Western Sydney Wanderers have defied horrendous Wellington weather to outclass the Phoenix 3-0 and register their first win of the A-League season.
Alexander Baumjohann and Oriol Riera bagged their first league goals before Jordan O’Doherty struck in stoppage time in a deserved win, their team rarely troubled in wet and windy conditions that disfigured the match as a spectacle.
It leaves both sides with a win, draw and loss through three rounds.
The Wanderers warranted all three points on Saturday, stringing together attacking moves with an unexpected aplomb given coach Markus Babbel was serving a one-match sideline ban.
It would have been enjoyable viewing for the German, particularly the touch of his compatriot Alex Baumjohann, who masterminded many of Western Sydney’s attacking forays.
Baumjohann was supported by two club signings making impressive first starts, with winger Bruce Kamau and midfielder O’Doherty replacing Josh Sotirio and Rashid Mahazi from the team beaten 2-0 by Sydney FC.
It was Kamau who laid the ball on a platter for Baumjohann’s 11th-minute opener, having been put into space by sweet through-ball from former Phoenix stalwart Roly Bonevacia.
Riera then scored from the spot after a handball ruling against Andrew Durante.
Phoenix skipper Durante, playing his 250th match for the club, turned his back on a fierce blast from the outstanding O’Doherty. The ball hammered into his elbow, leaving referee Jarred Gillett with no choice.
The Wanderers came close to a third when Josh Risdon’s curling shot found the post before a breaking O’Doherty made the hosts pay for pushing forward too hard.
It delivered a reality check to the Phoenix, who had been hard to break down through the first two weeks.
Coach Mark Rudan surprised with two changes to his starting attack end, replacing David Williams and Sarpreet Singh with Max Burgess and Mitch Nichols.
The hosts struggled to string passes together and their most dangerous moment came late when substitute Nathan Burns struck the crossbar with a header.