Wellington Phoenix could not keep their good run in Australian top tier – the Hyundai A-League – despite facing a Melbourne Victory in a bad moment in the league. Cameron Devlin took place as starter in the midfield, for the first time in the season the young Australian started for his new side due an injury for the regular Alex Rufer in the position.
Phoenix had won their previous three matches in the competition, against Brisbane Roar, Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers. The New Zealand side travelled to Melbourne to face Victory that won just two matches in the league so far. The first half saw Phoenix having full control, forcing the goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas to make various stops, as in the lob finish of the prolific midfielder Ulises Davila.
The most important chances were created by Phoenix, but Melbourne was also dangerous in the first half. Stefan Marinovic made a fantastic defense to deny Victory a goal in one of their rare goal scoring opportunities. The Austrian playmaker Kristjian Dobras found the bottom right-corner of Marinovic in the ending of the first-half but the ball hit the post, unfortunately for Dobras and Victory.
The referee Stephen Lucas yellow-carded many players during the game and the same Dobras who hit the post of Marinovic was sent off after a harsh challenge with Cam Devlin. The VAR did not call the attention for Lucas to possible review the play and the Austrian let his team with 10-men for more than 20 minutes in the second half.
The introduction of offensive players as Ben Waine, Callum McCowatt and Gary Hooper was not enough for Phoenix to find a goal. The closest they got was in hearder of the defender Luke DeVere that hit the bar and kicked in the goal line.
Despite wasting an opportunity to have their fourth straight win in the season, Phoenix is now five matches without a defeat – having a much better run in the league than their starting matches in the season. The team sits now inside the qualifying playoff-zone with 11 points – 6th in the ladder.
Phoenix will be back to Wellington next Sunday to play the current leaders of the standings that just lost once in the season – Sydney FC.