Phoenix can not hold offensive power of Perth Glory

The New Zealand-based club Wellington Phoenix could not hold the attacking power of Perth Glory at HBF Park, when they returned to the pitch after a bye-week in the Australian Hyundai A-League. The likes of Bruno Fornaroli and Nicholas D’Agostino were too much for the defensive system of the team coached by Ufuk Talay.

The first half was very balanced, being the Englishman David Ball the most dangerous players of the visiting side. Stefan Marinovic needed to stop two good shots in the first half from Joel Chianese, but the final moments of the first half were decisive for the rest of the clash: after a corner and flick on inside the area, the tall midfielder Tomislav Mrcela headed to the nets of Marinovic the first goal of the encounter; just three minutes later, a good combination inside the box allowed the young talented striker Nicholas D’Agostino to score the second for his side just before the break. The 2-0 advantage was crucial for the home side, going to the break with a boost of morale, seeing the opponent unable to give a response.

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Glory proved too strong for Phoenix – Glory Media

The Nix come from the second half unchanged, but just minutes later of the start of the second part of the clash Ufuk Talay decided to put in the game the English marquee striker Gary Hooper in place of the not effective Jaushua Sotirio. Unfortunately for those, just before the change Nicholas D’Agostine received a fantastic cross from Kim Soo-beom to head the ball home to score the third for their side.

Wellington Phoenix did not give up: a very good cross from the New Zealand international Tim Payne found the new man in game Hooper unmarked inside the 6-yard-box to score the first for the visitors. A little hope was given to the team of Ufuk Talay, but it just lasted for the next three minutes. A controversial yellow card was shown to Payne after a foul in D’Agostino; the player was already booked and received his second yellow, being then sent off.

The red card did not seem to reduce the confidence of Phoenix, that even seemed to play better with 10-men. Five minutes later from the incident, Gary Hooper received the ball in the box and with a fast finished surprised the opposition goalkeeper and scored his second in the clash, putting the difference of just one goal. To adapt their defensive system, Alex Rufer was subed and Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi was introduced in the right back position. Later, already inside the 80-minute mark, Reno Piscopo suffered a minor muscle injury and was replaced by Callum McCowatt.

Unfortunately, the reaction of the visiting side was not enough to give them anything from the clash. The prolific Uruguyan striker Bruno Fornaroli scored a fantastic goal in the 90th minute of play to give final numbers to the scoreboard in favour of Perth Glory – this was the first time in the season Phoenix loses by more than one-goal margin. The defeat made the New Zealanders drop one position in the table being surpassed by Adelaide United, putting Phoenix in the 5th place in the run.

Phoenix will be back to the pitch next on Saturday (15th Feb) when they take on Melbourne City at Sky Stadium in Wellington. It is already confirmed Ufuk Talay will not count with the presence of Tim Payne in the match, being Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi or Brandon Wilson the most possible players to replace the right back.

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