2 Aug 2017

Phoenix lose extra time thriller

6:51 am on 2 August 2017

The Wellington Phoenix have been beaten 1-0 by Western Sydney Wanderers in extra time in their FFA Cup game in Campbeltown.

Roy Krishna in action for the Wellington Phoenix.

Roy Krishna in action for the Wellington Phoenix. Photo: PhotoSport

Spanish import Oriol Riera scored the winner in the 120th minute.

A nodded far-post header was all it took to separate two very evenly-matched sides on a cool night in Campelltown on which clear-cut chances were at a premium.

Darije Kalezic's men showed tremendous fight in his first competitive fixture in charge, and despite a string of injuries a Phoenix side boasting three Academy players gave as good as they got over two grueling hours.

It was a well-contested first half with both sides enjoying good patches of possession in midfield.

Phoenix suffered some bad news during warm up with experienced defender Marco Rossi ruled out due to calf injury.

It meant a re-shuffled look to an already threadbare Phoenix line up, with Academy graduates Sarpreet Singh and Liam Wood handed starting places, and the latter immediately took to his new environment well cutting out a dangerous early Wanderers cross.

New signings Goran Paracki and Scott Galloway made their competitive debuts and put in two of the more impressive performances in Phoenix yellow.

Post-game Phoenix coach Darije Kalezic was circumspect in defeat, but took some satisfaction in the defensive progress already made.

"Every loss is disappointing, especially tonight," said Kalezic. "But my feeling is a positive feeling because we performed well tonight, we played a good game - good structure, with good organisation and high discipline."

"We had many, many [injury problems] like you said … but the young players performed well tonight, which makes me satisfied."

"We start with a new age, a new period in Wellington Phoenix. We have a vision of working, which is not to win the game tonight - of course we want to win the game - but the result doesn't have an influence on the vision of what we want to implement at the club."

"This performance doesn't give us any [insight] into the future, this performance tonight confirms only that how we've worked until now is right, and gives us trust to go in the same way to develop the team for next two and a half months ahead of the [A-League season]."