Wellington Phoenix 3
Melbourne Victory 0

On this form, it won't matter where, or when, the Phoenix have to play next.

Whether it's Bendigo or Broome, Dubbo or Darwin, Ufuk Talay's men will surely go marching on, given the manner of this 3-0 win over Melbourne Victory.

The Covid-19 outbreak means they will lose the opportunity to stage their last two home games, as well as a one, or more, finals games in the capital, with the team set to be based across the Tasman, though they will also face a 14-day self-isolation period after entering Australia which means their next two fixtures are set to be re-scheduled.


That's a significant blow, but on the evidence of this performance, far from insurmountable.

This was another clinical display, laced with some touches of magic, especially the goals to Ulises Davila, Gary Hooper and David Ball.

These are heady times; who can remember a Phoenix game against the Victorian team where the win was assured with more than 30 minutes to play?

But that's what happened, with Ball's wonderful solo strike in the 55th minute sealing the result.

Premium gold

After some patchy displays in the first month of so of 2020, the Phoenix have well and truly found their groove recently.

And the pleasing thing for Phoenix fans, is the team can still get better — quite a bit better.

This Victory side aren't the team that we have become accustomed to over the last decade, and they also missed captain and key striker Ola Toivonen, who was benched until the 55th minute due to a hamstring strain.

However, they still have a roster full of talent, including in-form All Whites midfielder Marco Rojas, but were outplayed for long periods.


The Phoenix's patient passing meant they retained possession, even in tight areas, before hitting the accelerator in the final third.

The home side made a brilliant start. Tim Payne made progress on the right, and his cross was headed back into the path of Ulises Davila, who smashed home on the volley from six yards in the third minute.

It was a double celebration for the Mexican, whose wife gave birth to their first child earlier this week, and he did well to control the shot, as other players might have blazed over.

In front of the biggest crowd of the season in the capital, things got even better in the 21st minute, with another superb goal.

Liberato Cacace floated a ball into no mans land in the box, and Hooper showed wonderful awareness, and no little skill, to jump and head the ball over Lawrence Thomas in the Victory goal, despite facing the wrong way.

Gary Hooper of the Phoenix celebrates scoring against the Victory. Photo / Photosport
Gary Hooper of the Phoenix celebrates scoring against the Victory. Photo / Photosport

Rojas forced a save from Stefan Marinovic after 33 minutes, which was their first shot on target, then was close to setting up another chance soon afterwards, only denied by a timely Payne block.

At times it looked like the Phoenix were sitting on their 2-0 lead, but that changed after the break. They surged back into attack, culminating in Ball's moment of magic.

He was found by a brilliant 50 metre pass from Hooper, then cut inside two defenders before rifling into the corner from the edge of the box.

The Victory kept pushing, and were unlucky to have a Toivonen goal chalked off in the 76th minute, by the extremely marginal VAR offside decision, but it would have only been a consolation, as the Phoenix finished the stronger.

Wellington Phoenix 3 (U Davila, G Hooper, D Ball)
Melbourne Victory 0
Halftime: 2-0