The Wellington Phoenix are looking forward to facing Macarthur FC at Campbelltown Stadium tonight, in the first ever matchup between these two NSW-based teams.
Both clubs come into this match looking for a win after suffering a loss in Week 2; and while Macarthur FC will field a full-strength squad led by captain Mark Milligan, the Phoenix will continue to be without prized midfielder Reno Piscopo as he works his way back from a calf injury.
Phoenix fans will be eager to see if the dynamic duo of captain Ulises Davila and marquee striker Tomer Hemed can make it into the starting line-up against Macarthur, after both working their way to full match fitness following quarantine stints in the pre-season.
Both Davila and Hemed demonstrated the game-changing impact they can have on a match when they came off the bench in the second half against Sydney FC; their presence nearly lifting the Nix to victory on the night, with the Phoenix unlucky not to equalise on a late-game goal attempt by Davila which was disallowed upon VAR review.
Cameron Devlin will try to build on his Man of the Match efforts against Sydney FC, where he teamed up with Alex Rufer to form an efficient midfield tandem. Debutants Clayton Lewis and Joshua Laws also performed well in their first A-League match, and newcomer Mirza Muratovic impressed with his first Nix goal just on half-time.
Davila says that Macarthur FC have a good team who have played some “quality football in their first two matches”.
“It will be a difficult game as they have many experienced and quality players,” says Davila.
“As we haven’t played them before, we’ve been watching a lot of video on how they (Macarthur FC) play so we know what we can expect from them.
“We are a very good team and we showed that in the second half [against Sydney FC], so I think we can beat any team we come up against.”
Meanwhile Macarthur FC will be playing their third match of the A-League season, having beaten the Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0 in their inaugural match before falling to Central Coast Mariners 0-2 in their first home match in Week 2.
Led by the steady play of Milligan and the attacking threat of forwards Matt Derbyshire and Moudi Najjar, Macarthur has been projected by many to finish in the top six in their debut season.
Macarthur FC Head Coach Ante Milicic says that while their loss to Central Coast was disappointing, the focus this week has been on training hard to prepare well for Wellington.
“Wellington are a very good side – Ufuk has done a tremendous job and full credit to him,” says Milicic.
“It’ll be a difficult game, but we’ll review this one and look to put a better performance - we have a second chance, straight away at home to get it right.”
The Wellington Phoenix will play their first away match of the 2020/21 A-League season, against Macarthur FC at Campbelltown Stadium from 5.05pm AEDT tonight.
- Wellington Phoenix (87%) and Macarthur FC (86%) have the highest passing accuracies of any teams thus far in the 2020/21 A-League season.
- Phoenix duo Louis Fenton and David Ball have each made two carries ending in a chance created this A-League season, making the Phoenix the only club with multiple players to have logged 2+ in this category.
At a Glance:
Date: Saturday, 9 January 2021
Kick-off: 5.05pm AEDT / 7.05pm NZT
Venue: Campbelltown Stadium, Sydney
Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505, Kayo Sports and ABC TV from 5:05pm (AEDT) Sky Sport 7 from 7:05pm (New Zealand)
Wellington Phoenix Squad: 1.Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 2.Liam McGING, 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 5.James MCGARRY, 6.Tim PAYNE, 8.Cameron DEVLIN, 9.David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA, 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 12.Matthew RIDENTON, 14.Alex RUFER, 15.Mirza MURATOVIC, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Tomer HEMED, 18.Ben WAINE, 19.Sam SUTTON, 20.Oliver SAIL, 21.Joshua LAWS, 23.Clayton LEWIS
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI (promoted), 19.Sam SUTTON (promoted)
Unavailable: 7.Reno PISCOPO (calf injury, 1 week).
Macarthur FC Squad: 1.Adam FEDERICI (gk), 3.Antony GOLEC, 4.Benat ETXEBARRIA, 5 Mark MILLIGAN (c), 6.Aleksandar JOVANOVIC, 7.Ivan FRANJIC, 8.Denis GENREAU, 10.Loic PUYO, 11.Tommy OAR, 12.James MEREDITH 14.Moudi NAJJAR, 15.Aleksandar SUSNJAR, 16.Nick SUMAN (gk), 19.Michael RUHS, 21.Jake HOLLMAN, 22.Liam ROSE, 27.Matt DERBYSHIRE, 29.Antonis MARTIS, 31.Lachlan ROSE, 33.Markel SUSAETA
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 12.James MEREDITH (promoted), 29.Antonis MARTIS (promoted)