Wellington Phoenix produced a blistering start in the first half and a defensive masterclass in the second as the home side ground out a convincing win against the City Blues.
Mark Rudan’s team were hungry for a win after their unbeaten run had been stalled in mid-week and that determination was on show as they came out the blocks the better side.
Sarpreet Singh, who was back in the starting XI this week, tried to set Roy Krishna free in behind but Melbourne City defender Harrison Delbridge made a vital interception to cut it out.
Shortly after and Wellington Phoenix found themselves with the lead after Liberato Cacace crossed into David Williams who produced a world-class half-volley to finish into the top corner.
Krishna was lively all game and produced a chance for the New Zealand teenager, Cacace. The in-form striker drove into the box and cut back for the Kiwi international but City goalkeeper Galekovic cut it out and smothered the ball.
There were plenty of chances for the front three before the break as Williams looked to add another to his already impressive tally.
A counter attack that started with Singh, came to Krishna whose attempted lay off for Williams was cut out by the Melbourne City defence.
The visitors looked to respond in the second half as they pushed Wellington Phoenix back after the break.
Rostyn Griffiths played a searching ball in behind that Richie De Laet latched on to, shooting just wide into the side netting.
Wellington Phoenix Goalkeeper, Filip Kurto, produced his best performance of the season, denying Melbourne City several times in the second half as the away side looked to threaten with an equalizer.
Melbourne City’s Kearyn Baccus thought he had levelled for his side only for Kurto to produce an outstanding save to deny the midfielder.
Substitute Moudi Najjar thought he had broken Wellington Phoenix hearts when he found himself in the box but again Kurto pulled off a world-class save to keep his side’s lead intact.
Head Coach, Mark Rudan will be extremely proud of his team as they defended resolutely in numbers to preserve that lead and keep all three points as the run to the final continues.
Full Highlights here.
— Wellington Phoenix (@WgtnPhoenixFC) January 26, 2019
1. Filip KURTO, 4. Mandi SOSA, 11. David WILLIAMS, 13. Liberato CACACE,14. Alex RUFER, 16. Louis FENTON, 18. Sarpreet SINGH, 19. Tom DOYLE, 21. Roy KRISHNA, 22. Andrew DURANTE, 27. Steven TAYLOR
Wellington Phoenix Substitutes
67’ OFF 11. David WILLIAMS 7. Cillian SHERIDAN
88’ OFF 4. Mandi SOSA 15. Michal KOPCZYNSKI
90+5’ OFF 18. Sarpreet SINGH 23. Max BURGESS
Melbourne City Substitutions
67’ OFF 27. Florin BERENGUER-BOHRER 30. Moudi NAJJAR
77’ OFF 2. Richie DE LAET 21. Ramy NAJJARINE
Next Match details
Perth Glory vs Wellington Phoenix, Sunday 3rd Feb, HBF Park, Perth, 12:00am(NZT)