The A-League is back for a frantic month of football action to crown a champion for the 2019-20 season. High-flying Wellington Phoenix take on desperate Western Sydney Wanderers in Friday’s match-up.
History: Played 23: Western Sydney 10 V Wellington 9 (4 Draws)
Last meeting: January 11, 2020: Wellington 2 d Western Sydney 0 at Sky Stadium
Final Thoughts: Western Sydney Wanderers are clinging the last strands of their playoffs hopes, while Wellington Phoenix are on course for a top-two finish.
Wanderers got away with a draw against Central Coast in their first post-restart assignment on Monday. Simon Cox came off the bench to nab the 88th-minute equaliser in a 1-all result.
Jean-Paul de Marigny’s side are ninth, four points adrift of the top six.
The Phoenix have overcome an unlucky 3-1 loss to Sydney in the A-League’s first match back. They defeated Perth Glory 2-1 five days later, before drawing 1-all with Adelaide United last weekend.
After Jaushua Sotirio equalised in the 65th minute, Wellington should have banked another three points but sharpshooter Ulises Davila missed with a late penalty. Nevertheless, four points from three games in the space of eight days lifted the Phoenix into second, narrowly ahead of Melbourne City on goal difference.
After going winless in the clubs’ previous eight encounters, Wellington have won four straight against Western Sydney.
Davila’s 89th-minute penalty snared a 2-1 win over Wanderers in Auckland in Week 9 this season. Davila and Liberato Cacace scored in Wellington for a more convincing Week 14 victory.
The well-rested Phoenix are tremendous value as only slight favourites to complete a season cleansweep of Wanderers.