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Goal for Rufer as Phoenix hold on against Central Coast

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The Wellington Phoenix men recorded their third straight A-League win but couldn’t hold on for the clean sheet in Wellington.

Alex Rufer of the Phoenix and Michael Ruhs of the Mariners compete for the ball during the A-League – Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners FC at Sky Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand, Sunday 22 January 2023. © Copyright image by Masanori Udagawa / www.photosport.nz
Photo: Masanori Udagawa

Overcoming a tense finish, Wellington held on for the thrilling 2-1 win against Central Coast Mariners.

Polish striker Oskar Zawada and captain Alex Rufer fired up with one goal each for the home side.

Rufer continued his impressive return from a knee injury to score his first A-League goal in the 32nd minute.

Zawada’s goal followed Rufer’s in quick succession before half-time.

Trailing 2-1 at the break, the visitors struggled to turn possession into goals but Béni Nkololo gave the Mariners a chance by closing the gap late in the piece.

Zawada received a yellow card in a chaotic end to the game, with Phoenix keeper Oli Sail saving a late shot on goal.

At the final whistle an on field brawl erupted with officials from the both sides moving on to the pitch to separate the players.

With the win, the Wellington side sit third in the league standings.

One concerning moment came for the Phoenix with a knee injury to Clayton Lewis who struggled on before leaving the field.

The Phoenix’s next game will be played in Palmerston North against seventh-placed Perth Glory on Saturday afternoon.

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