The curse has been lifted for the Western Sydney Wanderers. After nine losses and four draws this A-League season, the Wanderers finally bagged three points with a 2-0 win over Wellington Phoenix in front of 12,663 fans in Penrith on Sunday afternoon.
A brilliant strike from Nikita Rukavystya from inside the box in the 18th minute looked to be the difference as the willing Wanderers fended off a second half surge from the Phoenix, before Brendon Santalab doubled the lead in added time.
What they said
“It feels good considering what’s happened this season. Every club goes through hard times and definitely we’re going through that at the moment. When you’re down the bottom things are tough and you’ve got to grind things out sometimes and we did that tonight in front of a great crowd here in Penrith.” – Western Sydney forward Brendon Santalab
“I think that second half we did enough to at least get a draw and at the end end when we conceded we were just trying to push too hard and get that equlaiser and we got exposed at the back. I’m not too disappointed in terms of the effort and performance. I think we did pretty well.” – Wellington Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund
18’ Nikita Rukavystya 1-0 – After threatening a couple of times, the Wanderers finally got the ball into the box from a Labinot Haliti cross and the Phoenix defence was caught napping. Rukavystya was able to control, turn and whack a shot past Glen Moss, finally breaking his goal-scoring drought.
91’ Brendon Santalab 2-0 – Substitute Nick Kalmar found himself in space in the box, cut it back and crossed to an unmarked Santalab who touched home the easiest finish of his life to seal the game.
With six minutes left on the clock, Roly Bonevacia fired a free-kick from just outside the box. The ball ricocheted into a few players and the Nix appealed ferociously for a handball, but the ref didn’t buy it. Two minutes later Burns was bought down in the box, but again, the ref remained unconvinced.
Opta Data Stats
It was a mammoth second half defensive effort from a desperate WSW side. The Phoenix ended the match with 60% possession, 23 crosses to 13 and 430 passes to 288 but couldn’t find a way to goal.