Nine-man 'Nix claim ALM win over Sydney

Adam Le Fondre suffered the embarrassment of missing two stoppage-time penalties as a nine-man Wellington Phoenix eked out a 1-0 win over Sydney FC in one of the most chaotic A-League Men games in recent memory.

Saturday's loss will lead to further scrutiny for Sydney head coach Steve Corica, whose side conceded while waiting to replace concussed midfielder Patrick Yazbek and had a Rhyan Grant equaliser chalked off for offside.

But those two incidents weren't even the biggest talking points from a drama-charged fixture at Allianz Stadium where Wellington were reduced to nine men in the last 20 minutes.

Bozhidar Kraev was shown a second yellow before substitute Nicholas Pennington was awarded a straight red by referee Shaun Evans after an 87th minute fracas where he grabbed the throat of Max Burgess.

That was just the start of the madness as Sydney pressed for an equaliser in added time.

Wellington defender Tim Payne was penalised for a handball in the 95th minute but Le Fondre could only fire his effort at Phoenix goalkeeper Oli Sail.

On the rebound, Sydney's Connor O'Toole attempted to work the ball back goalward only for Wellington's Callan Elliot to handle the ball in the box.

This time Sail wasn't required to stop Le Fondre from the spot, with the Englishman firing his shot wide to leave Sydney with just one win from six at their new home ground.

The latest loss means the future of Corica is likely to come under the microscope after missing the finals last season, undergoing an off-season rebuild, and winning just four games from 11 this year.

Corica was aggrieved at Wellington's opener when Oskar Zawada was involved in a collision with Yazbek.

After the Sydney midfielder had been ruled out with a concussion, the Sky Blues were trying to get a substitute on and Zawada finished past Andrew Redmayne in the 10th minute.

"We didn't have a chance to get our sub on," Corica said.

"He (Yazbek) has come off with a concussion and you'd think we would be allowed to replace him at that time. It's disappointing to concede in that manner with 10 men."

Grant thought he had equalised in the 60th minute only for the offside flag to go up to deny Sydney the chance to draw level.

"For me he was onside, everyone saw it on the big screen," fumed Corica, whose side now have three straight away fixtures.

"I don't know what part of his body was offside but it looked like a goal for me."

Ufuk Talay's side were then clinging on for dear life when Pennington and Kraev, who felled Adrian Segecic from behind, were dismissed.

The Wellington boss claimed the decision to send Kraev off was "soft" and wasn't convinced Sydney's penalties were warranted.

"I didn't think there was intent (from Kraev) to go in and hurt the player," said Talay, whose side claimed their first win over Sydney since 2018.

"The first one, I thought it hit him (Payne) in the back, the second happened too quickly."