2019-20 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Ulises Davila (15')
  • Liberato Cacace (88')

Davila blinder helps Wellington beat Western Sydney

Ulises Davila's electric A-League season has continued with a blinding goal in Wellington's 2-0 win over Western Sydney, leaving visiting coach Markus Babbel under palpable pressure.

Babbel cut his post-match press conference short after his 10th-placed team suffered a seventh loss in their last nine outings, his team having struggled to create any clear-cut changes at Sky Stadium on Saturday.

The Phoenix conversely stretched their unbeaten streak to nine games, equalling the club record they set last season.

The victory was hammered home through a late strike from defender Liberato Cacace.

Babbel spoke for just 76 seconds after the match, ending the press conference amidst questions about his omission of out-of-form forward Alexander Meier.

The German marquee has laboured to just a solitary goal after playing in all 12 previous games, but Babbel insisted he hadn't been dropped for form reasons.

He said the 36-year-old suffered a hamstring injury at training midweek and couldn't estimate the possible time on the sideline.

"Can't tell you. He stayed at home and had treatments there. We will see," Babbel said, before rifling his chair back and thanking journalists.

Meier's replacement, Kwame Yeboah, failed to spark a Wanderers front line that was largely disjointed, until Nicolai Muller sparked some late half-chances.

The match was a messy affair, not helped by blustery conditions.

That suited Wellington after Davila put the hosts ahead in the 15th minute with his ninth goal of the season via a blistering strike from the top of the box.

It has become his trademark.

Along with midfielder Cameron Devlin, Davila was the best player on the park, creating chances and proving a handful for the foul-prone Pirmin Schwegler.

Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay directed praise at his team's defensive work, which forced the visitors into dead ends. But he was wary of some late lapses.

"We nullified the space for them and made them have to shoot from distance. They started delivering balls into the box from distance as well," Talay said.

"For me, we play some really good football but I think we have to do it more often in the 90 minutes."

Davila's goal came as no surprise after Wellington created two clear chances in the opening exchanges.

Callum McCowatt blasted wide and Davila struck the inside of the post before adjusting his radar soon after, his sweet strike coming via a Gary Hooper lay-off.

Cacace powered into the box with two minutes to go for his first goal of the campaign, ensuring his blossoming team will finish the round in third or fourth place.