Phoenix fall to Melbourne City

By: Radio New Zealand

 

eight_col_scottThe Wellington Phoenix are still searching for their first win of the A-League season after going down 1-nil at Melbourne City.

For the second week in a row Wellington pushed a side many consider a title favourite all the way, but can consider themselves unlucky to leave Melbourne pointless.

Scottish star Ross McCormack proved the difference with a moment of deadball class but it was another performance from Wellington that would give head coach Darije Kalezic heart his team are on the right track.

It was an opening stanza of few chances for both sides with Melbourne City lining up with a defence-minded formation and it was the visitors who settled better early on. Phoenix enjoying more than 70% possession over the first 15 minutes.

Roy Krishna and Goran Paracki both fashioned shooting chances but skewered their shots wide to the relief of the home fans.

The first clear-cut chance came in the 21st minute with Nick Fitzgerald put through by Stefan Mauk but the winger blasted his shot high.

There was concern midway through the half with the returning Marco Rossi grabbing at his groin, the injury that had sidelined the Italian over previous weeks.

Melbourne super-striker McCormack had been relatively quiet but he almost opened his City account with a spectacular scissor kick in the 37th minute.

In the 69th minute a foul from Matthew Ridenton gave McCormack a freekick opportunity about 30 metres out and the Aston Villa sharpshooter fired an unstoppable driven effort in off the base of the far post.

The Phoenix continued to dominate possession and showed no sign of panic, and only a miraculous save from Eugen-Josip Galekovic kept the hosts in front.

Krishna’s first effort clattered back off the crossbar, before Kaludjerovic’s follow up effort was tipped around the post by the four-time A-League Goalkeeper of the Year.

A frustrating evening for Phoenix who once again showed themselves willing, but ultimately return to New Zealand empty-handed.

City are three from three at the top of the table, while the Phoenix have one point from a draw and two losses.

Wellington will host Brisbane Roar next Saturday as they search for a first win this season, with coach Darije Kalezic hopeful of a similar performance but a different result.

“It’s clear we dominated the game,” he said after Wellington tallied a season- high total of 589 passes, with 18 shots – but just two on target.

“We created enough chances to make a goal and enough chances to win a game.”

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