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The coach confirms that Oskar Zawada has played his last game for Wellington Phoenix

Striker Oskar Zawada will not play again for Wellington Phoenix, coach Giancarlo Italiano has confirmed.

Speaking to the media after Phoenix’s 2-1 loss to Melbourne Victory in the Men’s A-League semi-finals, Italiano said: “Unfortunately, the available money we have does not allow us to retain all the players we want. “.

When asked if the Polish striker had already signed elsewhere, Italiano replied: “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask him.”

Zawada (28) joined the Phoenix in August 2022 on a two-year contract, after playing for clubs in Poland, Germany, Holland and South Korea. He was the club’s top scorer in 2022-23, with 15 goals.

Zawada, who has been battling injury problems throughout the 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League season, scored an injury-time equalizer to send Saturday’s semi-final into extra time in front of more than 33,000 fans at the Sky Stadium.

Victory scored in extra time, to win the two-legged semi-final 2-1 on aggregate, meaning they will face the Central Coast Mariners in the grand final on Saturday 25 May.

Italiano said that because the Phoenix had done well this season, the value of his players had increased.

“I want to reinvest some of that money into some of the younger players who I think I want long term.

“For me, I made that decision. Oz was looking to move at the beginning of the year, he didn’t get it and I think there will be many suitors for him.”

He said he expected most of the current squad to be at the club next season.

“Whether it’s two or three players who are leaving, there may be a little more, there is still a piece left. But I think the most important thing is that we have built that experience now, as part of the club’s foundation moving forward.”

Result

Matches played on Saturday, May 18, 2024

Semifinal 2, second leg

Wellington Phoenix 1 (Oskar Zawada 90+9′)
Melbourne Victory 2 (Adama Traoré 82′, Chris Ikonomidis 102′)
*After extension. Victoria wins 2-1 on aggregate.

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