Hyundai A-League preview: Wellington v Adelaide

Wellington Phoenix midfielder Michael McGlinchey and Adelaide United captain Eugene Galekovic.
A-League Rd 21 goals wrap Play Video
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Red-hot Adelaide United visit New Zealand seeking to extend their unbeaten run to a club-record 14 games. Phoenix are a tricky opponent though and they beat the Reds comfortably last time the two met in Wellington.

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Saturday, 5 March 2016

Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United

Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Kick-Off: 7:15 PM (Local) (5:15 PM (AEDT))

Referee: Peter Green

Assistant Referee 1: Simon Lount

Assistant Referee 2: Mark Rule

Fourth Official: Matthew Conger

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 891 ABC Adelaide, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WELvADL

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets 

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (GK), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Justin GULLEY, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 6.Dylan FOX, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY, 11.Kwabena APPIAH, 12.Blake POWELL, 13.Albert RIERA, 16.Louis FENTON, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 22.Andrew DURANTE (captain), 23.Matthew RIDENTON, 24.Logan ROGERSON, 26.Hamish WATSON

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 12.Blake POWELL (returns from injury), 26.Hamish WATSON (returns from suspension)

Outs: Nil.

Unavailable: 14.Alex RUFER (broken leg - season), 17.Vince LIA (knee injury - 2 to 3 weeks), 21.Roy KRISHNA (ankle injury - 10 to 12 weeks)

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 6.Stefan MAUK, 7.PABLO SANCHEZ, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Bruce DJITE, 14.George MELLS, 15.Ben WARLAND, 16.Craig GOODWIN, 17.Mate DUGANDZIC, 20.John HALL (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 23.Jordan ELSEY, 24.Bruce KAMAU, 26.Jordan PUDLER

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA (returns from suspension), 26.Jordan PUDLER (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 8.ISAIAS (knee – 4 weeks), 19.Eli BABALJ (knee – season)

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

Adelaide United are the form team in the Hyundai A-League and genuine title contenders, if not favourites. 

Their clinical dismantling of Brisbane last Saturday followed a late win at Melbourne Victory the previous week. Guillermo Amor has his men firing and fearing no-one - home or away.

After a dreadful mid-season patch which all but sunk Phoenix’s playoff hopes, they’ve shown signs of life recently, thrashing Western Sydney away and overcoming Melbourne City at home last time out. 

With key players returning and the comfort of a second successive home game, Ernie Merrick’s men could prove to be a tricky obstacle in the Reds’ run-in.

OPTA DATA

  • Wellington will be looking for consecutive wins for just the second time this season after snapping a four game home winless streak in their last match against Melbourne City.
  • Adelaide United have won four of their last seven matches against Wellington and will be hunting for back-to-back wins against the Phoenix for the first time since November 2014.
  • Wellington have scored nine goals in their last three matches; not since December 2014 have they scored so many over a three-game period.
  • The winner of three of the last four iterations of this fixture has scored at least three goals in the match.
  • Wellington Phoenix have scored six goals in the opening 15 minutes of games so far this season, the equal most of any team in the competition with Melbourne City.

ROUTE TO GOAL

Ernie Merrick found two unlikely goalscorers in the 2-1 win over Melbourne City with makeshift strikers Matt Ridenton and Louis Fenton on the scoresheet, the latter for the first time in over three years. 

With Hamish Watson back from suspension and Blake Powell over his hamstring niggle, the Phoenix mentor now appears spoilt for choice at the sharp end, even with Roy Krishna still a long-term casualty.

Unlike some of the other title contenders, Adelaide haven’t relied on one player to score goals with eleven players chipping in across the season and the top-scorers Pablo Sanchez and Marcelo Carrusca netting just five times each. 

Young tyro Bruce Kamau has burst onto centre stage in the last fortnight, scoring in successive games, during which he’s looked a constant threat.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

With their license extension sorted, the Phoenix continued their recent recruitment drive, re-signing crucial players Roy Krishna and Michael McGlinchey for two more seasons.

FORM LINES

Wellington Phoenix: LLWLW

Adelaide United: WDWWW

PREDICTION

Wellington Phoenix 2 Adelaide United 2