Wellington Phoenix keep FFA Cup dream alive despite second-half stumble

-

A comfortable 4-1 win over Avondale FC was far from a flawless outing for Wellington Phoenix in their FFA Cup round of 16 clash on Tuesday night.

They extended their lead to 3-0 inside the opening half an hour, with Avondale coach Zoran Markovski describing his men as “overawed by the occasion.”

“I think that was a poor defensive performance and we deserved to be punished for it,” he said.

Things went from bad to worse for the home side in the 27th minute, as Blake Carpenter was sent off for a challenge which Markovski said was “reckless.”

Embed from Getty Images

“It was an absolutely terrible tackle by Blake, but I think the boys woke up a bit afterwards,” he said.

He added that sticking to the gameplan and getting into the flow of the match allowed them to play their A-League Men opposition on equal terms for the remainder of the match. His side managed to peg one back in the 74th minute, finally bringing the home crowd to its feet as they began to envisage what could have been an epic comeback.

Embed from Getty Images

“I’m really pleased with our boy’s effort, for 60 minutes they really put in a great shift, but obviously you can’t give this kind of team a three-nil head start,” he said.

It was not to be however, as Wellington reasserted their ascendancy via Luka Prso who found the back of the net in the 81st minute.

Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay said he was “very happy with the performance” in the first half.

“It was the response we needed after our last match on Friday against Newcastle,” he said.

“We were clinical in the opportunities we created, and I’m glad that our strikers scored some goals to build some confidence heading into the game on Sunday.”

Embed from Getty Images

However, the second-year manager was disappointed with his side’s inability to push their lead further in the second half, as the game played out as a one-all draw in the final 65 minutes.

“I didn’t think we adapted well to their formation change which is a little bit disappointing on my side of things,” he said.

“But when we did manage to adapt, we created another opportunity for the fourth goal.”

Embed from Getty Images

Asked whether it was more a case of Avondale making a positive adjustment or his charges failing to alter their own play, Talay’s response was that “it was us”.

“We spoke at half-time about making sure we keep our mindset in check, but I didn’t think we exploited the extra space given to us with them playing three at the back,” he said.

Embed from Getty Images

While the win was nonetheless a resounding one, Talay didn’t want to delve too far into his side’s hopes of winning the FFA Cup this year.

“We’ll give it a go…we’ve got a great opportunity. But first things first, we’ve got Sydney and we need to get through that hurdle first,” he said.

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

Mitchell Turner
Third Year Undergraduate Arts Student at Monash University (Journalism Major). Generic sports tragic living out my failed dreams of going pro vicariously through other people.

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required