WELLINGTON Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante says he and his teammates have put the disappointment of last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Adelaide United behind them and are focusing on their next match against Melbourne Victory on Sunday.
WELLINGTON Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante says he and his teammates have put the disappointment of last weekend-s 1-1 draw with Adelaide United behind them and are focusing on their next match against Melbourne Victory on Sunday.
The Phoenix were denied a three Hyundai A-League 2009/10 points against the Reds in controversial circumstances at Westpac Stadium last Friday, with what seemed to be Paul Ifill-s match-winning strike in the 85th minute disallowed as a result of an offside call against his strike partner, Chris Greenacre.
While the draw extended the Phoenix-s unbeaten run at Westpac Stadium to eight games, stretching back to October last year, the single competition point came as scant consolation. However, the dominant performance had given the Phoenix plenty to be happy about, Durante said.
“Obviously we were disappointed not to get all three points but in terms of the way we played there were plenty of positives. We know we deserved to win the game and it was a good performance, so things have been pretty upbeat.”
Durante said there was no point dwelling on the controversial climactic stages of the match at Westpac Stadium.
“Initially it is frustrating and disappointing but we-ve got to get on with it. We know we had a good game and we-ve got Melbourne this weekend, so that-s going to be a tough task. We have to focus everything on that.”
While Westpac Stadium has fast become a fortress for the Phoenix, Durante knows it is vital the team begins regularly picking up points on the road.
“Our home record is fantastic but we-ve got to turn that form into away points. We can-t keep going across the Tasman and not come back without maximum points and we-re definitely targeting all three in Melbourne this weekend.”
It will be an unusual lead-up to the match at Etihad Stadium for the Phoenix, with head coach Ricki Herbert and squad members Tim Brown, Leo Bertos, David Mulligan, Mark Paston, Tony Lochhead and Ben Sigmund in the Middle East for New Zealand-s international friendly against Jordan.
The All Whites contingent will fly direct into Melbourne on Friday following the match in Amman and will meet up with their Phoenix colleagues on Saturday ahead of the clash with Melbourne. Malta international Manny Muscat, who has been on World Cup qualifying duty in Europe, will also rejoin the team.
“That-s the nature and beauty of world football, we-ve got guys off overseas playing in international fixtures,” Durante said. “But the guys back here in Wellington have been working hard and (assistant coaches) Luciano Trani and Jonathan Gould have been doing a fantastic job of steering the ship.
“We-re looking forward to catching up with the boys in Melbourne.”
But there won-t be much time for chit-chat given the threat the Victory pose.
“It-s going to be a tough game against a very good team. They-ve got a fantastic squad, a lot of depth and quality players. We-ll have to be on our game. They-ve had a poor start to the season by their own standards but that means nothing – they can come out and tear teams apart at any stage.
“But we-ll be switched on because we really want to get maximum points in this game.”