Western Sydney Wanderers have consolidated sixth spot in the Hyundai A-League with an impressive 3-1 win over Wellington Phoenix at Spotless Stadium on Sunday night.
A brace from Brendon Santalab and an early strike from Nico Martinez helped Tony Popovic’s side to a comfortable victory, their first of the season at their adopted home ground.
The Wanderers raced out of the blocks and took a deserved lead inside 10 minutes with Argentine star Nico Martinez firing home from the edge of the box.
The hosts continued to dominate proceedings and doubled their advantage just five minutes before the interval with Brendon Santalab netting a powerful strike.
The procession continued after the break with Santalab extending the hosts’ lead with a close-range finish just three minutes into the second half.
Wellington continued to fight and grabbed a consolation in the final 15 minutes with Gui Finkler netting a well-taken free kick.
The win leaves Western Sydney five points clear of seventh-placed Wellington and six ahead of Newcastle Jets with four rounds remaining.
1-0 Western Sydney Wanderers: Nico Martinez, 9’
Wanderers fullback Scott Neville won a loose ball inside the Phoenix area with the ricochet finding Martinez who expertly slotted the ball into the bottom corner from just inside the box.
2-0 Western Sydney Wanderers: Brendon Santalab, 40’
Mitch Nichols surged forward down the left flank and picked out Santalab on the edge of the area with the striker taking a touch before firing a powerful left-footed strike past Phoenix keeper Glen Moss.
3-0 Western Sydney Wanderers: Brendon Santalab, 48’
Jack Clisby found Nico Martinez inside the area with the Argentine dinking the ball to the back post with Santalab on hand to bury a close-range header.
3-1 Wellington Phoenix: Gui Finkler, 76’
The Phoenix won a free kick 25 metres from goal with the Brazilian stepping up to curl a delightful strike into the right corner, leaving Janjetovic stranded.
Wellington almost pulled a goal back just before the break with Wanderers keeper Vedran Janjetovic denying the visitors with a smart reflex save. A long-range strike from Kosta Barbarouses took a wicked deflection and was destined for the back of the net but Janjetovic was able to quickly change direction and parry the ball clear.
- Western Sydney Wanderers have won five of their last seven clashes with Wellington Phoenix
- Santalab’s brace moved him ahead of Mark Bridge as Western Sydney’s all-time leading goal-scorer with 29 goals.