Western Sydney Wanderers have kept their finals hopes alive after claiming a 1-0 win over a 10-man Wellington Phoenix at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night, but one that came with a heavy price.
German midfielder Nikolai Muller was forced off the field after suffering a concussion and a possible broken jaw from a nasty head collision with Wellington’s Louis Fenton and will almost certainly miss the Wanderers’ crucial next two matches, against Perth Glory and Western United. Muller will undergo tests in the coming days with Western Sydney coach Jean-Paul de Marigny taking a swipe at officials for not punishing Fenton for the mistimed challenge.
“Nikolai is obviously badly concussed. I think the doctor is looking after him at the moment. We will have to scan to see if there is any fractures but he is not in a good place,” de Marigny said. “Our responsibility is to look after players, ok. The incident happens and then it warrants a punishment, so that’s someone else’s responsibility.”
A spirited Phoenix were left bemoaning their luck after coming close to snatching a point despite playing nearly half an hour with 10 men. In truth, their rotten fortune began from the onset. In the third minute, Wellington striker David Ball rattled the upright with a curling shot from the edge of the area, watching in disbelief as the ball trickled across the goal line and back into play.