Rising Phoenix plot move into Finals contention
Wellington Phoenix's rise from the depths of the Hyundai A-League table comes as no surprise to a trio of the Kiwi club's star players.
The ‘Nix notched their first away win of the season on Sunday with an upset 2-1 win over in-form Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium to move off the bottom of the ladder.
The result was the second win in as many weeks for Ufuk Talay’s side as they look to get their season back on track after taking just a single point from their opening five matches.
They now move to ninth in the competition standings, but are just one point shy of a sixth-placed Brisbane Roar side they defeated in Round 7.
After conceding the opening goal prior to the hour, the Phoenix rallied with a quick one-two punch that stunned a Reds outfit that had won their past four matches.
Englishman David Ball netted his maiden Hyundai A-League goal with a neat finish from Jaushua Sotirio’s low cross to commence the fightback, before Ulises Davila wrapped up the points with a penalty just four minutes later.
Speaking post-match, Ball told FOX Sports he never doubted that his side would find their feet after settling into the stewardship of Talay.
“I’m delighted for the boys. It’s first away win and it’s obviously a tough place to come and I’m just delighted for everyone,” the Manchester City youth product said.
He added: “We’re a young group and just needed that little bit of confidence in what we are doing and we are getting that now. You can obviously see it on the pitch.”
All Whites international midfielder Alex Rufer was instrumental in the build-up to his side’s opening goal, and said he never doubted the results would come.
He now believes his side have the opportunity to prove themselves as finals contenders.
“I’m really happy about winning and hopefully we keep rolling on and make the top six,” Rufer told FOX Sports.
He added: “We have some really good players. Everyone on the team sheet is doing really well and playing well.
“We just have to keep improving, keep getting better and we will really hurt some teams.”
Liberato Cacace won the penalty to seal the points for the Phoenix and said the next task is ensuring Wellington build on the win with a home-away-from-home fixture against Western Sydney Wanderers in Auckland next up.
“Back-to-back wins gives us all confidence now heading into Eden Park and hopefully we can pick up another three points,” Cacace said.
Wellington Phoenix play host to Western Sydney Wanderers at Eden Park, Auckland, in Round 9. Kick-off on Saturday, 7 December is at 5pm AEDT.
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