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Melbourne City FC
Melbourne City FC
Having failed last week against Perth Glory, Wellington Phoenix face another litmus test against quality opposition when they host Melbourne City on Saturday afternoon. Join The Roar for live scores from 5pm (AEDT).
A high scoring loss to the Glory in Perth last week means Ufuk Talay’s men have now lost two of their last three matches, ending their club record nine-game unbeaten streak mid-season.
Despite the defeat, and a controversial second yellow card for defender Tim Payne, the Phoenix certainly took it up to the in-form reigning premiers, the Glory taking until the 90th minute to seal the match via a Bruno Fornaroli strike.
However admirable the loss, though, it still means the Nix have fallen five points behind the top three, and now sit just one game inside the top six. Another loss would leave them vulnerable to letting their excellent mid-season run go to waste.
City are in a similar predicament to their opponents, with just three wins from their last seven matches leaving them only clinging on to second spot on the ladder.
Their win over Melbourne Victory last week, as coveted as a Derby is, wasn’t exactly confidence-inspiring, some Jamie Maclaren, not for the first time this year, the only thing letting them hold all three points.
It was the first time Erick Mombaerts had tasted Derby victory as City coach, and now he turns his attention to securing his charges back-to-back victories for the first time since November.
The Phoenix have been strong at home all year, but this game will be played away from their Wellington home, at the famous Eden Park.
However, in front of a strong New Zealand crowd, they should still get the job done in a tight one, despite heading in as underdogs.
Phoenix 2-1 City
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Time: 5pm (AEDT)
TV: Fox Sports 505
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel GO
Odds: Wellington Phoenix $2.60, Draw $3.40, Melbourne City $2.45