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Phoenix fall to Melbourne City after controversial VAR penalty decision

Melbourne City have overcome an early scare from Wellington Phoenix to snare a 3-2 victory at AAMI Park and catapult to top of the A-League table.

Despite missing Jamie Maclaren through injury, City found enough firepower to overcome an early goal deficit and take all three points in front of 6440 fans, jumping ahead of Western Sydney Wanderers only on 'goals for.'

Wellington took the lead in the 24th minute when Gary Hooper capitalised on a City defensive lapse in concentration.

David Ball jumped above Scott Galloway at a corner to flick the ball to the back post, where Hooper - left unmarked with Lachie Wales caught ball watching - headed home his first A-League goal.

City equalised in the 30th minute through Connor Metcalfe, then took the lead via Scott Galloway four minutes later.

Denis Genreau turned on the ball and slipped it to Craig Noone, who turned his defender inside out then whipped a curling ball towards the back post, which young midfielder Metcalfe met with aplomb, sending a powerful header past Stefan Marinovic.

Galloway then cut inside from full-back, and with Phoenix's Matti Steinmann backing off, tried his luck with a scintillating strike, which powered in off the inside of the post to hand City the lead in the 34th minute.

City doubled their lead via a somewhat fortuitous second-half penalty.

Noone cut inside to beat Louis Fenton - who then tracked back - then nudged the ball to Genreau, who powered down the left byline and attempted to cross.

The ball hit Fenton on the chest then bounced up onto his arm, with referee Benjamin Abraham calling for a penalty in the 61st minute.

The penalty was upheld by the VAR and Noone buried his spot-kick in the top corner to make it 3-1.

Wellington snared a consolation goal in the 93rd minute when Ball slid the ball through the City defensive ranks, with youngster Benjamin Waine on hand to tap home.


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