Australia Cup Match Review: Wellington Phoenix vs. Melbourne City

The Wellington Phoenix Men have progressed to the Quarter-Final of the Australia Cup after defeating Melbourne City by 2-1 last night at Casey Fields. 

New recruit Bozhidar Kraev made his starting debut for the side and was involved in our first goal, which Kosta Barbarouses volleyed home from close range in the 19th minute. 

Not long after, Sam Sutton’s cross found the head of Ben Waine, who rose high above Curtis Good to nod home our second goal of the evening putting the team up by 2-0. 

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 17: The Phoenix pose for a photograph in front of fans after winning the Australia Cup Rd of 16 match between Melbourne City FC and Wellington Phoenix FC at Casey Fields on August 17, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

The Wellington Phoenix weren’t short of chances throughout the match, with Clayton Lewis, Ben Waine & Bozhidar Kraev all knocking at the door searching for a third goal.

In the 85th minute, Melbourne City pulled a goal back through Matthew Leckie, which turned the tides of the match into a cracking final few minutes. 

New signing Yan Sasse made his debut late on and helped the Nix hold on for a 2-1 victory, allowing the Wellington Phoenix to progress to the Quarterfinals of the Australia Cup where the team will face Macarthur FC. 

Stand-in captain Oli Sail was pleased with how the team executed their game plan and expressed his delight in having experienced forward Kosta Barbarouses back with the team

“They’re a good side, we know what they’re like in possession so we were comfortable sitting in our block and in our shape making sure they couldn’t break lines,” Sail told Channel 10

“We made sure we pounced on negative passes or a poor touch and on the press, we would step right the way up and it felt like it worked quite well.

“It made the front three work quite down and a lot of the time they couldn’t get down on time to stay on side, so particularly well executed in the first half.

“It’s also exciting times having Kosta [Barbarouses] back with us, he’s a good recruitment and we know he’s got goals in him and success and championships at this level, so it’s great to see him his first goal back.”

Wellington Phoenix Squad: 20. Oli SAIL (GK), 4. Scott WOOTTON, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES (24. Oskar VAN HATTUM 88’), 8. Ben OLD, 11. Bozhidar KRAEV (31. Yan SASSE 90+2’), 13, Nicholas PENNINGTON (34. Jackson MANUEL 90+4’), 17. Callan ELLIOT, 18. Ben WAINE, 19. Sam SUTTON, 21. Joshua LAWS, 23. Clayton LEWIS

Substitutes not used: 40. Alex PAULSEN (GK), 3. Finn SURMAN, 35. Noah KARUNARATNE, 36. Riley BIDOIS