Preview: Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United
If the Phoenix want to be any part of the finals action, then they have to reverse the spectacular 6-1 drubbing they received in Adelaide in early December.
Date: Sunday January 18 Kick-off: 3:00pm AEDT, 5:00pm NZDT Venue: Westpac Stadium
TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and Sky Sport 1. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is Radio Network (Wellington) 1035AM and FRESH FM (Adelaide). To purchase tickets visit www.premier.ticketek.co.nz
Head-to-head 5 Hyundai A-League meetings: Wellington Phoenix 0 wins, Adelaide 4 wins, Draws - 1.
Previous meeting Adelaide United 6, Wellington Phoenix 1, Hindmarsh Stadium, Round 14, December 2008
Past Five Games Wellington Phoenix: Round 15: Wellington Phoenix 1, Perth Glory 1, Westpac Stadium Round 16: Wellington Phoenix 1, Central Coast Mariners 0, Westpac Stadium Round 17: Queensland Roar 3, Wellington Phoenix 2, Suncorp Stadium Round 18: Wellington Phoenix 3, Newcastle Jets 0, Westpac Stadium Round 19: Sydney FC 1, Wellington Phoenix 0, SFS
Adelaide: Round 17: Perth Glory 0, Adelaide United 1, Members Equity Stadium Round 18: Adelaide United 2, Sydney FC 0. Adelaide Oval Round 15: Melbourne Victory 1, Adelaide United 0, Telstra Dome Round 19: Adelaide United 2, Newcastle Jets 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 16: Adelaide United 0, Queensland Roar 0, Hindmarsh Stadium
Analysis Can Wellington perform a five-goal turnaround on Adelaide in the space of six weeks? Well if the Phoenix want to be any part of the finals action, then they have to reverse the spectacular 6-1 drubbing they received in Adelaide in early December.
It's a massive task for Ricki Herbert's team, who have stuttered all-but out of contention after losses to Queensland and Sydney in the past three matches. Their luck seems to have run out and there is an argument that they could have won both of those matches. Certainly the loss to Sydney could have been avoided if Troy Hearfield had kept his head, but his second-half sending off changed the game and Sydney snuck through courtesy of a late goal.
That leaves Phoenix probably needing to win both of their final matches and hoping Central Coast don't pick up any more than two points.
Hearfield serves the first week of his two-match ban, while Vaughan Coveny, who announced his retirement during the week, is included for the club's final home game of the season along with Ben Sigmund and Costa Barbarouses.
Adelaide is looking to preserve its excellent record against the Phoenix having won four and drawn one of the five clashes between these two teams. They come into this match after playing four matches in the space of 11 days, with two wins, a loss and a draw in that time enough to preserve their position on top of the ladder.
The 0-0 draw against Queensland was an uninspired performance and the Reds were lucky to get away with a point. Eugene Galekovic was the hero while defenders Sasa Ognenovski and Alemao both had strong games to limit the Roar's chances.
Are the Reds getting tired? Well they certainly haven't turned it on since returning from the World Club Championship. Their three wins over lowly-ranked opponents have been unspectacular, while they looked decidedly flat against Melbourne and Queensland. Will the trip to New Zealand be a step too far?
Aurelio Vidmar doesn't seem to have those concerns and with Paul Agostino and Angelo Costanzo promoted and no-one omitted, it doesn't appear he will change much around.
Wellington Phoenix Squad: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Jeremy CHRISTIE, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Jon McKAIN, 5. Karl DODD, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS, 8. Vaughan COVENY, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 10. Michael FERRANTE, 11. DANIEL, 15. Adam KWASNIK, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 20. Glen MOSS (gk), 22. Andrew DURANTE, 23. Costa BARBAROUSES, 25. Manny MUSCAT.
*two to be omitted
In:8. Vaughan COVENY (promoted), 18. Ben SIGMUND (return from injury), 23. Costa BARBAROUSES (promoted). Out: 13. Troy HEARFIELD (suspended - 2 weeks). Unavailable: 17. Vince LIA (knee - season).
Adelaide United Squad: 20.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.ALEMAO, 4.Angelo COSTANZO, 5.Michael VALKANIS, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 9.Paul AGOSTINO, 10.CRISTIANO, 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 15.Jonas SALLEY, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 19.Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 24.Paul REID, 25.Robert YOUNIS, 70.Codey LARKIN (gk) *two to be omitted
In: 9.Paul AGOSTINO (promoted), 4.Angelo COSTANZO (promoted) Out. Nil
Unavailable Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk) (ankle - 2 weeks), DIEGO (quad - 2 weeks), Daniel BELTRAME (gk) (knee - season), Daniel MULLEN (knee - 4 weeks), Matthew NASH (gk) (shoulder - 2 weeks), Kristian SARKIES (ankle - 2 weeks), Jason SPAGNUOLO (knee - 1 week)