Sydney FC
3
Hyundai A-League
(Thu 09 Feb 2017, 07.50PM LOCAL)
FINAL
Venue: Allianz Stadium
Attendance: 8380
Fox Sports
ABC
Wellington Phoenix
1

Timeline

Arnie searching for Sky Blues improvement

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Sky Blues focused on Phoenix clash

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Arnold not interested in 'invicibles' talk

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Arnie searching for Sky Blues improvement
Arnie searching for Sky Blues improvement
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Sky Blues focused on Phoenix clash
Sky Blues focused on Phoenix clash
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Arnold not interested in 'invicibles' talk
Arnold not interested in 'invicibles' talk

Hyundai A-League preview: Sydney FC v Wellington

Sydney FC’s inexorable charge to the Premiership  – and perhaps invincibility – shows no signs of abating but, we ask, could a desperate Wellington Phoenix be a Sky Blue banana skin on Thursday night?

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix

Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Kick-Off: 7:50PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))

Referee: Kurt Ams

Assistant Referee 1: Scott Edeling

Assistant Referee 2: Andrej Giev

Fourth Official: Ben Abraham

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: ABC Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #SYDvWEL

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au

Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jordy BUIJS, 6.Joshua BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.BOBÔ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 12.Aaron CALVER, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.George BLACKWOOD, 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT

**one to be omitted**

Ins: 7.Michael ZULLO (returns from suspension), 12.Aaron CALVER (promoted), 19.George BLACKWOOD (promoted)

Aaron Calver admitted he was pleased to be back playing after a horror run with injury.

Outs: 13.Brandon O’NEILL (suspended – 1 match), 25.George TIMOTHEOU (return to youth squad)

Unavailable: 22.Seb RYALL (hamstring – indefinite)

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Jacob TRATT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Ryan LOWRY, 6.Dylan FOX, 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Michael McGLNCHEY, 11.Hamish WATSON, 12.Adam PARKHOUSE, 13.Marco ROSSI, 17.Vince LIA, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 6.Dylan FOX (promoted), 11.Hamish WATSON (returns from injury), 12.Adam PARKHOUSE (promoted)

A: It was striker Hamish Watson in the 2-0 win over Central Coast Mariners in Canberra.

Outs: 99.Shane SMELTZ (suspended – 1 match)

Unavailable: Nil

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

The Sky Blues are nine points clear at the top of the league, possess a concrete defence lead by a superb keeper, and are hungry as to break a stack of records in the 2016/17 Season.

In contrast, Phoenix has been frustratingly inconsistent, struggle to score goals and have striker Shane Smeltz missing through suspension.

It all points to what should be a stroll for the home side, right?

Sydney FC players congratulate Filip Holosko for his goal against Melbourne Victory in the Big Blue.

Well, as we know, nothing is certain in the Hyundai A-League.

The Sky Blues are without star midfielder Brandon O’Neill through suspension, although Milos Dimitrijevic is a more-than-handy replacement. 

Left-back Michael Zullo will also return to the starting XI after serving his one-game ban last weekend.

It will be interesting to see how the Allianz surface looks given it endured a full weekend of rugby. 

Last time out, Phoenix was beaten 3-1 at home by the Wanderers to lose ground in the race for the top six.

#WELvBRI - Wellington Phoenix is undefeated in their last three A-League games on home soil against Brisbane Roar, keeping two clean sheets in the process.

While they are only two points out in eighth spot, they will need to start picking up points more regularly if they are serious about playing finals.

They do have a decent recent record at Allianz as well, unbeaten in their last three trips to play the Sky Blues, including two wins.

But right now, who'd back Sydney FC to lose? 

OPTA DATA

Sydney FC: the stats from a phenomenal season

Hyundai A-League Round 19 stats preview

ROUTE TO GOAL

The goals have been flowing all season for the Sky Blues.

Only an exceptional performance from Roar gloveman Michael Theo stopped them last weekend but they rarely draw a blank twice. 

Sydney’s attacking quartet of Bobo, Brosque, Ninkovic and Holosko have rightly received plenty of plaudits all season but there are other factors to the Sky Blues’ success in front of goal.

