Sport

Wellington Phoenix let big lead slip away

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April 18, 2017

Vince Lia’s Wellington Phoenix played out a scintillating seven-goal thriller on Sunday.

On the eve of the A-League finals, Brisbane Roar and Vince Lia’s Wellington Phoenix played out a scintillating seven-goal thriller on Sunday.

The Tatura export started at the heart of a back three for the travelling Phoenix as they went from a 3-1 half-time lead to lose 4-3.

With nothing to play for, Wellington opened the scoring in a dominant first half display before former Socceroo Brett Holman turned back the clock.

The 33-year-old scored twice in typical Holman fashion with a long-range strike beating Lewis Italiano, before doing much the same after half-time, scoring another long-range goal but this time into the bottom left-hand corner.

Heading into the penultimate round, Brisbane needed a win to secure a home final and John Aloisi’s men came out firing in the second half.

Roar halved the deficit through Brandon Borrello in the 51st minute, before league leading goalscorer Jamie Maclaren tied the scores just two minutes later.

Maclaren found himself lurking at the front post before blasting home Tommy Oar’s cross into the roof of the net to take his season tally to 19 goals in 27 games.

Roar then completed the turn around within 22 minutes of the restart following Holman’s second goal and as a result cemented a home final and a potential Asian Champions League play-off spot.

In a disappointing night defensively for the visitors, Lia was one of Wellington’s best despite giving away a penalty on Maclaren, although the diminutive forward failed to convert from the spot.

Lia, who has been at the club for 10 seasons now, could have played his 197th and final game for Wellington with the midfielder now out of contract.

Lia told The News last month that his future at the club was still undecided, but he would love to continue to play for Wellington in the A-League.

The Phoenix are under the tutelage of caretaker co-coaches Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre, and it was believed Lia’s future will be decided once a permanent manager takes reign of the seventh ranked side.

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