Soccer: Phoenix outclassed by Adelaide

By Daniel Richardson

Fabio Ferreira of Adelaide celebrates scoring the third goal with teammate Bruce Djite. Photo / Getty Images
Fabio Ferreira of Adelaide celebrates scoring the third goal with teammate Bruce Djite. Photo / Getty Images

The South Australian horror show continued for the Wellington Phoenix tonight as they were beaten 3-1 by Adelaide United in an entertaining A-League encounter at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Adelaide has proven a tough place to go for the Phoenix and they've now lost eight of their 11 trips there during their short A-League existence.

They were on the back foot this evening from early on as the in-form Jeremy Brockie was ruled out with a hamstring niggle, which gave Louis Fenton the chance to start.

Midfielder Dani Sanchez also made his long-awaited return to the starting line-up after being on the shelf for an extended period with a knee injury as Alex Smith made way.

The Phoenix have been under pressure during the past fortnight as their style of play has been criticised and owner Gareth Morgan made his feelings known in a radio interview on Thursday and said the side needed to produce a better on-field product.

It was hard to deny the club's endeavour today as the Ricki Herbert-coached side played aggressively but their leaky defence through the middle of the park proved costly.

The midfield was hardly to blame for the first goal they conceded though as Phoenix goalkeeper Mark Paston completely misjudged a Marcelo Carrusca free kick that sailed in to Paston's net untouched.

There was a hint of controversy surrounding the goal as there was a suggestion that it should have been an indirect free kick, which meant the goal shouldn't have stood as it went straight in from Carrusca's boot.

But there was no doubt about the second from the 29-year-old Argentine as he danced his way to the edge of the area and buried a shot in to the bottom corner that gave Paston no chance.

Portugese midfielder Fabio Ferreira then gave Adelaide a three-goal advantage just on the stroke of half-time as he found himself with plenty of space in the box and finished from close range.

The Phoenix should've gone in to the break with at least one goal next to their name on the scoreboard but a Stein Huysegems finish was incorrectly disallowed for offside.

Herbert would have been within his rights to tear the paint off the dressing room walls with a blast for his players after a sub-standard opening stanza and the message seemed to get through to his men in the second spell who brought more to the contest.

They also had to play the final 45 minutes without skipper Andrew Durante who was yanked at the split and was replaced by Smith, which must have been for an injury as Durante is rarely substituted.

Fenton had a golden opportunity to pull one back just past the hour-mark but he dragged his shot wide with the goal at his mercy and only Adelaide goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic to beat.

Sanchez marked his return to the field with a late goal as the Phoenix finished the stronger of the sides but it was to little too late for the Wellingtonians to pull off an unlikely comeback.

Youngster Tyler Boyd could've snatched another one with the final kick of the ball but his penalty was brilliantly saved by Galekovic.

The result means the Phoenix are outside the top six on the A-League ladder in seventh place.

Next up, they host the league-leading Central Coast Mariners in Wellington on Saturday night.

Adelaide United 3 (Marcelo Carrusca 19, 24, Fabio Ferreira 45+1) Wellington Phoenix 1 (Dani Sanchez 81) HT: 3-0

- APNZ

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