, and both confirmed why they were a big part of Rudan's side in the campaign recently. The former looked extremely lively up front alongside Cillian Sheridan.
Waine came close to scoring his first goal as he drove into the home box, attempting to wriggle free of the Perth defensive line but his eventual effort went over the bar.
The young attacker had another chance moments later, as he bared down on goal after a perfect through ball from Sheridan. Unfortunately, he couldn’t lift his finish over Reddy and the goalkeeper cleared for a corner.
The half time break arrived as Perth Glory led 2-0.
Into the second half and Waine enjoyed another chance as he connected with a David Williams cross from the right but unfortunately it deflected off Perth defender, Dino Djulbic.
Perth Glory Captain, Diego Castro got himself on the scoresheet and put his team 3-0 up after Ivan Franjic laid it off for him in the 18-yard box.
Congratulations to Striker, Roy Krishna who was substituted on for Cillian Sheridan in the second half and despite not scoring, he cemented his spot as the Hyundai A-League golden boot winner for the 2018/19 season after finding the net 18 times.
A further two goals for the Premiers thanks to Christopher Ikonomidis and Brendon Santalab, confirmed their 5-0 win and the three points.
All eyes are now on Wellington Phoenix's Hyundai A-League 2019 Elimination Final this Friday 3 May 2019 as Rudan looks for Grand final glory.
Full highlights here.
20. Oliver SAIL (gk) 4. Mandi SOSA, 5. Ryan LOWRY, 7. Cillian SHERIDAN, 11. David WILLIAMS, 12. Antony GOLEC, 13. Liberato CACACE, 18. Sarpreet SINGH, 27. Steven TAYLOR (c), 31. Ben WAINE, 32. Gianni STENSNESS
Wellington Phoenix Substitutes
61’ OFF 11. David WILLIAMS ON 21. Roy KRISHNA
61’ OFF 7. Cillian SHERIDAN ON 15. Michal KOPCZYNSKI
69’ OFF 4. Mandi SOSA ON 23. Max BURGESS
Perth Glory Substitutions
67’ OFF 19. Chris IKONOMIDIS ON 7. Joel CHIANESE
70’ OFF 9. Andrew KEOGH ON 11. Brendan SANTALAB
83’ OFF 88. Neil KILKENNY ON 29. Kristian POPOVIC
Hyundai A-League 2019 Elimination Final 1
Date: Friday, 3 May 2019
Fixture: Melbourne Victory (3) v Wellington Phoenix (6)
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-off Time: 7.50pm (AEST) 9.50pm (NZT)