A-League: Wellington Phoenix continue their rise, Western Sydney stop the rot

By Sports Desk March 07, 2021

Wellington Phoenix continued their rise up the A-League table with an impressive 3-0 win over Perth Glory on Sunday, before Western Sydney Wanderers ended a difficult run by beating Western United 1-0 in Geelong.

Phoenix were bottom of the pile with just five points last month but have now put together back-to-back wins that suddenly have them looking up towards the play-off spots.

Despite the scoreline, Phoenix spent much of the game under pressure but prevailed thanks to a fine performance from goalkeeper Oli Sail - whose eight saves earned him the man-of-the-match award - and clinical finishing, with Reno Piscopo opening the scoring with a fierce drive from outside the box in the 30th minute.

David Ball made it 2-0 soon after as he turned in James McGarry's cross and Perth's hopes of a dramatic turnaround were effectively ended just prior to the hour mark, Ben Waine prodding in from close range.

Wellington's next opponents, Western Sydney, secured their own morale-boosting victory a little later as they climbed up to third.

Jordon Mutch's first A-League goal in the 57th minute was the difference, as the English midfielder pounced on a defensive mistake and capitalised emphatically.

United were adamant they should have been awarded a late penalty when Simon Cox appeared to drag Besart Berisha to the floor by his shirt.

But much to the Kosovan's dismay, the decision did not go to a review and Western Sydney held on to end a run of two defeats and a draw in their previous three games.

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    They surrendered a one-goal lead in their 2-1 loss to Melbourne Victory last time out and fans would have been forgiven for thinking the writing was on the wall when Joel Chianese scored a lovely goal for Perth just past the hour.

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    But Roy O'Donovan smashed home from the spot soon after as Kosuke Ota tripped Apostolos Stamatelopoulos.

    That was ultimately enough to seal a point, but the Jets will surely feel they could have snatched victory at the end, with Matthew Millar blazing over from a fairly tight angle deep into stoppage time.

    The draw does neither side much good, with Newcastle staying 11th on 12 points and Perth one place and six points better off.

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    "On April 13, 2021 in Madrid, at 00:01 hours, at the headquarters of the Real Madrid Club de Futbol electoral board, the individuals listed at the beginning met to discuss and decide on the matters listed below," the statement read.

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    ROUND-UP

    - Serbia international Sergei Milinkovic-Savic has garnered interest from European giants Manchester United, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The midfielder is contracted with Lazio until 2024.

    - Manchester United may have missed out on Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho last off-season but they are set to revive their interest, says the Manchester Evening News.

    - Calciomercato reports that French winger Ousmane Dembele is open to joining Juventus from Barcelona in the next transfer window.

    - Tottenham are making their move to sign off-contract Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng, reports Sky Germany.

    - Arsenal have joined the race to sign Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard, alongside Leicester City, according to the Telegraph.

    - Tuttosport says Torino's Italy international forward Andrea Belotti is being courted by Chelsea, Everton, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid.

    - Fiorentina want to hire Gennaro Gattuso from Napoli as their next coach, claims Sky Sport Italia. Gattuso is out of contract at Napoli at the end of the season.

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