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Battling Nix knocked out of play-offs

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/04/2017 Cathy Walshe

Roy Krishna of the Phoenix lies on the ground after being brought down in a tackle during the round 26 A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC. © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Roy Krishna of the Phoenix lies on the ground after being brought down in a tackle during the round 26 A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC. Wellington Phoenix's faint hopes of making the A-League play-offs have faded into oblivion with Perth Glory's 3-1 win over Brisbane Roar.

The Phoenix had given themselves a chance after scrapping their way to a 1-1 draw against premiers Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

With two games remaining, seventh-placed Wellington needed the Glory to lose both matches, but Perth would not oblige.

Their dominant win over the fourth-placed Roar left Wellington with no hope of making the cut off, five points down on sixth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers with only one game remaining.

Phoenix co-coach Des Buckingham was pleased to see his team back up from their 3-0 win over second-placed Melbourne Victory last week with a draw against the runaway league leaders.

Wellington had looked down and out on Saturday after the video referee awarded the Sky Blues a penalty on video review, pinging Nix defender Marco Rossi for a handball from a Sydney corner.

But the Phoenix battled back to secure a point in the 92nd minute when Michael McGlinchey glanced a header home from Tommy Doyle's nod down off a Kosta Barbarouses corner.

Buckingham said Wellington's grit against Sydney, who have lost just one game all season, had been impressive.

"I'm hugely pleased with the team. I thought we dominated possession in the first half and we were very pleased with how we'd applied ourselves in defence," he said.

"The team were excellent, they have been for the last three weeks. The way we've played, the desire to to press hard from the front has been hugely evident.

"The players deserve all the credit for the last two performances and the way they actually stuck to task this evening to get us a point."

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold said Wellington deserved credit for the way they'd battled back from a six-week slump.

"The last three weeks, and tonight, they were very good - it's like the shackles were taken off," he said.

"A month ago they just went for it, and they got the results."

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