Rejuvenated from their first win of the season last round, the Wellington Phoenix are looking to upset an in-form Adelaide United squad away at Coopers Stadium this Sunday.
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The Wellington Phoenix put together a complete performance at home against Brisbane Roar on Saturday, coming away with a vital 2-1 win on the strength of a high-octane offensive first half and a solid defensive stand in the second.
Captain Steven Taylor enjoyed arguably his best performance for the Phoenix, scoring his first goal of the season and making a goal-saving clearance in the box that was rated the Hyundai A-League’s Save of the Week. Taylor says the team has been galvanised by the win and are excited to head into Adelaide to keep the momentum going.
“We’re full of confidence now and the boys are training good – we’re ready to take the game to them this Sunday.”
Ulises Davila has continued on his goal-scoring tear, having scored four goals in the Phoenix’s last five matches, and assisting on another – the latter placing him fourth-equal on the Hyundai A-League table this season for combined goals and assists.
Taylor is full of praise for the teammate who he affectionately refers to as the ‘Mexican Magician’.
“I absolutely love his work rate and his ability on the ball, he sets the tone for us – getting after defenders and causing all sorts of problems for the opposition by cutting open defences so easily.”
The Wellington Phoenix will also be well-rested for the upcoming match, after six players returned against Brisbane last weekend only a few days removed from international duties with their respective All Whites and Olyroos squads.
One of those players, All Whites defender Tim Payne, enjoyed a strong game in his 90+ minutes on the field against Brisbane on Saturday – despite flying back from Lithuania on the Wednesday.
“It’s always a privilege to play for your national team, and in football you’re going to have games where you don’t feel 100%; it’s just part and parcel of pro football, to ensure that you’re mentally and physically prepared for the next match.”
For Adelaide, the Reds are currently riding a four-match winning streak – including their 3-1 triumph over Melbourne Victory at home on Saturday night – after dropping their first two matches on the season. Gertjan Verbeek’s side currently sit third on the Hyundai A-League table, thanks to the strong play of Riley McGree, James Troisi and Louis D’Arrigo in particular.
Wellington’s defensive focus will be on McGree, who has scored six goals in seven rounds this season, putting him 2nd on the Hyundai A-League table behind Melbourne City FC’s goal-scoring machine, Jamie MacLaren. Five of McGree’s goals have been scored inside the box, so Wellington’s focus must be on denying him chances in this area on Sunday.
Taylor recognises that McGree is an entertaining player and a threat the Phoenix will need to keep an eye on.
“Adelaide have threats all over the park, but (McGree) is one of their main guys to create goals and some of them this season have been phenomenal.”
Did you know?
- Tackle Kings: Wellington Phoenix have the best tackle success rate (64%) of any team this A-League season, nine percentage points more than Adelaide United (55%).
- Goal Gunners: Although Adelaide are third in the Hyundai A-League with 12 goals this season and have also attempted the third-most shots (80), their shooting accuracy (42.5%) is far less impressive – currently third-to-last on the table.
- Head-to-head: Interestingly, none of Adelaide’s 12 goals this season have been on headers, whereas two of Wellington’s seven goals have been headers – one by Gary Hooper in Round 4 and another in Round 7 to Taylor.
At a Glance:
Date: Sunday 1 December 2019
Kick-off: 8.00pm NZT / 5.30pm AEDT
Venue: Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Broadcast: (NZ) Sky Sport 7 / (AUS) FOX Sport 505
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Sky Sport 7 from 7:00pm (NZT) & Fox Sports 505 from 5:30pm (AEDT), Kayo Sports (www.kayosports.com.au) and MyFootball Live App, Live Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ADLvWEL
For worldwide coverage, please check out the International Broadcasters showing the game here.
Wellington Phoenix Squad:
Goalkeepers: 1.Stefan MARINOVIC (GK), 20.Oliver SAIL (GK)
Defenders: 2.Liam McGING, 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 13.Liberato CACACE, 23.Walter SCOTT, 27.Steven TAYLOR (c)
Midfielders: 5.Matti STEINMANN, 6.Tim PAYNE, 7.Reno PISCOPO, 8.Cameron DEVLIN, 14.Alex RUFER, 32. Sam SUTTON
Forwards: 9.David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA, 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 21.Callum MCCOWATT, 31.Ben WAINE, 88. Gary HOOPER
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, (promoted), 23. Walter SCOTT (promoted)
Unavailable: 16.Louis FENTON (Shoulder)
Adelaide United Squad:
2.Michael MARRONE, 4.Ryan STRAIN, 5.Michaël MARIA, 6.Vince LIA, 7.Ryan KITTO, 8.Riley McGREE, 10.James TROISI, 11.Kristian OPSETH, 14.George BLACKWOOD, 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 17.Nikola MILEUSNIĆ, 18.Lachlan BROOK, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 22.Michael JAKOBSEN (c), 23.Jordan ELSEY, 26.Ben HALLORAN, 27.Louis D’ARRIGO, 30.Isaac RICHARDS (gk), 35.Al Hassan TOURE
**2-3 to be omitted**
Ins: 18.Lachlan BROOK (promoted), 26.Ben HALLORAN (returns from injury)
Unavailable: 31.Mirko BOLAND (knee), 36.Noah SMITH (foot)