Men’s Match Report | Wellington 1-1 Victory

Points are shared in Wellington after Phoenix’s late equaliser.

Tony Popovic made four changes to last week’s draw against Central Coast with Jake Brimmer, Rai Marchan, Adama Traore and Nishan Velupillay all returning to the side.

The game kicked off with a flurry of early chances. In the 4th minute, Adama Traoré, in a promising position, unleashed a left-footed shot from the left side of the box, narrowly missing the target.

Wellington Phoenix responded with their own opportunities, with David Ball attempting a right-footed shot from outside the box in the 8th minute, only to see it narrowly miss to the right. Ben Old played a crucial role in the build-up, showcasing the Phoenix’s offensive capabilities.

As the first half progressed, both teams continued to press for a breakthrough. Nicholas Pennington’s right-footed shot from outside the box in the 21st minute was blocked, denying Wellington Phoenix a chance to take the lead.

Paul Izzo made a crucial save in the 22nd minute, denying Bozhidar Kraev’s right-footed shot from the centre of the box, keeping the scores level.

A golden opportunity came Victory’s way in the 39th minute when Daniel Arzani danced around the Phoenix defender, driving into the box. Arzani sent a rocket of a pass across the face of the box to find Nishan Velupillay all alone at the back post but the Olyroo was unable to find the back of the net.

Not long after, Velupillay did find the back of the net but the goal was ultimately ruled out by VAR after Chris Ikonomidis was deemed to be impeding the Nix goalkeeper while in an offside position.

The turning point of the match came just before the halftime whistle. In the 45+8th minute, Wellington’s Tim Payne was shown a red card after a VAR-upgraded decision following a foul on Adama Traoré.

Half-Time Wellington 0 Victory 0

Victory looked to get on the attack from the very start of the second half, taking advantage of an undermanned Phoenix side.

Happy to sit back and defend, the home side was constantly under threat from Victory’s attack but held up firm.

Looking for more attacking power, Popovic made a triple change in the 63rd minute, bringing on Ben Folami, Connor Chapman and Ryan Teague.

And then, in the 75th minute, the breakthrough came after Nishan Velupillay’s shot deflected off of Connor Chapman and into the back of the net.

Looking to keep the pressure building, Victory remained in control of the match.

It was heartbreak for Victory in the 90+5th minute when Jason Geria’s challenge on Oskar van Hattum in the box was deemed a penalty by VAR.

Wellington’s Alex Rufer stepped up to the spot and slotted the equaliser for the home side.

With not enough time remaining, the referee blew his whistle and Victory now returns to Melbourne with only a point.

Full-time Wellington 1 Victory 1

Our boys in blue still remain undefeated to start the season and will end the round second on the Isuzu UTE A-League table.

Attention now turns to a blockbuster next Friday night against Sydney FC for the annual U-NITE Match.

Next Match
Isuzu UTE A-League | Round 14
Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
Date: Friday 26 January
Time: 7:54pm (AEDT)
Location: AAMI Park
Tickets: Buy Now!