Western Sydney Wanderers have kickstarted their Hyundai A-League season, with a clinical 3-0 victory over a lacklustre Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.
Assistant coach Jean-Paul de Marigny was left to call the shots whilst coach Markus Babbel watched on from the freezing Westpac Stadium stands, serving his one-game touchline ban for his tirade at the fourth official and subsequent red card during last weekend’s Sydney derby.
“He was really proud of the boys, the way they stuck to the structure and their discipline,” de Marigny said of Babbel’s impression of the match.
“It’s a new group with new coaches. It’s a big club that’s looking for an identity and we’re obviously a big part of that.
“It’s so, so pleasing that the players are starting to believe and trust the process. The most satisfying thing was they executed [our plan] very, very well.”
The scoring was opened in the 11th minute after Roly Bonevacia slipped Bruce Kamau through on goal and the winger steadied before pushing a pass into Alexander Baumjohann’s path for a simple finish for his first A-League goal.
The lead was doubled in the 55th minute after Oriol Riera cooley converted a spot kick issued courtesy of Jordan O’Doherty’s strike into Durante’s arm.
A handball on Jordan O’Doherty’s long range shot from Phoenix captain Andrew Durante, celebrating his 250th game for the club, allowed Oriol Riera to convert the spot kick and double Wanderer’s lead in the 55th minute.
After Josh Risdon hit the post with a curling shot and Nathan Burns headed on to the bar from a corner for the home side, it was finally O’Doherty who capped a superb Wanderers counter attack in stoppage time to help his side claim all three points.
The Wanderers host Brisbane next week, followed by Newcastle, whilst the Phoenix now face a tough run of matches, away to Melbourne City next Friday before home matches against FFA Cup champions Adelaide United and Perth Glory.