The Wellington Phoenix are eager to face the Melbourne Victory on home turf for the first time this season, as they look to pick up a vital three points and further solidify their place in the top six.
Twice this season these clubs have faced each other at Melbourne’s AAMI Park, and twice they’ve drawn – a one all draw in Round 5 and nil all in Round 10. In fact five of the last six matches between these two sides have ended locked in a draw.
The Phoenix are confident it’ll be a different result at Sky Stadium this time around, where they currently own a four-match home winning streak and haven’t lost a match at since October last year. And in securing their fourth straight win – something they haven’t achieved since March 2015 –Wellington also has the chance to move past Melbourne City and into the coveted top two.
Wellington will have an abundance of goal scorers at their disposal for this match. In addition to leading goal scorer Ulises Davila, who has scored ten goals in addition to his five assists, the squad has proven scorers in Gary Hooper (five goals, three assists) and David Ball (five goals, four assists) at their disposal.
Melbourne Victory will de desperate to win this match, or else see their Finals hopes all but disappear. Carlos Salvachua’s squad have won just one of their last eight games and are coming off a tough 4-1 loss to Sydney FC last round, which see them sitting seven points out of the top six.
Victory will rely on their top scorer Ola Toivonen (10 goals this season) as well as the ‘Kiwi Messi’ Marco Rojas, who scored a world-class goal against Sydney FC in the last round. They will also have to make do without Tim Hoogland and Giancarlo Gallifuoco, both serving suspensions for this round.
If they want to win, the Victory also know they will have to practice better discipline on the field; they currently rank first in the Hyundai A-League in fouls conceded, are joint-second in yellow cards and joint-first in straight red cards.
This match is being played on the one year anniversary of the Christchurch Mosque shootings, with the Phoenix naming this round ‘Kia tau te Rangimarie’ - Maori for ‘Let there be Peace’ - and paying tribute to those who lost their lives that day. This will include 51 seats being dressed in black at Sky Stadium and each seat named after one of the 51 people. The players and crowd will also observe a moment’s silence prior to kick-off, and will ask fans to all sing ‘Tutira Mai’ at the 51 minute mark.
The Wellington Phoenix take on the visiting Melbourne Victory at Sky Stadium this Sunday 15 March from 6.20pm.
Did you know?
- Dangerous Duos - Ulises Dávila and David Ball form one of the most dangerous duos in the Hyundai A-League; the Mexican Magician has created 13 chances for the English striker this season, the second most deadly combo in the competition.
- Balanced Scoring - Liberato Cacace has scored goals in each of his last two matches and three times in the last seven; tying him for first with Gary Hooper in goals scored during this seven-match period. Ulises Davila, David Ball and Jaushua Sotirio have each scored two goals in this same period.
- Passing Perfection - As a team the Phoenix continue to dominate in the passing categories; first in both passing percentage (84%) and crossing percentage (25.6%). The Phoenix have finished only four games with 88% pass accuracy in the past eight seasons – with all of those matches coming in the last four months.
At a Glance:
Date: Sunday, 15 March 2020
Kick-off: 6.20pm NZT
Venue: Sky Stadium, Wellington
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, 6.Tim PAYNE, 7.Reno PISCOPO, 8.Cameron DEVLIN, 9. David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA, 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 12. Brandan Wilson, 13.Liberato CACACE, 14.Alex RUFER, 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 21.Callum MCCOWATT, 27.Steven TAYLOR (c), 31.Ben WAINE, 32.Sam SUTTON, 88. Gary HOOPER
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 2.Liam McGING (Promoted), 12. Brandan Wilson (Promoted), 31.Ben WAINE (Promoted)
Unavailable: 16.Louis FENTON (Shoulder - season), 23.Walter SCOTT (Injury – Knee)
Melbourne Victory Squad: 1.Matt ACTON (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 4.James DONACHIE, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Kenny ATHIU, 8.Jakob POULSEN, 9.Andrew NABBOUT, 11.Ola TOIVONEN (c), 13. Birkan KIRDAR, 16.Josh HOPE, 17.Elvis KAMSOBA, 18.Migjen BASHA, 19.Ben CARRIGAN, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 23.Marco ROJAS, 24.Anthony LESIOTIS, 25.Brandon LAUTON, 31.Aaron ANDERSON, 38.So NISHIKAWA, 43.Luis LAWRIE-LATTANZIO
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 8.Jakob POULSEN (promoted), 16.Josh HOPE (promoted), 31.Aaron ANDERSON (promoted), 43.Luis LAWRIE-LATTANZIO (promoted)
Outs: 5.Tim HOOGLAND (suspended – 1 week), 15.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO (suspended accumulation of yellow cards – 1 week)
Unavailable: 10.Robbie KRUSE (hamstring), 21.Adama TRAORE (hamstring), 26.Jay BARNETT (leg)