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Sydney Football Stadium, Australia

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Wellington Phoenix FC

  • Paul Ifill 13'

Phoenix halt Sydney FC's run

Wellington left Sydney FC's A-League finals hopes hanging by a thread with a "hit and run" 1-0 upset at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday.

An early goal to Phoenix star Paul Ifill earned the visitors a valuable three competition points as Sydney failed to capitalise despite dominating the match in front of 10,165 home fans.

Sydney were searching for a third-straight win but the loss means they drop outside the top six, leaving their finals hopes in limbo with four tough games remaining.

Sky Blues captain Terry McFlynn said the equation was now simple ahead of next Saturday's clash with table toppers Central Coast in Gosford.

"We've got four games to go, we have to win all four," McFlynn said.

"We've got to put that to bed. Forget about it as much as we can, concentrate on the game next week to Central Coast away to give us any chance of getting in the finals at all."

Sydney were left wondering how they did not salvage at least a point from the match, having dominated possession, field position and creating far more chances than their opponents

"We were just missing the quality in the penalty area," coach Vitezslav Lavicka said.

"We lost the battle but we don't give up this season. There are four games to go, we try to do our best to reach the finals."

The Phoenix, meanwhile, bounced back from two-straight losses and strengthened their claims for a top four finish.

Coach Ricki Herbert admitted his men had been forced to dig deep and praised their character.

"It was important that we stopped the losses quickly and it was all about getting the three points tonight," Herbert said.

"... It was a bit of a hit and run for us tonight but it was a superb defensive display by everybody on the pitch."

The Sky Blues had what looked a decent penalty shout turned down in the 23rd minute, when Joel Chianese was brought down by Mark Paston, but the young striker was controversially shown a yellow card for simulation.

After a bright start by Sydney, Ifill's scored against the run of play in the 13th minute.

Tony Lochhead's floated cross found Ifill inside the box and the striker did brilliantly to steer a firm header beyond Ivan Necevski.

From there it was virtually all Sydney, with Necevski only called into serious action twice including a fine second-half stop to deny Chris Greenacre from close range.

Sydney's marquee star Brett Emerton looked sharp and the Sky Blues should have equalised just before halftime when his superb cross set up Bruno Cazarine but the wasteful Brazilian headed his shot straight at Paston from close range.

Sydney's frustrations in front of goal continued throughout the second half and their evening was summed up when Michael Beauchamp fired over a virtually open goal in the dying seconds.

Scoring Summary

  • Sydney FC
  • Wellington Phoenix FC
(13') Paul Ifill

Match Stats

  • Sydney FC
  • Wellington Phoenix FC
20(8) Shots (on goal) 6(3)
7 Fouls 13
7 Corner kicks 2
2 Offsides 1
0% Time of Possession 0%
2 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
2 Saves 6


  • Sydney FC
  • Wellington Phoenix FC
Yellow Cards
Vince Lia (69')