Wellington Phoenix will head to high-flying Melbourne Victory full of confidence ahead of a Friday night showdown at AAMI Park to kick-off Round 10 of the Hyundai A-League.
Mark Rudan’s Phoenix have won three on the trot, defeating Sydney FC, Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar in an eye-catching run of form that has seen them surge into the top six.
Key to Phoenix’s impressive form has been a high-pressing game, the goals of Roy Krishna and the midfield trickery of teenage sensation Sarpreet Singh.
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The 19-year-old Singh was simply outstanding in a 4-1 win over Brisbane Roar in Round 9, scoring a free-kick and producing a series of surging runs into the final third.
Wellington will face a side who are also on an excellent run of their own with Kevin Muscat’s Victory unbeaten in seven - of which six have been wins.
Victory’s winning run came to an end in a 1-1 Melbourne Derby draw with City in Round 9 as Dario Vidosic’s stoppage-time equaliser cancelled out Ola Toivonen’s effort.
But marquee man Keisuke Honda is set to return for this one in a huge boost for the home side.
The free-scoring Victory average better than two goals per game and with the likes of Honda, Ola Toivonen, Kosta Barbarouses and James Troisi in fine touch will take some stopping.
Phoenix have won three of their last five clashes against Victory, including a 3-0 success at AAMI Park in April 2017.
Victory came from behind to win the last meeting between the two sides, though, Leroy George and Kenny Athiu scoring in the last seven minutes in a 2-1 success.
Key Opta Stats
- The results are split in the last eight meetings between Melbourne Victory (W4) and Wellington Phoenix (W4), with Victory scoring 16 goals to Wellington’s 15 in this span.
- Wellington have won just once in their last nine visits to AAMI Park (D1, L7) – however they have played Victory just twice in this span (W1, L1), the other games being hosted by Melbourne City.
- Victory striker Ola Toivonen’s minutes-per-goal ratio of 108.5minutes (4 goals) is the best rate of any player to have featured for more than 250 minutes in the Hyundai A-League this season.
Ins and Outs
Melbourne Victory squad: 1. Matt ACTON (GK), 2. Storm ROUX, 3. Corey BROWN, 4. Keisuke HONDA, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 7. Kenny ATHIU, 8. Terry ANTONIS, 9. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10. James TROISI, 11. Ola TOIVONEN, 13. Birkan KIRDAR, 14. Tommy DENG, 15. Raul BAENA, 16. Josh HOPE, 19. Rahmat AKBARI, 20. Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21. Carl VALERI (C), 22. Nick ANSELL. **two to be omitted**
Ins: 4. Keisuke HONDA (return from injury), 15. Raul BAENA (return from injury)
Unavailable: Jai Ingham (quad – TBC), 5. Georg NIEDERMEIER (ankle – TBC)
Wellington Phoenix Squad: 1.Filip KURTO, 4.Mandi SOSA, 5.Ryan LOWRY, 6.Dylan FOX, 8.Mitch NICHOLS, 9.Nathan BURNS, 11.David WILLIAMS, 13.Liberato CACACE, 14.Alex RUFER, 15.Michal KOPZCYNSKI, 16.Louis FENTON, 18.Sarpreet SINGH, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Max BURGESS, 27.Steven TAYLOR. **two to be omitted**
Ins: 6. Dylan FOX (promoted), 15. Michal KOPZCYNSKI (returns from injury)
How to watch
Tune in to FOX SPORTS 505 to catch the Friday night fixture, which kicks off at 7.50pm (AEDT). You can also stream the match on the MyFootball Live App, Live Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers.
Be there as Victory face Phoenix. Secure your seat here.
Round 10: Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix