The Wellington Phoenix will be focused on putting points on the board tomorrow night, when they take on 5th placed Perth Glory in a battle for late-season ladder positioning.
A Phoenix win on Wednesday will ensure Wellington retains third place on the Hyundai A-League ladder and only a point behind second-placed Melbourne City; while a Perth win would mean the Glory vaults up to third place and the Phoenix drops down to fourth.
Despite this, Reno Piscopo – who starred in the Phoenix’s 3-1 loss to Sydney on Friday – doesn’t see the match against Perth as being any more important than their other upcoming fixtures.
“We consider every game equally important, every match we go in thinking about three points and about winning – so that’s what we’re going to do; go in there, give it our all and hopefully come away with the three points.”
Piscopo was happy with his performance on Friday, and admitted it was a ‘buzz’ just to get out on the field again after a four month layoff. For fellow midfielder Cameron Devlin, who sat out Friday’s match due to suspension, he says he’s excited to get back on the field – and to play for the first time at the new Bankwest Stadium in Western Sydney.
“From a personal viewpoint it was really hard watching the game from the grandstand on Friday, but the boys played really well and we were unlucky not to come away with the result.
“We’re all just working as hard as we can now in preparation for our match against Perth, and we’re really lucky to have such a good group of players who are all super-ready and keen to play.”
Devlin says that despite Diego Castro not being part of the Perth Glory squad for the season re-start, they are still a dangerous side and not to be taken lightly.
“Obviously Diego Castro being the player that he is, he’s a big loss for them but they won the other night against Central Coast and they have a lot of quality players in their squad – we’re just focussed on our play and what we need to do to win.”
One of the quality players on the Perth side is Bruno Fornaroli, who has scored nine goals against the Phoenix in the past 10 matches, as well as forwards Joel Chianese (4 goals this season) and Nicholas D’Agostino – the latter who scored two goals against the Nix in the club’s 4-2 loss against Perth earlier this season.
The Wellington Phoenix take on the Perth Glory for the third time this season, on Wednesday 22 July at Bankwest Stadium. The match will also be a battle between the two sides who have travelled the longest distance to be part of the A-League’s ‘bubble’ in New South Wales, putting a new spin on the ‘Distance Derby’ rivalry between these two teams.
Did you know?
- King of The Dribble – Steinmann has completed 84.6% of his attempted dribbles this Hyundai A-League season, the most of any player in the competition.
- Open Play Accuracy – Wellington Phoenix boast a crossing accuracy of 25% from open play this season (63 from 251), the highest of any team in the competition.
- He Who Scores First – the Wellington Phoenix have scored first in 13 matches this season; and they have won 10 of those matches (77%), second only to Sydney FC in matches won when scoring the first goal.
At a Glance:
Date: Wednesday, 22 July 2020
Kick-off: 9.30pm NZT
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
Broadcast (NZ) Sky Sport 7
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 2.Liam McGING, 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 5.Matti STEINMANN, 7.Reno PISCOPO, 8.Cameron DEVLIN, 9. David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA, 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 12. Brandan Wilson, 13.Liberato CACACE, 14.Alex RUFER, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Callan ELLIOT, 21.Callum McCOWATT, 27.Steven TAYLOR (c), 30.Zac JONES (gk), 31.Ben WAINE, 88. Gary HOOPER
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI (promoted), 8.Cameron DEVLIN (return from suspension)
Unavailable: 6.Tim PAYNE (Suspended – 3 matches), 20.Oliver SAIL (gk) (Suspended – 3 matches)
Perth Glory squad: 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Jacob TRATT, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.James MEREDITH, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 13.Osama MALIK, 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 18.Nick D'AGOSTINO, 20.Jake BRIMMER, 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Vince LIA, 23.Dane INGHAM, 25.Carlo ARMIENTO, 27.JUANDE, 28.Gabriel POPOVIC, 29.Kristian POPOVIC, 33.Liam REDDY (GK), 50.Daniel MARGUSH (GK), 88.Neil KILKENNY (c)
Ins: 16.Tomislav MRCELA (promoted), 21.Tarek ELRICH (promoted)