Wellington Phoenix v Western United: match preview

History will be made in the capital of New Zealand this Sunday afternoon as Western United make their inaugural Hyundai A-League bow against Wellington Phoenix. 

And if nothing else, it's sure to be a baptism of fire for the team from Melbourne as coach Mark Rudan returns to Wellington, who he helped guide to the Finals last season before leaving for United halfway through his contract.

There, he was later joined by Phoenix stalwart Andrew Durante, promising playmaker Max Burgess and the club's star goalkeeper, Filip Kurto. And, having also added the league's all-time top scorer Besart Berisha to their ranks, United have all the ingredients to be a force in 2019/20.

Wellington are also something of an unknown quantity. New boss Ufuk Talay has replenished the squad with a mixture of promising untried youth and experienced international stars. Fans will get a first taste of what to expect on Sunday.

Wellington Phoenix season preview
Western United season preview 

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Sunday 13, October 2019
Kick-off: 4.00 AEDT
Venue: Westpac Stadium
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
Stream: Kayo Sports 

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Team news

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1. Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 2. Liam MCGING, 3. Luke DEVERE, 4.Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 5. Matti STEINMANN, 6.Tim PAYNE, 7. Reno PISCOPO, 8. Cameron DEVLIN, 9. David BALL, 10. Ulises DAVILA, 11. Jaushua SOTIRIO, 13. Liberato CACACE, 14. Alex RUFER, 16. Louis FENTON, 17. Callan ELLIOT, 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 21.Callum MCCOWATT, 23. Walter SCOTT, 27. Steven TAYLOR (c), 31. Ben WAINE **2-4 to be omitted**

Unavailable: Nil

Western United FC squad: 1.Filip KURTO (gk)2.Aaron CALVER, 4.Andrew DURANTE, 5.Dylan PIERIAS, 6.Connor CHAPMAN, 8.Panagiotis KONE, 9.Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS, 10.Scott MCDONALD, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Dario JERTEC, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 14.Max  BURGESS, 15.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 17.Joshua CAVALLO, 18.Besart BERISHA, 19.Joshua RISDON, 20.James DELIANOV (gk), 22.Ersan GULUM, 23.Alessandro DIAMANTI (c), 24.Thiel IRADUKUNDA **2-4 to be omitted**

Unavailable: 25.Luke DUZEL  (International Duty)

Did you know?

  • Two of the last three teams to join the A-League have lost their inaugural game; in fact, only four teams in A-League history have won their first game in the competition (Brisbane Roar, Adelaide United, Central Coast Mariners, Gold Coast United).

  • Mark Rudan (Western United) was victorious in his A-League coaching debut last season when Wellington Phoenix defeated Newcastle Jets 2-1 in Round 1, 2018/19.

  • Wellington Phoenix have won their last three A-League games at home in succession; the last time they won more was a five-game spree from November 2011 to January 2012.
Andrew Durante, Wellington Phoenix, 300 games
Former Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante is back in Wellington this Sunday - with a new club

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