Phoenix ease past Wanderers
Wellington Phoenix scored three times in 21 first-half minutes to earn a 3-1 home win over Western Sydney Wanderers.
The New Zealand side, fresh from an 8-2 thumping of Central Coast, put Wanderers to the sword before the break at Westpac Stadium. Roy Krishna, Mandi and David Williams found the net to give the home side a three-goal cushion at the break.
Markus Babbel's side fought back in the second half and earned a penalty but Alexander Baumjohann fired wide from the spot.
They got a late consolation through Mitch Duke's header, but their chances of making the Finals Series look to be gone now - they are 11 points off the top six, with five games left.
The Phoenix broke the deadlock in the 13th minute when leading scorer Krishna finished well from an angle, firing past Vedran Janjetovic and into the top corner.
They doubled their lead 11 minutes later as Mandi scored a sublime free-kick past the motionless Janjetovic.
Western Sydney almost hit back when Oriol Riera's shot was well saved by keeper Filip Kurto and minutes later the home side made it 3-0. Williams produced a superb curling shot off the inside of the post for his eighth goal of the campaign.
Max Burgess created a chance for Liberato Cacace after the break but the youngster couldn't keep his volley down.
Wanderers were handed an opportunity 19 minutes from time when Burgess was adjudged to have fouled Bruce Kamau inside the box after the original decision had been a free-kick.
Baumjohann dragged his right-footed effort wide of the target and Duke's effort four minutes from time was too little, too late for the visitors.
The Phoenix had Krishna sent off in injury time for a second yellow card after a raised arm.
Wellington are 12121/1 to win the Grand Final this season and 13/8 to win their next game against Newcastle Jets, who are 6/4 to come out on top with the draw 5/2.
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