Phoenix Edge Closer to Title with Victory Over Brisbane Roar

Wellington Phoenix Goal Keeper, Alex Paulsen, plucks the ball from the sky in his stand out performance against Brisbane.
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The Wellington Phoenix have taken a significant step towards their first A-League title, defeating Brisbane Roar 1-0 at Sky Stadium, moving six points clear at the top with only four rounds left. Bozhidar Kraev’s early goal set the tone for a tightly contested match, keeping the Nix’s title aspirations firmly on track.

Phoenix celebrate goal scorer, Bozhidar Kraev. 

Kraev’s decisive strike, just 76 seconds in, followed a spellbinding sequence of 26 uninterrupted passes, showcasing the Phoenix’s tactical prowess. Despite Brisbane’s spirited response and several chances to level the score, Wellington’s defence, led by goalkeeper Alex Paulsen, remained impenetrable.

Alex Rufer sent off in the 81st minute, as tensions come to a boil.

Phoenix head coach Giancarlo Italiano praised his team’s performance amidst challenging circumstances due to the international break. “I’m delighted we got the three points,” Italiano said, highlighting the team’s resilience and strategic player rotations to manage fatigue. The victory matched Wellington’s best-ever points tally of 46, a target set by the team earlier in the season.

However, the match was not without controversy. Captain Alex Rufer’s late sending-off, deemed “a bit harsh” by Italiano, added tension to the final minutes. The red card, decided after VAR intervention, did not deter the Phoenix from securing a clean sheet and pressing forward.

Italiano also commended the squad’s depth, with strategic changes to the starting XI showcasing the team’s adaptability. Brisbane Roar, while creating opportunities, couldn’t capitalise, largely due to Paulsen’s heroics in goal and Wellington’s disciplined defensive structure.

As the final whistle neared, Wellington managed to create further chances, nearly extending their lead, but ultimately, Kraev’s early goal proved sufficient. The focus now shifts to a critical match against the Central Coast Mariners, a game that could potentially seal the premiership for the Phoenix.

The Wellington community and fans at Sky Stadium witnessed a team inching closer to a historic achievement, with anticipation building for what could be a landmark season for the Phoenix.