Sydney FC's Serbian star Milos Ninkovic.

Fullbacks Zullo and Grant provide excellent width and service down each flank, which allows Ninkovic and Holosko to get in good positions closer to goal.

The pressing of Brillante and O’Neill also allows them to win the ball higher up the pitch, meaning they can be much deadlier in transition.

While the goals have been hard to come by for Wellington this season – 21 in 18 games – they did cause the Sky Blues plenty of issues when they met back in Round 3.

Only a brilliant performance from Danny Vukovic in goals stopped them that day, before Ninkovic won it late on. 

Smeltz’s suspension means Phoenix will likely need to re-jig their attack.

Leading-scorer Roy Krishna has been playing out wide in recent weeks and could shift back through the middle, although powerful Hamish Watson is another option to lead the line.

#WELvMVC - Phoenix duo Gui Finkler and Roy Krishna have created 12 chances for one another between each other (six each).

Both McGlinchey and Finkler have started off the bench over the last couple of rounds but love playing the Sky Blues, which might convince Buckingham and Greenacre to use them from the start.

It was tight and dour the last time these two met but expect a far more exciting encounter this time around.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK

Filip Holosko. The Sky Blues marquee man (who has six goals in the 2016/17 Season) has vowed to better his goal return from last season, where he scored 10. Will he close the gap by adding to his tally against the Nix?

FORM LINES (last five games)

Sydney FC: WDWWD

Phoenix: WWLDL

PREDICTION

Sydney FC 3-1 Wellington Phoenix

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Sky Blues juggernaut rolls on Play Video

Sky Blues juggernaut rolls on

Sydney FC extended their unbeaten run to 19 games with a 3-1 win over Wellington on Thursday night.

Post Match Videos

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Sky Blues juggernaut rolls on

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Wellington Phoenix Rd19 press conference

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Sydney FC Rd19 press conference

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Sydney FC v Phoenix highlights

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Sky Blues juggernaut rolls on
Sky Blues juggernaut rolls on
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Wellington Phoenix Rd19 press conference
Wellington Phoenix Rd19 press conference
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Sydney FC Rd19 press conference
Sydney FC Rd19 press conference
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Sydney FC v Phoenix highlights
Sydney FC v Phoenix highlights

Sky Blues' hot streak continues against Phoenix

​Sydney FC’s unbeaten start to the season will extend into Round 20 after they put on a clinic in a 3-1 win over Wellington Phoenix at Allianz Stadium on Thursday night.

Defender Rhyan Grant opened the scoring with a thumping header after just three minutes before turning provider as Bobo finished a majestically worked team goal midway through the opening half.

The Phoenix pulled a goal back before the break courtesy of a neat piece of trickery from Alex Rodriguez but hopes of a comeback were banished when Milos Ninkovic netted ten minutes after the interval.

Josh Brillante came close to scoring another goal of the season contender when he blasted a long range shot that Glen Moss touched onto the post in the first half, while Alex Brosque spurned a one-on-one chance after the break.

The result sees Graham Arnold’s side extend their lead at the top of the table to 12 points ahead of the weekend’s fixtures, while the Phoenix missed a chance to climb back into the top six.

GOALS

1-0 Sydney FC: Rhyan Grant, 3’

Brosque was played into space down the left flank, with the striker showing a great turn of speed before floating a cross to the back post where Grant was able to head strongly past Moss.

2-0 Sydney FC:  Bobo, 22’

Some intricate one-touch passing saw the Sky Blues go the length of the field, with Bobo delivering the ball out wide before heading home the return cross from Grant to register his eighth goal of the season.

2-1 Wellington Phoenix: Alex Rodriguez, 32’

The midfielder showed great awareness to get a flick on a Gui Finkler corner delivery at the front post, with Vukovic unable to react quickly enough to keep the ball from sneaking in.

3-1 Sydney FC: Milos Ninkovic, 54’

Brillante picked out the run of Ninkovic after a Phoenix turnover, with the Serbian threading a shot between the legs of Andrew Durante, past the outstretched Moss and inside the far post.

Re-live the match action on Twitter

@ALeague, @SydneyFC, @WgtnPhoenixFC, #SYDvWEL