Live updates: A-League semi-finals - Wellington Phoenix v ...

12 May 2024

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Kia ora, good evening and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the Wellington Phoenix v Mebourne Victory A-League semi-final at Melbourne's AAMI Park.

After a historic season that saw them still chasing premiership honours in the final week, the team from the capital had to settle for second on the table - still the best performance in their 17-year history.

That earned them a bye in the first round of playoffs and another home fixture in a two-leg semi.

The Victory needed a penalty shootout to get past crosstown rivals Melbourne City and has won the championship four times in their history, most recently in 2018.

These two teams have already met three times this season for two draws and a last-minute home victory to the Phoenix last month.

Join us at 6pm for kickoff.

TAB Odds: Victory $1.80, Phoenix $4.10, Draw $3.75

Phoenix ponder strategy before two-leg A-League semi against Melbourne Victory

On Sunday, Wellington Phoenix will take on Melbourne Victory, looking to secure their first-ever A-League Grand Final appearance.

The first leg of the semi-final is away at Melbourne, but after a week off, Giancarlo Italiano's men are rested and ready to make club history. 

The Phoenix have made the flight across the Tasman many times and despite the significance of the game, the message remains the same.

"It's just this one game," said coach Italiano. "This one first half... this second half... and we keep moving in small steps and we focus on the now."

"We're not treating it as anything too special as of yet," agreed defender Scott Wootton. "We plan as we have with all the regular season games." 

Sorry nailbiters, history suggests this semi against the Victory will be tight. Head to head this season, there have been two draws and one dramatic last-minute Phoenix winner. 

"I'd love it if we were 3-0 up, but I can't see the game panning out quite like that," said Wootton.

It never has, with the two-leg format altering just the mid-match mentality. 

"The only difference is, if we go up a few goals, we can keep pushing for more," said defender Sam Sutton. "If we go down, we're not going to throw the toys out of the pram... we've got to be smart and make sure we don't concede anymore." 

The good news - the Phoenix have enjoyed a week off, while Melbourne was subjected to more than 80 minutes with 10 men, winning their elimination final in the dreaded penalty shootout.

With keeper Alex Paulsen in good form, the Phoenix aren't nervous about that scenario if the second leg ends deadlocked.

"He's been the best keeper in the league all year and saved us quite a number of points," said Italiano, clearly confident no-one will rain on Paulsen's parade.

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