Wellington Phoenix have capitalised on Diego Castro’s uncharacteristic fluffed penalty to score a last-ditch 2-1 win over Perth Glory.
With coach Darije Kalezic criticising his players after last weeks loss to the Western Sydney Wanderers, he handed starting debuts to three of his players: Monty Patterson, Sarpreet Singh and Tando Velaphi.
Debutant Singh started the party early with a thunderous strike just three minutes into his maiden game in the first XI. His rocket strike took most by surprise, including the goalscorer, and his teammates could scarcely believe their lead as they jubilantly mobbed the youngster.
Castro won and converted a free kick around the half hour mark to get Perth back in the contest. His pirouette just outside of the box fooled Dylan Fox into bringing him down first.
The early part of the second half was controlled by the away side, but alas they could not find a goal though, and with the Nix looking unlikely it was a Perth player who scored, but in his own net. Shane Lowry turned in Roy Krishna’s goalbound attempt at the death.
The new and the old
It was Singh who announced himself with a solid first start for the Phoenix. And it was the old hand Castro who snatched the impetus from the home side. Young Singh did not not look overawed or out of place on the A-League stage.
Castro was his usual self and was everywhere again for the away side. Then he went for the panenka penalty but Velaphi saved the attempt, an unusual error from the Spanish wizard.
Glory fail to capitalise on second half bombardment
Wellington spent the majority of the second stanza camped inside their own half and were forced to survive wave after wave of Perth attacks.
They absorbed the pressure of countless corners, shots and dangerous balls in the area. The away side threw wave after wave of attacks at an ever-tiring Phoenix defence and the pressure told enough for the Glory to win a penalty.
The pen was not converted and the Phoenix survived, somehow, until the end. This was a gutsy defensive performance by the Nix, with Velaphi in particular a standout.