<
>
2016/17 Australian A-League, 2016 Australian A-League
  • Nicolás Martínez (9')
  • Brendon Santalab (39', 48')
  • Guilherme Finkler (76')

Brendon Santalab stars as Western Sydney beat Wellington Phoenix

Western Sydney celebrate one of Brendon Santalab's goals. Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Western Sydney have finally broken their Spotless Stadium curse after five months and seven attempts.

The Wanderers disposed of a hapless Wellington 3-1 to mark their first win at their temporary home venue that had, until Sunday, hosted five draws and one loss.

There weren't many there to see it, but the season-low 7,828 crowd were rewarded with Brendon Santalab's 33rd and 34th goals for the club, which take the 34-year-old past Mark Bridge (32) as their all-time leading goal scorer.

It caps a fine week during which they claimed their first Asian Champions League points against FC Seoul in Korea.

The Kiwis were outplayed and Adam Parkhouse was bizarrely substituted on 30 minutes after coming off second-best to Jumpei Kusukami. The speedy Japanese winger went past several opponents, yet his industry was plagued by poor decision-making and yielded little more than hitting the post.

Brendon Santalab missed a header and Jack Clisby was twice denied by Phoenix goalkeeper Glen Moss as the Wanderers bore down upon the visitors.

However, Moss had no answer to Nico Martinez. The Argentine playmaker hit a first-time shot into the right corner after Scott Neville found him at the edge of the box.

They were given a generous helping hand by Wellington's woeful defence, which contributed to Santalab's goals either side of half-time.

They were too slow to track Mitch Nichols as he burst forward and pinged a pass to the veteran striker, who took a dummy touch with his right boot before shooting with his left.

After the break, Clisby crossed across the face of goal for Martinez, who cut back to Santalab for a header to seal his second double in as many games against the Phoenix.

The game had all the makings of a whitewash, and Terry Antonis should have added to the scoreline when he dragged a shot wide of an open goal on the counter-attack.

But Gui Finkler ensured it wouldn't be so with 15 minutes to play, curling a free kick past the wall and a diving Vedran Janjetovic at the far post.

Lucky for the Wanderers, the lifeline amounted to nothing and Finkler's second free kick on 87 minutes was awry.

The result lifts Tony Popovic's side to 28 points, five ahead of the Phoenix in seventh and four behind fifth-placed Perth.

A-League News