Wellington stun Western Sydney with comeback win
Football Federation Australia is on the verge of selling the Western Sydney Wanderers after a sale price was agreed with a private consortium headed by Primo Smallgoods boss Paul Lederer.
Lederer has long-been mooted as the likely candidate to buy the Wanderers’ and has been in discussions about a financial stake in an A-League club for several years. He has submitted a joint offer alongside Pirtek founder Peter Duncan and a mystery Chinese businessman to take over the club.
Despite appointing equity firm UBS to find a potential buyer, the FFA has been in no rush to complete the proposed $15 million sale after the seeing the club’s surging popularity continue this year. The FFA has not disclosed if their valuation, which was formulated several months ago, has been met or exceeded.
There is a chance the deal could be completed as early as March but if the FFA is not satisfied with the arrangement, a sale may be held off until the end of the season.
That was only the positive news for the club to emerge from Parramatta Stadium on New Years’ Day as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat to Wellington Phoenix.
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was at a loss to explain their capitulation in the final 25 minutes, where they conceded three times.
“It wasn’t our best [performance]. We scored first but they got a good equaliser and then we got punished for our mistakes,” Popovic said. “It’s the first time we’ve played at home this season and have lost. We’ve got to learn from it, which we will, and we’ll move on quickly.”
Popovic said his side was so keen to find a winning goal that they let their defence slip.
“At 1-1, I was still comfortable but I think we tried too hard and tried to force the issue,” he said. “They took advantage and that’s a credit to them. It’s a first for us and the players are disappointed. We’re not going to look too deep into it.”
Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick said such a performance from his side was certainly due.
“The boys tell me they can’t remember being a goal behind and coming back to win but I think that’s to do with the mental approach they’ve got now. We’ve been working on that day since one of pre-season,” he said. “All round we’ve been playing good football [this season], I think there’s only two games we haven’t been played well but the law of averages says it’s got to come good and it did tonight.”
Merrick said 19-year-old substitute Tyler Boyd, who scored one and set up another after coming on, would take his game to the next level after that performance.
“He played a fair bit last year but didn’t seem to have a sense of purpose about him but now he understands more about the job and he has a sense of purpose on the field,” Merrick said. “He did a very good job tonight. I couldn’t ask anything else of him.”
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