Wellington have moved up to fifth on the A-League Men ladder with a goal to Mexican Gael Sandoval giving them a 1-0 win over last-placed Perth in Sydney.
A Gael Sandoval winner ensured Wellington will make their long-awaited return to New Zealand in the A-League Men top six after a 1-0 victory over last-placed Perth.
Perth Glory - Wellington Phoenix
- Phoenix beat Glory by a scoreline of 1-0 on Wednesday evening.
- Wellington now return to play in New Zealand after more than 300 days away.
- Glory are now eliminated from the finals race, remaining in last place. Nix have risen to fifth in the ladder.
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Mexican Sandoval's strong 48th minute shot from just inside the area took at least one deflection on its way past Perth's milestone man Liam Reddy. who was making his 400th Australian domestic league appearance.
Gael Sandoval is back on the scoresheet 💥— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) April 13, 2022
A series of deflections gives @WgtnPhoenixFC the lead against @PerthGloryFC in Kogarah.
Follow live: https://t.co/Xvt838yVfv#PERvWEL #WeAreALeagues pic.twitter.com/9VkUVUEwqH
The win at Sydney's Netstrata Jubilee Stadium lifted Wellington one spot to fifth above Sydney FC and left them just one point behind Adelaide, who have played two more games.
Phoenix, who haven't played in New Zealand for more than 300 days, will host matches in Wellington and Auckland.
"It wasn't a complete performance, but it was enough to get us over the line tonight," Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay said.
"To get the win and the three points is massive for us moving forward towards the back end of the season.
"The boys will be pretty excited heading to New Zealand and playing a couple of games over there."
Glory, whose ranks have been devastated by injuries, suffered a fourth straight defeat and are winless in their past 13, having lost 10 of those games.
Perth may have to fly over more players for Saturday's clash with Western United in Tasmania.
That will be Glory's seventh match in three weeks, with five of those on the road and just two or three rest days between each of those games.
"For me its just not good enough to have these short turnarounds especially on the road," coach Ruben Zadkovich said.
"Player safety is at jeopardy and the injury total goes to somewhere near 15 now for us."
Zadkovich was proud of the effort of what he thought was probably one of the youngest ALM teams ever fielded.
A number of Perth's younger players, including debutants Jacob Muir and Chris Donnell, weren't even born at the time 40-year-old Reddy started his senior career.
Wellington were dominant in the first half, when they had 70 per cent of possession in rainy conditions.
Perth worked hard and defended well to deny them close range opportunities.
Phoenix had eight shots in the first 45 minutes but Reddy was called into action just twice, saving efforts from Sandoval and Jaushua Sotirio.
Sandoval's goal galvanised Perth, who after failing to have a shot in the first half fired in three off target efforts in the two minutes after going behind.
Antonee Burke-Gilroy powered a 71st minute shot over the bar just seconds before being substituted and substitute Callum Timmins went close with an 89th minute long range shot.
Perth's already extensive injury list grew by two with Trent Ostler coming off in the 35th minute and Jack Clisby in the 57th.
The full A-League Men's schedule can be found using this link.