Wasteful Phoenix let chances slip in draw with Brisbane – ‘We had enough to win three or four football matches’

Yan Sasse has played the role of villain, hero and villain once more in Wellington Phoenix’s 2-2 draw with Brisbane Roar, a result which does little for either side’s finals ambitions.

The Nix led 2-1 and were pushing for a third goal before Scott Neville’s late headed equaliser ended their chances of a top-four finish.

Brisbane, stranded just out of the top six with two rounds to go, will lament not holding an early lead gifted by Yan Sasse.

The wildcat Brazilian was in everything on Sunday at Eden Park, Wellington’s Auckland fortress where they are unbeaten in 11 outings.

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His earliest involvement was his worst, clumsily tackling Jez Lofthouse for a seventh-minute penalty.

Jay O’Shea made no mistake from the spot, scoring for a sixth straight match to equal a Brisbane record set by legend Besart Berisha.

Lofthouse was also involved for Phoenix’s reply, catching David Ball as the Englishman surged into the box for a return penalty.

Oskar Zawada’s resulting goal was his 14th of the season, giving Wellington a platform to kick on.

Yan Sasse put the Nix ahead on the 56th minute with a sumptuous effort, racing clean through on goal after one-twos with Kosta Barbarouses and Oskar Zawada that split the Brisbane defence.

From that point, Wellington laid siege to Jordan Holmes’ goal and looked certain winners.

David Ball hit the woodwork three times in an insane 70 seconds, including one shot that hit the inside of both posts before being scurried away.

Failing to kick clear, Brisbane made the Kiwis pay in the 83rd minute, when Neville headed O’Shea’s corner past Sail.

Yan Sasse was then guilty of a horror miss in stoppage time, failing to hit the target with an open header just metres from goal.

For Wellington, the result snaps a run of three losses, but the deflating “end of an era” feeling remains.

Coach Ufuk Talay, as well as at least three senior players are off at season’s end and their campaign of promise is dissipating.

Goalkeeper Oli Sail fumed on the final whistle, saying they “keep letting ourselves down”.

“We had half a dozen chances, enough to win three or four football matches,” he said.

Talay said the game was “the story of the last few weeks” but remained adamant the Nix would play finals and could be a threat.

“Definitely. I think we have the squad to do it,” he said.

Talay’s side can confirm their participation with four points in their final two matches, on the road to Western Sydney and Macarthur.

For Brisbane, it’s a harder path to the post-season.

The draw in Auckland – caretaker coach Nick Green’s first point on the road – leaves them ninth, two points from sixth place on full-time, meaning they must beat Sydney at home next week to have any chance.

“We did ride our luck a bit in the second half,” Green said.

“We ran out of legs a bit in the midfield … happy to come away with a point.”