The Wellington Phoenix travel to Bankwest Stadium tonight to face the Western Sydney Wanderers tonight, in a re-match of their Match Week 9 game – a 2-2 draw thanks to goals from Mirza Muratovic and Louis Fenton.
This is the first game to be played during Harmony Week, which celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity – making it fitting that this match falls on the second anniversary of the Christchurch Mosque shooting, with the Phoenix and Wanderers working together to honour the victims of this tragedy.
The Nix will have enjoy fan support from a culturally diverse crowd tonight, with a large contingent of both Mexican and Israeli supporters travelling to Bankwest Stadium to cheer on their respective countrymen Ulises Davila and Tomer Hemed
The Phoenix come into tonight’s game riding a two-match winning streak, scoring five goals during this stretch as well as keeping two clean sheets in a row. Collecting their third consecutive clean sheet tonight will mark the first time they’ve done so since 2010.
These two matches have displayed a pair of improving – and exciting – aspects of Phoenix football this season; the goal-scoring partnership of David Ball and Ben Waine and the much-improved Nix defensive line.
Ball and Waine have both scored goals in back to matches (versus the Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory), something the Phoenix weren’t able to achieve last season. The Nix will look to continue to build on this partnership to be a reliable – and consistent – generator of goals both inside and outside the box this season.
The inspired play of goalkeeper Oli Sail has played a key role in the team’s recent success – the 25-year-old currently leading the competition in both saves per game (6) and save percentage (86%). And both Liam McGing and Tim Payne have excelled in the central defender role over the past few matches; making it a tough decision for coach Talay when Steven Taylor returns to the line-up.
The Phoenix will also welcome back Jaushua Sotirio and his goal-scoring prowess for this match, as he returns from a knee injury suffered in practice last month.
Meanwhile the Western Sydney Wanderers sit in sixth place, having picked up just four points in their past four matches, with a 3-2 loss to Adelaide (followed by Melbourne City) breaking their seven-match unbeaten streak – their only win in March a 1-0 victory versus Western United in the last round, thanks to a goal on debut from Jordan Mutch.
Led by their captain Dylan McGowan, the Wanderers boast several big names on their squad in the form of Simon Cox, Mitchell Duke and Bernie Ibini, as well as talented youngsters Keanu Baccus and Tate Russell. 23-year-old goalkeeper Daniel Margush has also impressed in his first season with the Wanderers, as evidenced by his three clean sheets this campaign.
Scoring-wise, the Wanderers have spread their goals around this season, with 11 different players registering a goal in 11 matches this season; Graham Dorrans, Bruce Kamau and Kwame Yeboah all sitting on two goals apiece to jointly lead the club.
The Wellington Phoenix face the Western Sydney Wanderers tonight at Bankwest Stadium from 7.05pm AEDT (9.05pm NZ Time).
Did You Know?
- He Who Scores First: The Wellington Phoenix are unbeaten this season when scoring first in a match (3W, 2D)
- The first 30: No other team has conceded fewer goals in the opening 30 minutes of games this season than the Wellington Phoenix (2)
- Rufer Watch: Alex Rufer has recorded a team-high three assists this season (6th equal in the competition); he also sits in the top-10 in passing in the opposition half (84.7%) and Assists and Chances Created (3 and 12).
At a Glance:
Date: Monday, 15 March 2021
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEDT / 9.05pm NZ Time
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta
– Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 6:30pm (AEDT)
– Sky Sport 7 (New Zealand)
– Kayo Sports (www.kayosports.com.au)
– MyFootball Live App, Live Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 2.Liam McGING, 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 5.James MCGARRY, 6.Tim PAYNE, 7.Reno PISCOPO, 8.Cameron DEVLIN, 9.David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA, 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 12.Matthew RIDENTON, 13.Charles LOKOLI-NGOY, 14.Alex RUFER, 15.Mirza MURATOVIC, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Tomer HEMED, 18.Ben WAINE, 20.Oliver SAIL, 21.Joshua LAWS, 23.Clayton LEWIS
**2-3 to be omitted**
Ins: 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI (promoted), 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO (return from injury)
Unavailable: 3.Luke DEVERE (knee injury, 10 weeks), 27.Steven TAYLOR (quarantine, 1 week)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 2.Ziggy GORDON, 4.Dylan McGOWAN (C), 6.Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS, 7.Bruce KAMAU, 8.Jordan O’DOHERTY, 9.Bernie IBINI, 10.Simon COX, 11.Kwame YEBOAH, 12.Mitchell DUKE, 13.Tate RUSSELL, 14.James TROISI, 17.Keanu BACCUS, 18.Graham DORRANS, 19.Jordon MUTCH, 27.Nicolai MULLER, 29.Daniel WILMERING, 30.Daniel MARGUSH (GK), 33.Mark NATTA, 39.Thomas AQUILINA, 40.Noah JAMES (GK)
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 6.Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS (returns from injury), 8.Jordan O’DOHERTY (promoted), 39.Thomas AQUILINA (promoted)
Outs: 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI (not selected)
Unavailable: 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (long term injury)