Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix, what you need to know

Alex Rufer (C) of the Phoenix celebrates after scoring a goal during the A-League - Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Victory FC at Sky Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand on Friday 19 January 2024
Copyright photo: Masanori Udagawa /

A-League Men semi-finals: Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix

Kickoff: 6pm Sunday, 12 May (NZT)

AAMI Park, Melbourne

Live blog updates on RNZ Sport

The A-League Finals Series has reached the semi-final stage with the Wellington Phoenix in action, looking to secure their first-ever Grand Final appearance and, perhaps, a first piece of silverware in the process.

Three teams are out to stop them, their final-four opponents Melbourne Victory and on the other side of the competition, the Premier winners and reigning A-League champions Central Coast Mariners and the A-League’s all-time most successful team, Sydney FC.

So, what can we expect in the first weekend of the semi-final stage of the A-League Finals Series – especially for New Zealand’s Phoenix?

Here’s a look at the team news:

Melbourne Victory

Tony Popovic’s side will undoubtedly be impacted by the absence of mercurial midfielder Zinedine Machach. The Frenchman will miss both legs of the semi-final after copping a two-game suspension for his kickout at Leo Natel in the epic Melbourne elimination derby.

Jake Brimmer could move forward to cover, with the experienced Leigh Broxham coming into the starting XI. Other options include shifting one of the creative wide players, such as Daniel Arzani, Chris Ikonomidis or Salim Khelifi, inside. There is also a blast from the Wellington past, Roly Bonevacia, who returns to the squad.

Goalkeepers: Paul Izzo, Christian Siciliano; Defenders: Jason Geria, Adama Traore, Damien Da Silva, Roderick Miranda, Connor Chapman, Jordi Valadon, Kasey Bos. Midfielders: Leigh Broxham, Jake Brimmer, Salim Khelifi, Ryan Teague, Roly Bonevacia, Fabian Monge. Attackers: Chris Ikonomidis, Bruno Fornaroli, Ben Folami, Nishan Velupillay, Daniel Arzani.

Wellington Phoenix

Oskar Zawada of the Phoenix celebrates after scoring a goal during the A League Men - Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar at Sky Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand on Saturday 4 November 2023
Copyright photo: Masanori Udagawa /

Giancarlo Italiano has a full complement to pick from now Isaac Hughes has recovered from a hamstring injury, leaving the Phoenix head coach spoiled for choice.

It will likely be the starting XI that has served Chiefy so well in recent weeks, with the only real decision around whether Oskar Zawada should start or be used as an impact substitute.

Goalkeepers: Alex Paulsen, Jack Duncan; Defenders: Finn Surman, Scott Wootton, Tim Payne, Lukas Kelly-Heald, Sam Sutton, Isaac Hughes. Midfielders: Alex Rufer, Bozhidar Kraev, Ben Old, Mohamed Al-Taay, Nicholas Pennington, Youstin Salas, Fin Conchie, Matt Sheridan; Attackers: Kosta Barbarouses, Oskar Zawada, David Ball, Oskar van Hattum.

Recent meetings

12 April 2024 Phoenix 1-0 Victory

19 January 2024 Phoenix 1-1 Victory

10 November 2023 Victory 1-1 Phoenix


Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory fans

The three previous meetings between these two sides have been incredibly close, with Finn Surman’s last-minute winner in the most recent fixture being the only difference across the trio of games.

A similar pattern should follow in this semi-final clash, which will not prove helpful for the nail-biters out there.

While the Phoenix are well rested, the Victory are coming off the back of an extremely sapping derby win over Melbourne City – a game in which they played with 10 men for over 80 minutes.

Their goalkeeper saved them last time out, but this prediction depends on whether you think the Victory will be riding high from that adrenaline rush or suffering a hangover from the hard-fought route to the final four. We will go with the latter, in hope rather than assured expectation.

Melbourne Victory 1-2 Wellington Phoenix

Sydney FC v Central Coast Mariners

Kickoff: 9.45pm Friday, 10 May (NZT)

Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Central Coast Mariners players celebrate a Mikael Doka goal in stoppage time against the Wellington Phoenix.

It’s an all-New South Wales affair in the other semi-final, with the current dominant force in Australian domestic football taking on traditionally the most successful.

The Mariners are chasing an incredible treble, having already sealed the Premier’s Plate and the AFC Cup, following a 1-0 win over Lebanon’s Al-Ahed in Oman this week. Their travails in the Middle East do however threaten to jetlag their progress.

Sydney is reeling from the news that star winger Joe Lolley will play no more part of this season due to a hamstring strain. His creativity and goal threat will be greatly missed against this impressive Mariners side.

In saying that, Sydney have had the Mariners’ number this season – knocking them out of the Australia Cup and beating them twice in league meetings – so this should be an exciting tie.

Prediction: Sydney FC 1-1 Central Coast Mariners

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button