The Wellington Phoenix, flying high on their current six match unbeaten streak (3W, 3D), are looking forward to a re-match against rivals Western United – this time at United’s Mars Stadium in Ballarat.
The Phoenix suffered a 1-0 home loss to ex-Phoenix coach Mark Rudan’s Western United squad back in Round 1, in what was both Ufuk Talay’s first match at the helm of the Wellington side and United’s first ever Hyundai A-League match.
Now both teams are sitting in the top six; Wellington Phoenix are currently the most in-form club in the Hyundai A-League, punctuated by their 2-2 draw against champions Sydney FC last round (Sydney’s first draw of the season). Meanwhile Western United are on a three-game unbeaten run, and currently sitting in third place on the ladder.
The re-match will see goal-scoring dynamo Ulises Davila – currently third-equal with seven goals to his name – going up against veteran striker Besart Berisha. And the Phoenix squad will no doubt be looking forward to facing ex-teammate Andrew Durante once again, provided he passes a concussion test after being struck in the head with the ball in his last match.
Both clubs also saw two of their players in the Hyundai A-League team of the week; with Cameron Devlin and Reno Piscopo representing Wellington, and Connor Pain and Brendan Hamill in for Western United.
Piscopo scored his first goal of the season against Sydney FC, while Devlin excelled while playing against his old club – in place of the injured Alex Rufer, who the club is keen to welcome back onto the pitch as soon as possible.
If Wellington can exact their revenge against Western United and extend their winning streak into the new year, they’ll then be looking forward to three home matches in their next four – a golden opportunity to continue climbing the ladder in pursuit of Hyundai A-League glory.
- In Wellington Phoenix’s last six matches (W3, D3), they have only conceded one first-half goal in this period.
- Western United (29.3%) and Wellington Phoenix (29.1%) have the highest accuracy from open-play crosses of any teams this Hyundai A-League season.
- Ulises Dávila has made 41 total shots (including blocks) this Hyundai A-League campaign, more than any other player.
At a Glance:
Date: Saturday, 28 December 2019
Kick-off: 7pm NZT
Venue: Mars Stadium, Ballarat
Broadcast (NZ) Sky Sport 7
Wellington Phoenix Squad:
1.Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 2.Liam McGING, 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 5.Matti STEINMANN, 6.Tim PAYNE, 7.Reno PISCOPO, 8.Cameron DEVLIN, 9.David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA, 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 13.Liberato CACACE, 14.Alex RUFER, 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 21.Callum MCCOWATT, 23.Walter SCOTT, 27.Steven TAYLOR (c), 31.Ben WAINE, 32.Sam SUTTON, 88. Gary HOOPER
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 14.Alex RUFER (Return from Injury), 23.Walter SCOTT (promoted)
Unavailable: 16.Louis FENTON (Shoulder – Season)
Western United FC Squad:
1.Filip KURTO (GK), 2.Aaron CALVER, 3.Brendan HAMILL, 4.Andrew DURANTE, 5.Dylan PIERIAS, 6.Connor CHAPMAN, 7. Valentino YUEL 8.Panagiotis KONE, 9.Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS, 10.Scott McDONALD, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Dario JERTEC, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 14.Max BURGESS, 15.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 18.Besart BERISHA, 22.Ersan GULUM, 23.Alessandro DIAMANTI (c), 27, Jerry SKOTADIS, 30.Ryan SCOTT (GK)
*2-4 to be omitted*
Ins: 6.Connor CHAPMAN (promoted), 10.Scott McDONALD (promoted), 13.Ivan VUJICA (promoted)
Unavailable: 19.Josh RISDON (injury), 20.James DELIANOV (gk) (knee – season)