Central defender Ben Sigmund capped another outstanding performance with his second goal of the Hyundai A-League season as the Wellington Phoenix beat Sydney FC 4-2 at the Westpac Stadium today.
Sigmund-s powerful header from a corner was just as vital as the 87th minute winner he netted against Perth as it put the home side back in front after a 64th minute goal by Bruno Cazarine had got Sydney back on level terms at 2-2.
The game got off to a bad start for the Phoenix. After making all the early running they were stung by Sydney taking the ;lead.
Tony Warner pulled off a fantastic save to deny m,Mark Bridge but the goalkeeper-s heroics were undone when Vince Lia handled from the subsequent corner and Sydney-s marquee man Brett Emerton coolly despatched the penalty.
Ten minute later the Phoenix were on level terms with Daniel scoring from the penalty spot after a Sydney defender had handled.
Spaniard Dani Sanchez, who is fast becoming a fan favourite put Wellington in front with a lovely finish just before halftime and it was no more than the home side deserved.
The Phoenix lost some of their spark in the second spell but still continued to create chances only for Sydney to catch them on the break with Cazarine equalising with a shot that squirmed under under Warner-s body.
Then came Sigmund-s 78th minute goal and substitute Paul Ifill added the icing to the cake when he powered home an injury time goal.
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert described his team-s performance as “okay”.
“We-ve played okay before and got nothing from it, but today we showed great character to come back and win it,” Herbert said.
“We were very good in patches but the most important thing was the points. It was a good way to start 2012.
“We-ve had a lot of games over the Christmas period and the fatigue factor was always going to kick in.
“I think we-ll have to be careful how we manage the squad over the next couple of days with a tough game against Perth coming up on Sunday.”
Captain Andrew Durante was delighted that the three points had moved the Phoenix into fourth spot on the ladder but agreed that there was some tired legs among the team.
“I think that was why we allowed them back into the game,” Durante said.
He also paid tribute to his central defensive partner Sigmund.
“Ben has been brilliant all year. He works hard every game and is great to play alongside.”
Herbert had a few words of praise for Sanchez.
“Dani has that X factor that can decide tight games for us,” he said.
Wellington Phoenix 4 (Daniel pen, D Sanchez, B Sigmund, P. Ifill), Sydney FC 2 (B Emerton pen, B Cazarine). HT: 2-1.