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Reno Piscopo fires Wellington Phoenix to third straight win in A-League Men


Reno Piscopo scored for the second straight game to give the Phoenix a narrow win over Melbourne Victory.

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Reno Piscopo scored for the second straight game to give the Phoenix a narrow win over Melbourne Victory.

Wellington Phoenix are on a roll.

Ufuk Talay’s team knocked off FFA Cup winners Melbourne Victory 1-0 at an empty WIN Stadium in Wollongong on Wednesday to claim their third straight win in the A-League Men.

The Phoenix capitalised on a defensive error to strike in the 74th minute, handing the Victory just their second defeat in 15 games across all competitions.

David Ball latched onto a loose pass from Jason Davidson, drove towards goal, drew two defenders and goalkeeper Ivan Kelava before unselfishly laying the ball off for Reno Piscopo to score.

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By taking Kelava out of the equation, Piscopo had a largely empty net to aim at, and he kept his composure, slotting home to score his second in as many games, after converting an early penalty against Macarthur on Sunday.

Wednesday’s result moved the resurgent Phoenix within just one point of the top-six ahead of Saturday’s clash against fifth-place Adelaide United.

Reno Piscopo celebrates after scoring the game’s only goal against the Victory.

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Reno Piscopo celebrates after scoring the game’s only goal against the Victory.

“We’re heading in the right direction,” Talay said. “There’s been some good performances; Macarthur and this one.

“I thought we played very well and defended solidly as well.

“It was an arm wrestle, two teams when [they] got behind the ball, very defensive, and I thought one goal was going to win this game and I’m glad that we scored that one goal.

“We need our 10s to score and our 9s to score with other players chipping in so I’m pleased that Reno has got another goal because it will help with his confidence going forward.”

New signing Scott Wootton made his long-awaited debut and was a vocal presence at the back, helping the Phoenix close out the game to record their first clean sheet after shipping 16 goals in their previous eight games.

“Scotty will bring a lot of leadership, a lot of talking, which is great for us. He did the simple things right, but that’s all we need for him as a defender; win the ball and find a team-mate in the same coloured jersey.”

Fresh off last Saturday’s FFA Cup triumph, the Victory had fewer shots (14-17) and less possession (42-58) than the Phoenix (14-17) but created the better goal-scoring chances across the 90 minutes.

Ben Folami forced a diving save out of Oli Sail while, All White Marco Rojas came within centimetres of marking his 100th game for the Victory with a goal off the bench, after being unleashed in the second half.

Rojas threatened to break the deadlock when he squeezed in between Joshua Laws and Sam Sutton to bring down a cross from Davidson, but Sail got a crucial touch and the ball trickled out for a corner.

“Oli is our number one keeper and we expect him to make those saves,” Talay said. “He’s a massive part of the group and gives the players in front of him a lot of confidence.”

Wellington Phoenix 1 (Reno Piscopo 74’) Melbourne Victory 0

HT: 0-0



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