Football: Injury clouds lift for Phoenix

Leo Bertos. Photo by Getty
Leo Bertos. Photo by Getty

Wellington Phoenix pair Leo Bertos and Alex Smith have been cleared of serious injury and will be available for Saturday's A-League match in Melbourne.

There were fears the pair would miss the clash with the fourth-placed Melbourne Victory after both took heavy blows to the face late in the 2-1 loss to Brisbane yesterday.

Defender Bertos left the field after being dazed by a head clash but was later deemed fine by a match doctor.

Scans ruled out the initial diagnosis of a broken cheekbone for midfielder Smith, a 76th minute replacement for Manny Muscat.

Smith suffered bruising from an incident Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert hoped would be reviewed as he suggested a stray Roar elbow was the cause.

Herbert will need to make at least one change to his starting 11 after teenage striker Tyler Boyd was sent off and must serve and automatic one-game ban.

Boyd, 18, picked up his second yellow card 18 minutes into the second half and his place in the match day squad of 15 will be filled by midfielder Cameron Lindsay, who is with the team in Australia.

Bertos was forced off after all the substitutions had been used, reducing the Phoenix to nine men for the closing stages.

A reshuffled front division is likely this week for the Phoenix, who dropped a place to seventh, a point behind the Roar.

Winger Benjamin Totori and striker Stein Huysegems were used off the bench and one or both could start alongside Jeremy Brockie, who cracked his league-leading 10th goal of the season in spectacular long-range fashion late in the first half.

The match degenerated after Brisbane scored through Ben Halloran with half an hour remaining to follow Besart Berisha's 14th minute opener.

Boyd's fate was matched by Brisbane defender James Donachie, who picked up a second yellow card with four minutes left.

Striker Berisha earned a yellow card for dissent after arguing that Muscat had elbowed Brisbane youngster Nick Fitzgerald, an act that could be looked at by the match review panel.

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