Western Sydney Wanderers clinched second place in the regular A-League season thanks to a 2-0 win over Wellington Phoenix.
Tony Popovic’s side sealed the win which takes them above Brisbane Roar in the table and guarantees them a bye past the elimination finals, thanks to two goals from Brendon Santalab in the first half.
Andrew Redmayne made two fine saves to deny Wellington shortly before Santalab squeezed home Romeo Castelen’s cross, and the two combined again just before the break to secure the victory.
Michael McGlinchey and Roly Bonevacia both hit the post for the home side, who bade farewell to the retiring Ben Sigmund and imminent Melbourne City signing Manny Muscat.
“We’ve picked up 48 points which is the second-most we’ve picked up so we’ve had a fantastic season,” Popovic said afterwards. “It’s a credit to everyone.
“We’ll digest this, enjoy the victory, enjoy where we finished and [then] we’ve got two weeks of hard work to be ready for whoever comes to Parramatta.”
Wellington boss Ernie Merrick backed Western Sydney to go all the way to the Grand Final, adding: “They’re a good team and Tony Popovic is a good coach. I’m tipping they’ll make the final with Melbourne Victory or someone like that. That was a tough game for them to come over here.”
Perth Glory spectacularly blew their chance of securing a home elimination final next weekend after they were beaten 4-0 by 10-man Sydney FC.
David Carney took advantage of some penalty-box pinball to slot the home side into the lead just after half an hour, before Filip Holosko’s fine solo run and finish made it 2-0 just five minutes later.
Holosko was dismissed for a second yellow card with 12 minutes to play but Sydney twice hit the visitors on the break to secure an emphatic win. Ali Abbas raced clear before drilling the ball home before Milos Ninkovic turned in Andrew Hoole’s cross in stoppage time.
The victory ends an 11-game winless league run for the home side, who finish seventh, while the Glory must settle for fifth place in the standings.