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In a thrilling game in South Australia, Wellington Phoenix ran out shock winners against the A-League’s form men Adelaide United by two goals to one.
The Reds’ run of victories came to an end, the team looking like a shadow of the exciting team that saw off Melbourne Victory last weekend.
They were second best for large spells of this game, lacking in ideas and execution. Their main players James Troisi and Riley McGree – substituted in the second half such was his ineffectiveness – failed to find their thrust and creativity in attack.
Adelaide did take the lead, however, with a goal of the season contender from Nikola Mileusnic. The towering forward controlled exquisitely on his chest before unleashing a sweetly dipping volley over Stefan Marinovic but that was to be as good as it got for the home side.
Wellington found their equaliser through David Ball who scored his first league goal of the season after striving for so long.
His sweeping shot slipped under Paul Izzo in the Adelaide goal, who perhaps could have done better to stop it.
The New Zealander’s winning goal was a controversial one: Liberato Cacace broke into the box and fell under George Blackwood’s typical clumsy striker’s challenge and after a VAR check the penalty decision was upheld.
Ulises Davila kept calm under the home supporters loud ire to pick his spot in the bottom left corner.
This key win moves Wellington two spaces in the league standings and a third win in a row next weekend when they welcome Western Sydney Wanderers would amazingly put them above that team in the standings.
The A-League is absolutely unpredictable this campaign and it makes for fascinating following.
For Adelaide, there is no need to properly panic just yet. This was a damp affair all round, in terms of weather, attendance, and performance, but they remain in the top three and are at home again to Newcastle Jets next weekend.
Adelaide United 1
Wellington Phoenix 2
In-form Adelaide United will look to see off the struggling Wellington Phoenix at home tonight in the final A-League match of the round. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog, starting from 6pm AEDT.
Adelaide United were mightily impressive in their win against Melbourne Victory last weekend and will come into this evening’s contest full of confidence.
Spearheaded by the powerful Riley McGree, Adelaide possessed too much firepower for Melbourne Victory as they made it four wins in a row.
A fifth consecutive win would see them move to within one point of Melbourne City at the top of the standings.
Gertjan Verbeek has built a side that has the Adelaide supporters, it’s easy to say, thinking of glory at season’s end.
Wellington have been so poor for much of this campaign but did earn their first win last weekend with a much-needed 2-1 result over Brisbane Roar.
Ufuk Talay will be imploring his players to bear this in mind this evening and not to fear their formidable opponents.
A win would also bring Wellington above both Perth Glory and Central Coast Mariners in the league table.
Only four points separate the bottom six A-League teams currently, meaning any kind of positive results can immediately change things.
Ben Halloran makes his return from injury for Adelaide and may start if fit enough given his previous good form. Louis Fenton, meanwhile, is unavailable for the away side.
Adelaide United XI (predicted)
GK: Paul Izzo
RB: Ryan Strain
CB: Michael Marrone
CB: Michael Jakobsen
LB: Michael Maria
RCM: Riley McGree
CM: Louis D’Arrigo
LCM: James Troisi
RW: Ben Halloran
ST: Kristian Opseth
LW: Nikola Mileusnic
Wellington Phoenix XI (predicted)
GK: Stefan Marinovic
RB: Tim Payne
CB: Steven Taylor
CB: Luke DeVere
LB: Liberato Cacace
CDM: Alex Rufer
CDM: Matti Steinmann
RAM: Jaushua Sotirio
CAM: Ulises Davila
LAM: Callum McCowatt
ST: Gary Hooper
On paper this looks like an obvious home win. Wellington will have to remain compact, defend resolutely, and be clinical with any chances that come their way if they are to gain any points on their travels this evening.
If the classy Reds don’t get complacent after their recent excellent run, however, they should make it five league wins in a row.
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog, starting from 6pm AEDT.