Football: League-leading Wellington Phoenix fight to stalemate in Distance Derby against Perth Glory

  • 25/02/2024

Table-topping Wellington Phoenix have battled to an A-League stalemate against Perth Glory in their Distance Derby late Saturday night, finishing the match in a 0-0 draw.

Without scoring machine Kosta Barbarouses, the Phoenix's attack had a distinct lack of bite at HBF Park, although they still managed to create the superior goal-scoring chances against the Glory - who were unbeaten in their previous five games.

While the result extends the Phoenix's own undefeated streak to nine means, it also means second-placed Central Coast Mariners will have a chance to reduce the NZ side's five-point buffer atop the competition standings with a win over Melbourne Victory on Sunday.

Ben Old shoots but hits the post.
Ben Old shoots but hits the post. Photo credit: Getty Images

Neverthless, given the circumstances, Phoenix coach Giancarlo Italiano was satisfied with the result.

"I'm very happy," Italiano said post-match. "It was a solid point.

"The fact that we've picked up four points away from home in two games [when] we've had some injury concerns and bringing back players, I'm very happy.

"The long trip is difficult. We're lucky enough the board gave us the funds to stay over for an extended period after Macarthur, and I think it made a difference tonight.

"If we had gone home and came back, I think we would have been in all sorts, so I'm very thankful to club management for organising that for us."

After a muted start from both sides, coach Giancarlo Italiano introduced weapons Oskar Zawada and Bozhidar Kraev off the bench partway through the second half and the Phoenix offence kicked up a notch.

Ben Old did well to beat Glory goalkeeper Oli Sail but rocketed his shot off the post. Zawada had perhaps the best chance of the contest in the dying minutes but Sail was up to the task to deflect his glancing header from a Lukas Kelly-Heald cross.

The Phoenix will have their next shot to return to the win column on March 3, when they host Adelaide United.