Football: Wellington Phoenix A-League unbeaten streak snapped with loss to Melbourne City

Wellington Phoenix's 10-game unbeaten streak has come to an end, after a 1-0 loss to Melbourne City across the Tasman, the side's first defeat this year.   

The current A-League leaders have remained atop the table, but would drop down a spot, if Central Coast Mariners defeat Macarthur Bulls later in the round.  

Despite the disappointing result, Phoenix head coach Giancarlo Italiano is far from downcast.   

Phoenix goalkeeper Alexander Paulsen dives for a shot.
Phoenix goalkeeper Alexander Paulsen dives for a shot. Photo credit: Getty Images

"It's unrealistic to think you can win every game," Italiano said. "Every time we've come here, we always struggle to get a result - it's a hard place to play.  

"I thought we had some good patches in the game. It was a pretty even game in the first half.

"I think they probably had some better chances. In the end, they probably deserved to win."

City, who remain seventh on the table, controlled much of the early possession, firing three shots on goal in the first 10 minutes.   

Phoenix's keeper Alex Paulsen was tested soon after and made a superb pointblank save to keep out a header from young City forward Max Caputo.  

Wellington struggled to create many early chances, with most of their limited shots either blocked or wide of goal. Inform midfielder Ben Old came closest just before halftime, when he blazed narrowly over the bar from a tight angle.  

The second half started similarly, with City continuing to create most of the goalscoring chances. French import Samuel Souprayen finally broke the deadlock in the 58th minute, heading in a well-worked set-piece at the back post.   

Wellington's best opportunity to save their unbeaten streak came with just 10 minutes remaining, but striker Kosta Barbarouses was unable to capitalise on his one-on-one with the keeper, firing his shot wide.   

With his team heading to Auckland's Eden Park for their next game against Sydney FC, Italiano expects a bounceback performance.    

"You learn a lot more out of defeat than you do through victory," said the first-year head coach. "I think the last time we lost to Sydney, we learnt a lot from that, Newcastle as well.  

"Defeat is a really good thing in terms of any team wanting to progress. It can't be all roses all the time.

"There needs to be some fall in order to hit the heights that you want. This is a good lesson for us that, if we play like that now for the rest of the season, that's not going to be enough... to get the points that we need."