Wellington down FFA Cup champs to make it three in a row

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Despite winning the FFA Cup just a few days ago, Melbourne Victory remains winless in the A-League Men’s competition in 2022 after another loss.

Victory fell 1-0 to Wellington Phoenix at WIN Stadium on Wednesday night.

Both sides were physical early on, but neither were able to create any real chances during the first 10 minutes of play. It was not until the 15th minute, when Victory were awarded a free-kick just outside the box, that the first close attempt on goal came close after a Francesco Margiotta strike.

Victory should have gone ahead in the 24th minute but a brilliant Oli Sail save forced the ball onto the post. As the ball came back, left-back Sam Sutton quickly reacted to also play the ball off the line, keeping the two sides level.

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Only moments later it was the Nix who should have taken the lead after some David Ball brilliance. Ball’s first touch meant that he was able to attempt a chip, however, Ivan Kelava was up to the challenge and made a great save to again keep the sides level.

Ball came close to getting on the scoresheet for the first time this season, again, after a well-worked set-piece allowed him to get a header off. The attempt flew over the crossbar, but it was Wellington who seemed to be the one’s on top after 30.

Apart from these few chances, it was a first-half that was all about defence. New Nix import Scott Wootton was both vocal and impactful for his new side at the back, while Victory’s defence was difficult to break down. The two sides headed into the shed locked at 0-0.

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The second-half got underway with a rare shot on goal from Wellington defender Tim Payne. His strike was powerful, but unfortunately for Nix fans it was also straight at Acton who made a comfortable save.

Melbourne were next to have a go after some special play from Ben Folami and some poor defending from Wellington. Folami was allowed free space in the box before firing off a shot that flew only millimetres wide. Both sides were coming closer to breaking the deadlock.

Ball thought that he was playing rugby league just before the hour mark, as he dragged down Folami in a full-on tackle with his arms. Ball instantly received a yellow for the foul and was lucky that he had defenders behind him when he committed the offence to avoid a red.

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Folami continued to cause issues for Wellington and if it was not for another fantastic diving save from Sail he would have found the back of the net 62 minutes in.

With the momentum, Victory should have again gone ahead in the game after Marco Rojas was played the ball inside the box. But just like he had all night for Wellington, Sail managed to get just enough on the goal-bound strike to force a corner rather than a goal.

After working hard all game Ball finally got both his reward and the assist of the season for Wellington. After intercepting a pass, Ball beat two defenders before faking a shot that caught Kelava off guard. Ball then played in Reno Piscopo at the perfect moment and the Australian did the rest to put his side up 1-0.

Victory applied all the pressure they could during the last 15 minutes but they were unable to get back in the match as Wellington’s defence held strong.

The 1-0 win was not only Wellington’s third in a row in the league it was also their first clean sheet of the season.

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Wellington Phoenix: 1 (Piscopo 74′)

Melbourne Victory: 0

Stadium: WIN Stadium

Referee: Ben Abraham

Wellington Phoenix: Oliver SAIL (GK), Tim PAYNE (Louis FENTON 70′), Scott Wootton, Joshua LAWS, Sam Sutton, Alex RUFER (C) (Oskar VAN HATTUM 89′), Clayton LEWIS, Gael SANDOVAL (Ben OLD 81′), Reno PISCOPO (Nicholas PENNINGTON 89′), David BALL, Jaushua SOTIRIO (Ben WAINE 89′)

Unused subs: Alex PUALSON (GK), Finn SURMAN,

Melbourne Victory: Ivan KELAVA (GK), Jason GERIA, Brendan HAMILL, Leigh BROXHAM, Jason DAVIDSON, Joshua BRILLANTE (c), Birkan KIRDAR, Nishan VELUPILLAY (Marco ROJAS 61′), Chris IKONOMIDIS (Lleyton BROOKS 78′), Ben FOLAMI (Jake BRIMMER 72′), Francesco MARGIOTTA (Nicholas D’AGOSTINO 72′)

Unused subs: Matt ACTON (GK), Aaron ANDERSON, Stefan NIGRIO,

Feature image credit: Speed Media

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Harry Bartle
Harry is a young Journalist based in Wellington. He will be covering the Wellington Phoenix during the 2021/22 season for the Football Sack and has a love hate relationship with Ulises Davila

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