Wellington Phoenix move 4 points clear in A-League with weather-assisted win over Brisbane



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SYDNEY — The Wellington Phoenix moved four points clear at the top of the A-League standings and received some help from the weather to beat the defending champion Brisbane Roar 2-1 on Sunday.

The match, which Wellington led by the same score at halftime, was halted in the 73rd minute when the Brisbane pitch became waterlogged from torrential rain that continued until a match official stopped the game.

The Brisbane pitch became waterlogged even before the second half started due to the heavy rain. Balls kicked along the ground often stalled in puddles after only traveling a few meters (yards).

Wellington goalkeeper and New Zealand international Glen Moss agreed with the decision to stop the match, saying the conditions "were getting dangerous out there."

But Brisbane coach and former Dutch international Frans Thijssen disagreed.

"It's crazy that this happened," said Thijssen, who said he'd played in worse conditions in Europe." I've never heard of it."

A Football Federation Australia match official said: "It was the score at the time — if the game had been stopped before halftime it would have been a replay."

Brisbane's Andrija Kaluderovic put the home side ahead after five minutes, poking in a cross from left-back Corey Brown. Michael McGlinchey leveled for the Phoenix after 15 minutes before Nathan Burns put Wellington ahead just before halftime.

In the other match Sunday, Nick Montgomery scored a minute into stoppage time to give the Central Coast Mariners at 1-1 draw with the Perth Glory. The Glory took a short-lived lead in the 79th minute when Jamie Maclaren scored.

The top five teams — Wellington, Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC, Perth and Adelaide United — are separated by only five points.

The Asian-champion Western Sydney Wanderers, two-time A-League runners-up, remained in last place after a 2-1 loss to Newcastle.

With injuries playing havoc on the Wanderers' squad, coach Tony Popovic went deep into his reserves and field a lineup which featured seven players who've had fewer than 10 starts.

"We didn't come into this game today thinking we couldn't win but the circumstances are what they are," Popovic said. "We don't want to come last, certainly not. We're used to success here."

Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory played to a 2-2 draw. After an early goal from the Victory's Ben Kalfallah, the Reds came back with Pablo Sanchez and Dylan McGowan scoring. But Melbourne veteran Archie Thompson scored a late equalizer.

On Friday, James Brown's 81st-minute goal gave Melbourne City a 1-0 win over Sydney FC.

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