An Australia Cup rematch is set to take place tonight as the Wellington Phoenix head to Melbourne to take on A-League Men premiers, Melbourne City in the Round of 16 of the Australia Cup.
Last season, the two teams met in the Australia Cup Quarter-Final with Ufuk Talay’s men progressing to the Semi-Final after a goalless stalemate that went to penalties. Young goalkeeper Alex Paulsen stepped up and made three strong saves in the shootout, while Nicholas Pennington scored the winning penalty, putting the Nix through.
Head Coach Ufuk Talay is aware of the threat imposed from City, but the gaffer is confident his side will be up for whatever challenge is brought in front of them.
“They had the better of us in the A-League competition, but we had the better of them in the Cup, so hopefully that continues,” Talay said.
“They’re a good side with very good players, nothing much has changed there when we analyzed their game in the round of 32.
“Nothing much has changed apart from maybe a couple of personnel and depending on where players are at in preseason.
“They’re a very good side and I am sure our boys will be up for it.”
Ufuk Talay’s men have spent the past two weeks in Australia, playing out three matches in preseason including the Round of 32 match up against the Devonport Strikers, which the Nix came through with a 4-0 victory.
Two other friendly matches against A-League opposition were played behind closed doors, which have helped the team prepare for tonight’s bout.
The round of 16 Australia Cup match between the Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne City is scheduled to kick-off at Casey Fields in Melbourne at 7:30pm AEST (9:30pm NZT) and will be broadcast live on 10 Play in Australia and on Football Australia’s My Football YouTube Channel in New Zealand.
Wellington Phoenix squad: 3. Finn SURMAN, 4. Scott WOOTTON, 5. Steven UGARKOVIC, 6. Tim PAYNE, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Ben OLD, 10. David BALL, 11. Bozhidar KRAEV, 12. Lucas MAURAGIS, 13. Nicholas PENNINGTON, 14. Alex RUFER (c), 17. Callan ELLIOT, 18. Ben WAINE, 19. Sam SUTTON, 20. Oli SAIL (gk), 21. Joshua LAWS, 23. Clayton LEWIS, 24. Oskar VAN HATTUM, 34. Jackson MANUEL, 35. Noah KARUNARATNE, 36. Riley BIDOIS, 39. Marco LORENZ, 40. Alex PAULSEN (gk)
Unavailable: 5. Steven UGARKOVIC (Cup tied), 10. David Ball (injured), 12. Lucas MAURAGIS (Cup tied), 14. Alex RUFER (injured)
Doubtful: 6. Tim PAYNE