A phenomenal performance from Filip Kurto helped Macarthur FC clinch three points against Wellington Phoenix, with the Bulls keeper saving two penalties in a 2-1 win at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Polish goalkeeper proved decisive in the tense victory, saving from the spot twice in the first-half to secure the first win under the reigns of the recently appointed coach, Mile Sterjovski.
Kurto denied compatriot Oskar Zawada and Brazilian winger Yan Sasse from 11-yards, while captain Ulises Davila and striker Moudi Najjar scored either side of the break to clinch a dramatic comeback over the New Zealanders.
“I am pleased with the turnaround from last week’s result,” Sterjovski said.
“Filip’s two saves lifted the boys and I thought we were a different team in the second half and we were unlucky not to get a third goal.”
The Bulls had to do it the hard way, conceding in the 4th minute when Bulgarian striker Bozhidar Kraev finished from inside the box to open the scoring.
The Bulls levelled just after the hour-mark when Davila struck, firing through the fingertips of Phoenix goalkeeper Oliver Sail.
Just as Macarthur were turning momentum, they were cruelled by a contention penalty decision. However, Kurto delivered justice on his terms, reading Zawada’s shot perfectly to parry low to his left.
Minutes before the break, Kurto repeated his heroics when he left Sasse red-faced with a superb reflex save to his right.
It changed the tone of Sterjovski’s half-time team talk and the Bulls had their ascendancy shortly after the restart. Najjar reacted quickly to pounce on a loose ball and fired past Sail to make it 2-1.
The only blemish to Bull’s near-perfect second half was a missed penalty from Davila, while Najjar was denied a second goal after the VAR ruled a foul occurred earlier in the build-up.