Wanderers ‘totally dominated’ Mariners: Popovic

Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic praised the maturity of his team after Wanderers rescued a “deserved” 2-1 win over Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night.

The visitors’ winless record looked set to stretch to four matches until substitute Brendon Santalab snatched all three points in the 88th minute at Central Coast Stadium.

Speaking to Fox Sports, Popovic applauded his side’s composure in regaining top spot after a lean month.­

Wanderers strike late to down 10-man Mariners

“Over the last three weeks we’ve played some really good stuff and unfortunately didn’t get the result,” Popovic said on Matchday Saturday.

“I think it showed tonight, in particular the first half, (we are) not a team that looks concerned with the recent results.

Wanderers players celebrate Mark Bridge's first-half strike against the Mariners.

“They totally dominated and unfortunately we didn’t get a couple more goals which really would have finished them (the Mariners) off.”

Mark Bridge and Brendan Santalab netted the goals for Wanderers in the absence of the dropped Federico Piovaccari, who Popovic confirmed was available for selection.

However, the former Socceroos defender played down speculation that Piovaccari is on his way out of Wanderland.

“I can knock that (rumour) on the head,” Popovic said.

“He wasn’t selected for the 17-man squad for this particular match and now it’s up to him to work his way back in.”