Our resident teenage journalist Dan Moskovitz casts his eye over Wellington Phoenix’s crucial home game against Adelaide United this Saturday night.
Setting the scene:
After a disappointing 2017, with the new additions of Matija Ljujic and Nathan Burns, Wellington Phoenix are finally beginning to pick up form. With 2-1 and 3-2 wins over the high flying Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets, and a 1-1 draw with the Western Sydney Wanderers in between those two games, things are looking up! And there’s more good news; our opponents, Adelaide lost 5-0 in their last outing, and a win for Phoenix will guarantee that we will finally move out of tenth spot, no matter what happens elsewhere.
With the Reds in town Nathan Burns and possibly Daniel Mullen could face their former club on Saturday, but sadly Nix stalwart Vinnie Lia is believed unavailable through injury.
Wellington Phoenix 1-1 Adelaide United, 8 October 2017
In the opening match of the 2017-18 season, the Nix took the lead early when Matt Ridenton’s freekick was cleared by Adelaide United, but only as far as Roy Krishna who sent the ball to Dario Vidosic, who headed the ball into the goal.
Adelaide, however, would respond just four minutes later when Nikola Mileusnic got to the edge of the box, before crossing to Johan Absalonsen who headed the ball into the net.
Both sides had chances such as when Adelaide’s George Blackwood headed at the keeper from point blank range, or when Nix’s Andrija Kaludjerovic was set free, though his shot was fired straight at Adelaide goalie Paul Izzo.
However, both goals within the first ten minutes was all the match could muster, and so both teams left with a point a piece.
Adelaide’s recent form:
Form has been hard to come by for the visitors, with just the one 3-0 win over the Perth Glory in their past five matches. Two losses and two draws make up the other four, with their latest game being a 5-0 defeat to Melbourne City.
For the Nix, Marco Rossi is suspended, Dylan Fox could miss out with a hamstring problem, while Daniel Mullen is also in doubt after limping off against the Jets.
Meanwhile, Adelaide United will be missing Lia, as well as Baba Diawara, Johan Absalonsen, and Tarek Elrich with long-term injuries.
Players to watch:
Phoenix – Matjia Ljujic. The Serbian may have arrived with little hype compared to Nathan Burns, but has shown his class with two stunning goals in the past two matches.
Adelaide – Ryan Kitto. The Australian has proved his worth this season, as he is Adelaide’s top scorer with five goals this season.
Elsewhere in the A-league: (All times NZT)
Thursday 25 January
Melbourne City vs Newcastle Jets, 9.50pm
Friday 26 January
Melbourne Victory vs Sydney FC, 9.50pm
Saturday 27 January
Central Coast Mariners vs Brisbane Roar, 9.50pm
Sunday 28 January
Perth Glory vs Western Sydney Wanderers, 10.30pm