The Wellington Phoenix have continued their golden run with a thrilling 2-2 victory at home versus first-placed Sydney FC.
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The Phoenix played a strong all-around game to disrupt the Hyundai A-League champions and remain unbeaten in the last six matches (W3, D3) – in the process putting a halt to Sydney’s own 6-match winning streak.
After both teams observed a moment’s silence for the victims of the Whakaari/White Island tragedy, the visitors went up 1-0 early on through Adam Le Fondre.
Reno Piscopo responded shortly after with the equaliser, banging home a stunning goal off a crisp assist from David Ball. It was Piscopo’s first goal of the season and well-deserved for the effort he’s put in over the past few weeks.
Then at 37 minutes, it was Ulises Davila’s turn to strike; a rocket from outside the box to put the home side up 2-1. That remained the score at half-time, with Phoenix controlling possession, disrupting passing lanes and having the most opportunities on attack – against a Sydney side that is used to dominating the opposition.
The second half started with Sydney going strong on attack, attempting a corner in the 55th minute that bounced off of Steven Taylor into the Phoenix goal – Sydney FC fortunate to square things up at two apiece.
The Phoenix were undeterred and keen to give the crowd a win, in their last match at Westpac Stadium before it officially re-brands to Sky Stadium.
The crowd erupted when Liberato Cacace pulled out some flashy dribbling to get into the box, setting up Davila for a sure goal that went agonisingly wide. Then Sotirio partnered up with Ball on a last-gasp shot in injury time, with the latter’s effort just fizzing wide of the post.
Full-time and both teams take away a point; Sydney extending their top of the table lead over Melbourne City to 6 points, and Wellington Phoenix remaining in place 6th ahead of Western Sydney Wanderers.
The Wellington Phoenix now travel to Mars Stadium in Melbourne for their last match of the year; taking on foes Western United at 7pm NZST on Saturday 28th December.
Wellington Phoenix Starting XI
1. Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 3. Luke DEVERE, 5. Matti STEINMANN, 6. Tim Payne, 7. Reno PISCOPO, 8. Cameron DEVLIN, 9. David BALL, 10. Ulises DAVILA,11. Jaushua SOTIRIO, 13. Liberato CACACE, 27. Steven TAYLOR (c)
Sydney FC Starting XI
Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 4.Alex WILKINSON (c), 5.Alex BAUMJOHANN, 6.Ryan McGOWAN, 8.Paulo RETRE, 9.Adam LE FONDRE, 11.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 16.Joel KING, 17.Anthony CACERES, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 26.Luke BRATTAN
Wellington Phoenix Substitutes
80’ ON 88.Gary HOOPER OFF 7. Reno PISCOPO
90’+4 ON 32.Sam SUTTON OFF 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO
Melbourne Victory Substitutions
55’ ON 10.Milos NINKOVIC OFF 4.Alex WILKINSON
75’ ON 12.Trent BUHAGIAR OFF 11.Kosta BARBAROUSES
87’ ON 18.Luke IVANOVIC 8.Paulo RETRE
14’ Adam LE FONDRE (Sydney FC)
25’ Reno PISCOPO (Wellington Phoenix)
37’ Ulises DAVILA (Wellington Phoenix)
57’ (OG) Steven TAYLOR (Wellington Phoenix)
Next Match details
Round 12 – Wellington Phoenix versus Western United at Mars Stadium, Wellington; Saturday 28th December 2019, 7pm NZT