Western Sydney Wanderers FC have been defeated 2-1 by Wellington Phoenix in Round 9 of the Hyundai A-League at Eden Park on Saturday night.
Desperately unfortunate to be down a goal after former Wanderer Jaushua Sotirio scored just after half-time, the Red & Black fought hard to get back into the game and were rewarded when Nicolai Muller leveled up on 64th minute after some neat work from Daniel Georgievski.
However, the Wanderers were cruelly brought undone late in the game when Phoenix were awarded a controversial penalty following the intervention of the VAR.
Referee Daniel Elder had allowed play to go on after a Phoenix shot was deflected off Pirmin Schwegler’s arm in the box.
But, after reviewing a replay, the referee awarded the penalty, which was subsequently converted.
The Red & Black produced a superb and dominant first half against the home side, creating numerous chances, but a combination of superb goalkeeping from Marinkovic and some desperate defending meant they went goalless in the first 45 minutes.
Kwame Yeboah was denied twice in the first 10 minutes, first when he drilled a powerful effort just wide of the far post then when Marinkovic showed bravery to get a hand to the ball as Yeboah was bearing down on him.
Muller, who had his best game for the club, then had two chances in the space of nine minutes. He rifled one effort just past the post then forced Marinkovic into a superb save.
The statistics were telling for the half with the Wanderers having had six shots and 65 percent of possession while Phoenix managed a single effort on goal.
There was plenty of drama in a fiery second half as yellow cards were shown to a number of players from both sides.
Wanderers captain Mitchell Duke finished the game with his head swathed in bandages after he suffered a nasty head knock just above the eye that left him bleeding profusely.
As the Wanderers pushed hard to find a winner, they were left exposed at the back and Daniel Lopar was forced to make a string of stunning saves.