Is Annalie Longo in fact Aitana Bonmati in disguise? Well after her jaw-dropping Wellington Phoenix debut, she was likened to the 2023 Ballon d’Or winner.
Legendary New Zealand international Longo made her highly anticipated debut off the bench and the two-time Liberty A-League champion marked the occasion with a stunning 85th-minute strike in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Brisbane Roar.
After featuring at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, she had ticked off a “childhood dream” by joining the Phoenix in the off-season. The 32-year-old had always dreamed of playing professional football in New Zealand, having previously represented Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory.
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Her debut was delayed by injury in the opening two rounds, however, but she emerged from the bench in the 62nd minute on Saturday and was handed the captain’s armband before marking the occasion with a moment of individual brilliance 23 minutes later.
“I’ve waited a long time for that moment,” Longo told Sky New Zealand after Wellington won back-to-back Liberty A-League games for the first time in their history.
“I thought the game was quite scrappy. We had a couple of chances there but I couldn’t be more happy and proud of the girls.
“This team, we haven’t won back-to-back games in the history of the Phoenix, so to do that today and pick up a nice goal, a pretty special moment.”
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The reporter stepped in by saying, “Nice goal? I thought it was Aitana Bonmati for a moment there. Talk us through what was a phenomenally well-taken goal”.
Longo responded: “I just got the ball and just had one thought in my mind that yeah, I wanted to take her on. I managed chop onto my right foot and thought lets just give it a go.
“Fortunate it went in. Just so happy we got the win.”