Western Sydney striker Brendon Santalab hailed his side’s resilience after they strengthened their grip on a place in the Hyundai A-League Finals Series with a comprehensive win over Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.
The 3-1 victory at Spotless Stadium came just four days after a hard-fought 3-2 win away at FC Seoul in the Asian Champions League.
The side only arrived back in Sydney on Friday, but were by far the better team in a game billed as the quintessential six-pointer.
“It’s been a wonderful week,” Santalab told Fox Sports after his brace of goals sealed the points.
“We haven’t won two games in a row for a long time. It’s something that we’ve been building.
“It’s never easy going overseas and coming back and backing up after a few days so the performance tonight was pleasing and a brave one from the boys.”
On hitting form at the right time
The win saw the sixth-placed Wanderers open a five-point gap over their Phoenix with just four regular season rounds remaining.
“This win has come at a great time for us, in a time of desperation really to finally clinch that top six spot.
“We’re not there yet, but close enough and it’s great to back up after a great performance in Seoul.
“It just shows where we’re at and we’ll go into the finals full of confidence and whoever we play, we’ll go into the game in top form.
“It’s a nice feeling.”
On the Wanderers’ fast start to the game
The Wanderers dominated the opening exchanges, peppering Glen Moss’s goal before Argentinean striker Nico Martinez opened the scoring in the ninth minute.
“It was our intention to come out strong but I didn’t think we’d have so many chances within the first 15 minutes. I was just waiting for one to hit the net so we could roll on with it,” said Santalab.
“It was nice to get three but I thought we could have had five or six tonight quite easily.”
On becoming the Wanderers’ all-time leading goalscorer
Santalab’s brace took him to 29 goals in the red and black shirt, one more than club legend Mark Bridge.
“I think I’ve overtaken Bridgey now so I’m delighted with that. He was an unbelievable servant for the club so it’s a great honour for me to be the top goalscorer at this club.
“I’m very proud.”