A Nikita Rukavytsya winner in the dying minutes has delivered Western Sydney Wanderers a 3-2 victory over Melbourne City, their elusive second win of the season finally lifting them off the bottom of the A-League ladder.
The Wanderers fought back twice to level at Parramatta Stadium with a goal from Mateo Poljak and a converted penalty from Tomi Juric cancelling out strikes from City’s Safuwan Baharudin and Aaron Mooy.
But Rukavytsya secured victory deep in injury time for the weary Wanders who had lost their past three games amid a hectic schedule.
City, who were desperate to regain a top-six spot, remain seventh after back-to-back defeats.
With the Wanderers playing their third game in a week and to face title contenders Melbourne Victory on Friday, coach Tony Popovic fielded a vastly changed side to that which lost to Brisbane on Sunday.
After severe passing storms delayed kick off by an hour, it was City who had the better of the opening stages when the action finally got underway.
It seemed only a matter of time before City broke through and Baharudin put them 1-0 up in the 28th minute.
Patric Kisnorbo had his header cleared off the line by Wanderers midfielder Yojiro Takahagi and when the rebound fell to Baharudin he made no mistake.
Poljak found the equaliser in the 38th minute after Labinot Haliti played a great ball into the box.
Juric’s initial shot was blocked before the Croatian midfielder levelled off the rebound.
Juric looked like giving the Wanderers the lead in the 63rd minute with a powerful free-kick but was denied by a great save from City gloveman Tando Velaphi.
The Wanderers began gaining momentum with Juric, who launched onto a great ball by Takahagi, drawing another save from Velaphi.
But just like that City regained the lead a minute later.
Dead-ball specialist Mooy, who was playing his first game at Parramatta Stadium since leaving the Wanderers last season, put City 2-1 up in the 71st minute with an explosive free-kick.
But the Wanderers would level again minutes later when Connor Chapman conceded a penalty for bringing Juric down in the box, the Wanderers striker converting from the spot in the 78th minute.
City ended the game with 10 men after Chapman earned a straight red card for manhandling the referee.
But Rukavytsya would have the final say when his sweet strike in injury-time ensured the three points for Western Sydney.