671 days. That’s how long it’s been since Graham Arnold’s Sydney FC last lost a home at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.
With first playing host to tenth it’s a seeming ‘Mission Impossible’ for Wellington Phoenix, especially with a raft of injuries ruling out key players. But led by captain Andrew Durante in his landmark 279th Hyundai A-League appearance you can be assured that those that do walk out in yellow & black (or black as the case may be) will be there to fight for a result.
Phoenix have enjoyed a resurgence in 2018, so much so that until last week’s disappointing result against Adelaide United, the Nix in terms of points per game were one of the form teams in the competition.
Phoenix topscorer Andrija Kaludjerović copped a nasty blow on the foot in the tenth minute against Adelaide and was rendered a virtual passenger in that game. He’s not recovered and will miss the trip to Sydney with a heel injury. Roy Krishna will also miss the trip following further scans in Auckland on a troubled hamstring with young Academy rising star Sarpreet Singh also unfit to travel.
Marco Rossi will return however following suspension, as will Daniel Mullen whose goal against former club Newcastle Jets helped spark one of the upset results of the season. Young Academy graduate Liberato Cacace travels with the squad and could be in line to make his A-League debut from the bench.
For Sydney FC it’s a near full squad to choose from, with just Brandon O’Neill out due to suspension.
The hosts are on a 12-game unbeaten streak, but they have been held to three draws in their last five appearances.
It could be a tight encounter, or a goal-fest therefore – catch all the action around NZ on Sky Sport 3 from 9.50pm (NZT). COYN!
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 2.Daniel MULLEN, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Goran PARACKI, 6.Dylan FOX, 7.Nathan BURNS, 8.Matija LJUJIC, 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY, 12.Adam PARKHOUSE, 13.Marco ROSSI, 14.Alex RUFER, 19.Tom DOYLE, 22.Andrew DURANTE(c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON, 24.Logan ROGERSON, 26.Liberato CACACE, 30.Keegan SMITH (gk)
**one to be omitted**
Ins: 2.Daniel MULLEN (promoted), 13.Marco ROSSI (returns from suspension), 26.Liberato CACACE (promoted)
Outs: 9.Andrija KALUDJEROVIC (heel); 18.Sarpreet SINGH (injured)
Unavailable: Ryan LOWRY (quad strain) Roy KRISHNA (hamstring)
Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2.Aaron CALVER, 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jordy BUIJS, 6.Josh BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Paulo RETRE, 9.BOBÔ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Adrian MIERZEJEWSKI, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Anthony KALIK, 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.Chris ZUVELA, 21.Charles LOKOLINGOY, 26.Luke WILKSHIRE, 30.Thomas HEWARD-BELLE (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Anthony KALIK, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.Chris ZUVELA (all promoted)
Outs: 13.Brandon O’NEILL (suspended – 1 week)
Unavailable: 23.Rhyan GRANT (knee – indefinite)