Wellington Phoenix Stumble Against Top Four Challengers

Wellington Phoenix suffered an unfamiliar defeat as they went down to Adelaide United on Sunday night.

The home side enjoyed an explosive first half, racing to a 3-0 lead before going down to 10-men.

Mark Rudan’s side were in fine form heading into the Hyundai A-League Round 24 fixture, having scored 15 goals in three games which was a record for the competition.

Despite the confidence, Adelaide were the team that started off with the impetus to get the first goal and it wasn’t long until they achieved it.

10 minutes in and Michael Marrone headed in to give his side the lead after a Craig Goodwin cross.

Wellington Phoenix attacker, David Williams, looked to attack the backline of Adelaide and very nearly dispossessed Paul Izzo, only for the goalkeeper to clear it out for a throw-in.

The home side struck again to double the lead shortly after, as Apostolos Stamatelopoulos arrived first to a deadly cross from former Wellington Phoenix player, Scott Galloway.

Roy Krishna provided hope in the attacking third as he attempted to penetrate the Adelaide defence, but Isaias was quick to return to his defensive duties and clear the danger.

As the half time whistle grew nearer, Wellington Phoenix found themselves growing further into the game. Sarpreet Singh provided a glimmer of hope after he received the ball in space and drove toward the Adelaide goal, only for his effort to go over the bar.

Defender, Antony Golec, also enjoyed a chance to claim one back. His header was cleared off the line by Galloway to deny a way back into the game before the break.

Heartbreak struck moments before the break as Adelaide added a third after Stamatelopoulos headed in to register his second of the game. 

However, Rudan’s side were offered a lifeline just before the whistle as goal-scorer, Stamatelopoulos, received an upgrade to a red card after consultation with the VAR of his dangerous challenge on Mandi Sosa. The decision didn’t affect the scoreline as it remained 3-0 to the hosts, heading into the changing rooms.

The second half began and Wellington Phoenix were a different beast and the intentions were clear to see. Head Coach, Mark Rudan, changed personnel with Captain, Andrew Durante, coming off for attack-minded Max Burgess. This was followed shortly with the defender, Ryan Lowry, making way for Cillian Sheridan in the hope of finding the goals to cut the deficit.

The substitute striker had a great chance to bring a goal back, after he rounded goalkeeper, Izzo. Unfortunately, the Adelaide defence regained their positioning before Sheridan laid it off for Williams, whose shot went over the bar.

Moments later and Sheridan had found his first Hyundai A-League goal. Mandi Sosa’s shot hit the upright and came straight to the Irish International, who finished from close range to cut the deficit and offer hope for his side.

Wave after wave of attack offered the chance to grab a second for Wellington Phoenix but Adelaide’s defence remained resolute.

Michal Kopczyński thought he had scored his first Hyundai A-League goal, if it wasn’t for a foul in the buildup. His header went into the back of the net but before his side could celebrate, the referee had chalked it off after consulting with his linesman.

Despite last-minute half chances for Wellington Phoenix, Adelaide held on to keep all three points as the game ended 3-1 to Marco Kurz’s side.

Full highlights here.

 

 

Starting XI

1. Filip KURTO, 4. Mandi SOSA, 5. Ryan LOWRY, 11. David WILLIAMS, 12. Antony GOLEC, 13. Liberato CACACE,1 4. Alex RUFER, 15. Michal KOPCZYNSKI, 18. Sarpreet SINGH, 21. Roy KRISHNA, 22. Andrew DURANTE

Next Match details

Brisbane Roar vs. Wellington Phoenix, Friday 12th April, 9:50pm NZT, Suncorp Stadium 

vs BRI