Sport

Lia’s Phoenix jumps into top six

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January 19, 2017

Melbourne Victory dynamo Besart Berisha gives Wellington Phoenix veteran Vince Lia the slip at Westpac Stadium.

Vince Lia’s Wellington Phoenix may have just kick-started its A-League season after comprehensively defeating Melbourne Victory 3-0 at home on Tuesday night.

The Tatura talent returned to the Phoenix line-up for the rescheduled encounter, after missing last week’s win over Central Coast due to suspension.

Lia featured prominently on his return, but it was a game of firsts for Wellington as Dutchman Roly Bonevacia scored the opening goal and his first for the season, while right back Jacob Tratt also scored his first goal in the A-League.

Former Victory winger Kosta Barbarouses added further salt to the wounds after also scoring his first goal against his old club.

Bonevacia opened the scoring for the Phoenix, when a late run into the six-yard box had him tap home for Wellington, capping off a dominant first 30 minutes.

With chances coming thick and fast, the New Zealander side had to wait longer then expected, as it secured the three vital points in the 89th minute.

Tratt, an imposing defensive figure, sent fans at Westpac Stadium into raptures when he headed home the decisive second goal.

Two soon became three for Phoenix as Barbarouses capped off a great team performance with a wonderful goal.

The diminutive figure won the ball back on the halfway line, before unleashing a 25m strike into the bottom corner, leaving Victory goalkeeper Laurence Thomas rooted to the spot.

If not for Thomas, Victory’s best player, the travelling side may have found themselves in further trouble as the shot stopper pulled of a number of decent saves to try and keep his side in the contest.

The second straight win helped Wellington jump into the top six, while Victory remains five points adrift of Sydney FC in second place.

The Phoenix next hosts the Brisbane Roar on Saturday.

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