2016/17 Australian A-League, 2016 Australian A-League
  • Alan BarĂ³ (72')
  • Roly Bonevacia (9', 26')
  • Shane Smeltz (89')

Phoenix stun Victory to stay alive in finals spot hunt

Wellington Phoenix were too strong for Melbourne Victory. Wellington Phoenix were too strong for Melbourne Victory.

Roly Bonevacia fired Wellington Phoenix to a 3-0 A-League win over 10-man Melbourne Victory on Sunday.

Bonevacia struck two long-range first-half goals to put the Nix in control at AAMI Park, with substitute Shane Smeltz adding a third in the 89th minute.

Wellington arrived in Melbourne as the only team with something to play for and it showed.

While Victory will end the season in second place, irrespective of results in the final three weeks, the Nix needed three points to remain in the hunt for a finals spot.

The triumph moved the Phoenix to within four points of sixth-placed Perth Glory, with two rounds of the regular season remaining.

Ex-Victory midfielder Gui Finkler laid off a pass for Bonavecia's first, with a lovely outside-of-the-boot pass.

Former Netherlands youth international Bonavecia took two touches and drilled a low effort past Lawrence Thomas.

Full of confidence, Bonevacia had another crack from 30 yards and saw his low drive find the net with the help of the post.

Finding themselves 2-0 down after 26 minutes, Victory set about the repair job.

Marco Rojas made a meal of a back-post header from Fahid Ben Khalfallah's lofted cross, and Besart Berisha fired a half-volley wide before the break.

Stoic defending from the Nix kept Victory at arm's length and the hosts' task was made all the tougher by Alan Baro's red card on 72 minutes.

The Spanish centre-back was aghast to be dismissed but could have no complaints after bringing down another Victory alumni, Kosta Barbarouses, when the Kiwi was through on goal.

While defender Daniel Georgievski put aside his pending move to Newcastle Jets with a solid effort, the same could not be said for full-back Jason Geria, who had an error-strewn match.

Smeltz ensured the match had the same scoreline as their last meeting, in January at Westpac Stadium, with a close-range finish from Thomas Doyle's cross.

The loss is Victory's first in the league at AAMI Park since February 2016, while the Nix completed their first back-to-back wins over the A-League powerhouse.

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