A troublesome back injury threatened to affect Phoenix Oskar Zawada on the Wellington side’s latest A-League tour.
Instead, the Polish striker scored a stunning winner in the Phoenix men’s 5-2 A-Series final against the Brisbane Roar in round three.
Zawada showed no signs of slowing down as he sent three goals into the back of the net at Wellington Stadium against a sloppy Roar side.
Phoenix coach Giancarlo Italiano said Zawada’s work rate was exceptional as he posted his first league hat trick.
“What was not known, he suffered a slight injury two days ago in training,” said the head coach after the game.
“He had a problem with his back, so it was great that he kept going.”
Tim Payne scored his first league goal, and Bozhidar Kraev grabbed a superb goal to take Wellington’s tally to seven points and at least temporarily move the Nix to the top of the A-League competition ladder.
The Roar scored within the first minute in a promising start but were unable to maintain their unbeaten run of the season.
“Since the boys came together right after, they settled down, they were very good,” said Giancarlo Italiano.
Phoenix keeper Alex Paulsen made a save in the 88th minute to deny the Roar a late save.
In a quick turnaround, the Phoenix men will be back in action on Friday night when they visit fellow high-flyers Melbourne Victory in round four.
After three rounds Phoenix has posted back to back wins and a first round draw.
And the women’s side beat Brisbane 2-1 to claim their first back-to-back win, fueled by a superb goal from captain Annalie Longo.
Coach Paul Temple praised Longo’s 85th minute goal.
“It’s a magical moment that I know she’s been waiting a long, long time for so I’m really happy for her and a great way to start her career in Phoenix,” he said.
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