Soccer: Phoenix to play Perth Glory in minor semifinal

Paul Ifill and Vince Lia of the Phoenix celebrate the winning goal on Friday night. Photo /Getty Images
Paul Ifill and Vince Lia of the Phoenix celebrate the winning goal on Friday night. Photo /Getty Images

The Wellington Phoenix will play their A-League minor semifinal against the Perth Glory on Saturday.

The Glory won the right to host the Phoenix thanks to a second-half Shane Smeltz hat-trick in their 3-0 victory over Melbourne Heart at Nib Stadium late last night.

The winner of the minor semifinal will progress to the grand final qualifier against the loser of the major semifinal played between Central Coast Mariners and the Brisbane Roar.

The fixture against the Phoenix is intriguing since it was the New Zealand side which eliminated the Glory in their only other A-League finals appearance, although coach Ian Ferguson said he would not be using that as motivation.

That didn't apply to Smeltz, though, who has scored seven goals in the past eight days.

"I'm quite close to a lot of the boys there and [Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert] as well. It's going to be an exciting week and one I'm really looking forward to," Smeltz, who played 39 matches for the Phoenix, said.

"A hat-trick in our first home final was brilliant ... it's something I'll always remember," he said.

"It was a little bit concerning coming in at half-time. But when we got that first goal it really opened up after that.

"I have to give credit to everyone else in the squad because they all lifted and played their part."

- APNZ

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