ALM Match Preview: Wellington Phoenix vs Western United

Western United

Western United will head into the FIFA World Cup break with an away trip to New Zealand to take on Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.

Match Details

Wellington Phoenix vs Western United

Sunday, 13 November

Kick-off: 1:00pm AEDT

Sky Stadium, Wellington

Broadcast: This match will be broadcast live on Paramount+

Team News

John Aloisi has made one change to the extended 20-man squad from last week, with Steven Lustica dropping out due to an injury sustained in last weekend’s match against Adelaide United.

Striker Aleksandar Prijovic comes into the extended list, while the likes of Rhys Bozinovski and Sebastian Pasquali will be vying for a start in midfield in Lustica’s absence.

Western United squad: 1. Jamie YOUNG (gk), 4. Leo LACROIX, 5. Dylan PIERIAS, 8. Lachlan WALES, 9. Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 11. Connor PAIN, 14. James TROISI, 17. Ben GARUCCIO, 19. Joshua RISDON, 21. Sebastian PASQUALI, 23. Alessandro DIAMANTI (c) 26. Nicolas MILANOVIC, 27. Jacob TRATT, 31. Adisu BAYEW, 33. Ben COLLINS, 37. Ryan SCOTT (gk), 38. Noah BOTIC, 42. Rhys BOZINOVSKI, 88. Neil KILKENNY, 99. Aleksandar PRIJOVIC

Full Western United squad

Last time out

United fell to a 4-2 defeat against Adelaide United last time out, despite creating a number of chances early on the match.

The Green and Black put in an improved second half after going into the break 3-0 down, but couldn’t recover the result in the end.

Previous Meetings

United broke its hoodoo against Wellington when it mattered most in May, claiming a 1-0 win in the Elimination Final on the way to the Grand Final.

That snapped a four-game losing streak against Phoenix and was the second time United had triumphed over the New Zealand club, the first being in the Green and Black’s first ever match in October 2019.

Key Matchup: Oliver Sail vs Jamie Young

This match could be decided in either goal with Oliver Sail and Jamie Young set to meet in a battle of two of the Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s best goalkeepers.

Young and Sail were the top two save makers in last year’s competition and have both begun this season in strong form, with Young ranking second and Sail fifth.

The two stoppers will have their work cut out with Ben Waine in top form for Wellington, while Sail will have to keep out United’s attack boasting the returning Prijovic and Nicolas Milanovic, who has found the net three times so far this season.

Key Player: Ben Garuccio

Set to play his 150th game in the Isuzu UTE A-League, Ben Garuccio will be out to make an impact on the pitch to mark the occasion.

Garuccio currently ranks fourth in the league with 10 interceptions, just one less than teammate Josh Risdon and two other players at the top of the list on 11.

The left-back was one of the league’s best players last season and will look to help lead United’s defence to a more sturdy performance in Wellington.

Words from John Aloisi

On Aleksandar Prijovic’s return to contention

“He is available to play. He’s been training really well and he can’t wait to get back out on the field to help the boys. He’s raring to go, it’s a massive boost for us as a team, as a Club, that one of our marquees is back and that’s huge for us.”

On Wellington’s form and the difficult of travelling to New Zealand

“I wouldn’t say they’re hitting form, I’d say they’ve been playing well from the start of the season. They play good football, we know how difficult they will be in Wellington no matter what form they’re in. They’re a very good side, so we’re expecting a tough game.”