Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
Western United FC
Western United FC
Fresh off a confidence-boosting win against Melbourne City last week, Wellington Phoenix simply can’t afford an upset loss at home to the struggling Western United on Friday evening. Join The Roar for live scores from 5:15pm (AEDT).
Despite toppling the second-placed City, the Phoenix were probably lucky to come away from Auckland with all three points last week, the visitors’ wastefulness in front of goal costly in the end.
Given that, they couldn’t have asked for a more favourable opponent than Western United, the A-League newbies having failed to score a goal in both their February matches so far.
With important defender Tim Payne back from suspension, and still just a game and slight goal difference behind City in second, the fifth-placed Nix know that anything other than a win here could seriously dent their chances of a late-season surge up the ladder.
Having been entrenched in the top six for much of their debut season, Mark Rudan’s United find themselves out of form at a very inopportune time.
An uninspiring draw against the beleaguered Jets and a 1-0 loss at home to the Brisbane Roar means they’ve now won just once in their last seven matches, which has seen them fall to seventh on the A-League ladder, four points behind the sixth-placed Roar.
With that in mind, a trip across the Tasman is hardly ideal; but United have an ace up their sleeve in the form of veteran striker Besart Berisha.
The Albanian marvel has an incredible history against the Nix, scoring 14 career goals against them, including the winner in their most recent encounter back in October.
Berisha’s incredible record against the Phoenix might be enough to end United’s goal-scoring drought, but with Ufuk Talay’s men returning to something close to their best against City last week, it’s doubtful he’ll be enough to get them any points from this one.
Phoenix 3-1 Western United
Venue: Sky Stadium, Wellington
Time: 5:15pm (AEDT)
TV: Fox Sports 505
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel GO
Odds: Wellington Phoenix $1.53, Draw $4.10, Western United $5.50