Phoenix and Victory play out thrilling draw in Auckland
Keisuke Honda has come off the bench to convert a penalty to help Melbourne Victory get a 1-1 draw against Wellington Phoenix in front of a record crowd at Eden Park.
In an entertaining affair in Auckland, Roy Krishna scored his 12th goal of the campaign to have Phoenix on course for a massive three points.
But Honda, who came off the bench 10 minutes after the break, showed all his experience and class to convert a penalty soon after to salvage a point for the visitors.
The match was played in front of a crowd of 23,648 fans, which is Phoenix’s biggest-ever crowd in a non-finals match and is also the fifth biggest attendance of the 2018/19 Season.
These two sides have already played out a couple of thrillers this season and this one started in similar fashion as it was end-to-end stuff in the first half.
But it was Victory creating most of the good chances, with Filip Kurto showing his class denying first Kenny Athiu early on, before stopping James Troisi’s close-range effort on the half-hour mark.
Phoenix’s best chance of the first-half came seven minutes before the break when Liberato Cacace’s low cross found Krishna inside the six-yard box but the Fijian couldn’t get a decisive touch.
Kurto came up with another huge save to keep out Athiu’s deflected effort early in the second-half before Krishna made the breakthrough on 57 minutes.
Storm Roux failed to deal with Sarpreet Singh’s cross from the right, with Krishna reacting quickest to smash the ball past a stranded Lawrence Thomas.
The Victory keeper got the better of the Fijian soon after, somehow getting down low to deny Krishna a tap-in at the far post after a slick Phoenix counter attack.
It proved a huge moment in the match as Victory would get their equaliser just six minutes later.
After Leigh Broxham was sandwiched in the box by Louis Fenton and Krishna, Honda coolly converted the penalty to draw the visitors level and ensure these two played out a draw for the third time this season.