Adelaide is a place that just isn't kind to the
Whether they turn up and receive a barrage from an in-form
Adelaide United outfit or cop some of the worst refereeing
the A-League has seen this season, Wellington's trips to
South Australia so often end in tears.
The Phoenix have gone to Adelaide 10 times during their
A-League existence and have came back with the chocolates
only twice, and their last appearance there in October was
Despite the Phoenix taking a 1-0 lead through Stein
Huysegems, the Wellingtonians went down 3-1 and watched Ben
Sigmund receive a late red card after he was adjudged to have
fouled Adelaide player Jeronimo Neumann who clearly dived.
Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante delivered an explosive
post-match interview where he voiced his displeasure at the
standard of officiating in the game, and labelled Neumann a
"We had a few tough decisions against us. I think the first
one was offside from what I saw, the second one he's dived.
He's a cheat in my book if he's dived, and I think the
referees were shocking tonight," Durante said after the game.
The tensions have simmered since that round four outing that
subsequently saw Sigmund serve a one-match ban for his red
card - the Phoenix unsuccessfully appealed his suspension -
and the defender said the Wellington franchise just wanted to
get on and play football.
"We've just got to put it in the past," Sigmund said. "It's
just one of those things and you move on and both teams want
to win and get the three points, and that's what we'll be
going out to do."
John Kosmina's second-placed Adelaide side have played an
attacking brand of football this season, something the
Phoenix would dearly love to replicate as they have come
under fire in recent weeks, as their style of play is
perceived as boring.
Whether or not the Phoenix style spins your wheels, it has
led them to hold sixth place on the A-League ladder after 10
rounds so it hasn't been unsuccessful, but coach Ricki
Herbert would love to bank three points this weekend.
The Phoenix will also have to do without forward Jeremy
Brockie who is a late scratching due to a hamstring
complaint. His replacement remains unclear, although Herbert
has a few cards he can play.
One of those is the fit-again Dani Sanchez who has overcome a
knee complaint and is in line to make his first appearance of
Wellington looked particularly underwhelming in their 2-1
loss to Sydney FC last weekend and Sigmund, who will play his
100th game for the franchise on Sunday, said the side were
fully aware they had to lift their performance this week.
"At the end of the day everyone was probably below par in
terms of attitude and effort and that's pretty easy to fix,
so I think you've got to look at yourself and I think that's
what we've done. Training this week was 10 times better and
everyone's put themselves about so hopefully come Sunday
you'll see a different team on the pitch than last week."
As for the woeful record in South Australia, Sigmund said he
didn't like to study the history books.
"You tackle every game as it comes. You don't sort of think
too much about what's happened in the past but Adelaide's a
tough place to go, we know that. But as I say, we're so
disappointed in ourselves that we're going to go over there
and certainly give it everything."
- Daniel Richardson of APNZ