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Phoenix advances in A-league playoffs

Feb 22nd, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News, Sport

WellingtonPhoenixMAIN

GOALKEEPERS' NIGHT: Perth Glory goalkeeper Tando Velaphi saves against Phoenix - but had little success in the penalty shootout.

IT was Liam Reddy’s night.

The Wellington Phoenix goalkeeper was the hero for his team as they beat Perth Glory 4-2 on penalties at the Westpac Trust Stadium to advance to the next round of the A-League playoffs.

With the scores tied at 1-1 after 120 minutes of tense and dramatic football, the young shot stopper made two telling saves from the penalty spot to ensure his the home side’s fairytale run continued and 18-match unbeaten streak at the “Ring of Fire” (Cake Tin) remained intact.

Earlier, the Phoenix opened the scoring in the 36th minute, courtesy of a strike by Englishman Chris Greenacre.

But the visitors pulled a goal back, when a Scott Neville header found the back of the net in the 70th minute.

With both teams unable to capitalise on their opportunities during the remainder of normal time and the ensuring 30 minutes that followed, it came down to a shootout.

Reddy made back-to-back saves, first denying Nuam Sekulovski and then correctly guessing which way Scott Bulloch was going to send the ball.

The victory means the Phoenix will host Newcastle in the next round of the playoffs on March 7.

HOW IT WORKS

Under the A-League playoff system, the top six teams qualify for the final series.

The top two sides play a home-and-away series to determine who will host the grand final.

The other four teams play a knockout series, with the third-ranked team playing the sixth-ranked team and the teams who finished fourth and fifth also squaring off.

The winners from those two games then play each other to determine who will make the preliminary final, where they meet the losers of the series between the first- and second-ranked teams.

Whoever wins that game advances to the grand final.

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is a graduate from Whitireia Journalism School. He is as well rounded as a beachball, with his interests including rugby, sport, politics, business, tertiary education, social issues, sticking up for the little guy, investigative journalism, cooking, music, shooting the breeze, telling jokes and having a laugh. After a short stint as a general news hound at the Kapiti Observer, he now works for Rugby News in Auckland.
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