A-League: Bumbling Wellington Phoenix fall to biggest loss of season against Adelaide United

  • 18/03/2023

Wellington Phoenix have fallen to their heaviest defeat of the A-League season, thumped 5-1 by Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Friday.

Without star striker Oskar Zawada - at home for the birth of his first child - the NZ-based side bungled several opportunities on attack, as they became the latest victims of United's now 10-game winning streak.

The Phoenix gifted the hosts the first goal of the match, when defender Scott Wootton accidentally chested a pass from a cross past his goalkeeper Oli Sail, who should have made easy work of the reception.

Luka Jovanovic tapped home from close range on a scramble to give United a two-goal advantage going into the interval.

Kosta Barbarouses had a golden chance to reduce the Phoenix deficit moments before halftime. After shouldering the Adelaide goalkeeper off the ball, Barbarouses faced an open net with Bozhidar Kraev available for a tap in, but instead toed the ball across the face and hit the far post.

United's lead soon extended to three, when Lachlan Barr rose to head home from a corner.

Moments later the Phoenix pulled one back from the penalty spot courtesy of Alex Rufer. 

Hiroshi Ibusuki made it 4-1 shortly after the hour mark, capping a slick passing interplay, before Craig Goodwin rubbed salt in Phoenix wounds with a classy finish.

Head coach Ufuk Talay rued his team's lack of composure in front of goal.

"I thought we were in control of the game up until that point (Adelaide’s first goal)," Talay said after the game. "I thought that was the first attack that they really had and we scored an own goal.

"Conceding two set pieces doesn’t help, but overall I thought we played well. We played straight through them at times and we created opportunities.

"Did we have opportunities to score? Definitely we did. Were we clinical as they were? We weren’t tonight and that’s why the result is the way it is."

The Phoenix will now have a week off for an international break, before hosting Melbourne Victory on April 1.

Adelaide United 5 (Wootton own goal 16th min, Jovanovic 23th min, Barr 51st min, Ibusuki 62nd min, Goodwin 71st min) Wellington Phoenix 1 (Rufer pen 54th min)