Auckland gets its chance to cheer on the Hyundai A-League entertainers from Wellington and with a crowd tipped to nudge 20,000, Saturday should be a fabulous day for New Zealand football when Phoenix meet the Mariners at Eden Park.
Saturday, 13 December 2014
Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-Off: 5:00 PM (Local) (3:00 PM AEDT)
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (GK), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Michael BOXALL, 7.Kenny CUNNINGHAM, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9.Nathan BURNS, 10.Michael McGLINCHEY, 11.Jeremy BROCKIE, 13.Albert RIERA, 14.Alex RUFER, 16.Louis FENTON, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 14.Alex RUFER (promoted)
Outs: 17.Vince LIA (hamstring injury)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Matt NASH (GK), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Zac ANDERSON, 7.John HUTCHINSON (c), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY, 9.Mitchell DUKE, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 12.Liam REDDY (GK), 15.Matt SIM, 17.Richard VERNES, 18.Glen TRIFIRO, 19.Matt SIMON, 21.Michael NEILL, 23.Isaka CERNAK, 25.Eddy BOSNAR
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO (returns from injury), 23.Isaka CERNAK (promoted), 25.Eddy BOSNAR (returns from illness)
Outs: 27.Zachary CAIRNCROSS (omitted)
Unavailable: 6.Brent GRIFFITHS (injury – indefinite)
TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 3.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand).
Radio Broadcast: Grandstand Digital, Online/ ABC Radio Mobile phone app, Radio Sport Wellington, Radio Sport Extra online and on the i-Heart Radio app
The Wellington Phoenix embark on what has become their annual trip to Auckland full of confidence after back-to-back wins during which they’ve banged in eight goals.
The eye-catching form of Roy Krishna should ensure a large turnout from the significant Fijian community in New Zealand’s largest city, and his potent combination with the red-hot Nathan Burns and Michael McGlinchey will create more defensive headaches for the beleaguered visitors.
It’s the first trip to Eden Park for Central Coast, who’ll be hoping a change in scenery prompts a turnaround in their recent fortunes. Last weekend’s 3-0 loss to Victory was their eighth winless game in succession and his side’s inability to find the net must be of huge concern to coach Phil Moss.
OPTA DATA STATS
The relative fortunes of these two sides can be summed up in the “Goals For” column on the league table. The Phoenix have found their goalscoring mojo this season, netting an average of two goals per game, behind only Melbourne Victory. By contrast, no team has scored fewer than the Mariners, and in the four games since John Hutchinson’s dramatic late equaliser against Melbourne City, they’ve found the net just once.
However, if there is a side the Mariners might feel confident breaking their duck against, it’s Wellington. They’ve scored at least once in each of the last twelve games against the Phoenix, winning eight and drawing two of those meetings.
A draw seems unlikely with the Phoenix the only side not to share the points so far this season.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Roy Krishna has the chance to become just the second player in Phoenix history to score in four consecutive Hyundai A-League matches, while Nathan Burns is also in sparkling form, finding the net eight times already this season. Pulling the attacking strings in midfield is Roly Bonevacia, with the Dutchman providing the assists for all three Phoenix goals in their comeback win over the Jets last weekend.
By contrast, the Mariners would take a goal from anyone at the moment, having scored just five in nine games, including an own-goal. No player has more than one goal to his name and an opposition goalkeeper has picked the ball out of the net just once in the Mariners’ last six hours of football.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Phoenix striker Nathan Burns has been irresistible this season, leading the Hyundai A-League’s Golden Boot race. His red-hot form resulted in a widely-predicted call-up to the provisional Socceroos squad for the Asian Cup.
Phoenix have won consecutive games after back-to-back away losses, and have won their last three at home, scoring ten goals in the process. The Mariners are winless since the F3 derby on opening day, having lost five and drawn three of their matches since.
DID YOU KNOW?
This is the eleventh Phoenix “home” game to be played outside of Wellington and the fourth in Auckland, with games also taken to Christchurch (3), Dunedin (2), Palmerston North and Napier. The Phoenix have won six, drawn three and lost just one of those games.
Wellington Phoenix 3 Central Coast Mariners 0
It’s hard to foresee anything other than a comfortable Wellington win. The Phoenix are in red-hot goalscoring form and will be cheered on by what should be a crowd of close to 20,000 in Auckland. By contrast, the Mariners are in one of the worst form slumps in their storied history with seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel.