Phoenix look to cut 'fatal mistakes' as they prepare for Sydney FC

Wellington Phoenix will need 90 minutes-plus of error-free football if they want to push high-flying Sydney FC tonight, Nix coach Darije Kalezic says.

The A-League leaders have lost only one game this season, nearly three months ago, while Wellington sit at the bottom of the ladder with just three wins from 17 games.

While Sydney are coming off a clinical 3-1 win over Melbourne Victory, Wellington stumbled at home to a 1-0 defeat by Adelaide United.

They will travel to Sydney without playmaker Roy Krishna, who is in Auckland for further tests on a troublesome hamstring, but Kalezic is hopeful striker Andrija Kaludjerovic will be a starter.

The 30-year-old Serbian suffered a foot injury last week, but although he has recovered better than expected, a decision won't be made until late on Thursday.

There is also a question mark over defender Tom Doyle, who is carrying a groin strain.

Wellington have already lost twice to the defending champions this season, a third-round 3-2 loss followed by a more substantial 4-1 defeat at Westpac Stadium just before Christmas.

Kalezic says Wellington have learned from those losses.

"We didn't see any problems from the tactical point of view but individual mistakes were fatal for us.

"Tomorrow I think we have to show more quality and don't make individual mistakes," he said.

"I believe we will again be organised, which is very, very important against Sydney but then is the question about whether can we keep playing 90 minutes without fatal mistakes."

Kalezic says the Sky Blues' patience and ability to strike from the counterattack made them a dangerous opponent.

"They have a quality to create chances and goals from nothing. They don't have to be dominant.

"We have to be not only organised but really, really sharp."

Wellington Phoenix's Matthew Ridenton in action during an A-League game between Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide United at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, Saturday 27th Janurary 2018. Copyright Photo: Raghavan Venugopal / © 2018
Wellington Phoenix's Matthew Ridenton in action during an A-League game between Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide United at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Source: Photosport


A-League ref gets brutally smashed in the face by flying ball

Referees deal with a lot of issues during a match but it's not every day they get hit by a wild ball travelling at high speed squarely to the face.

That was the unfortunate experience A-League assistant referee Lara Lee found herself in on Monday night during a match between the Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC though.

The incident happened early in the second half after a throw-in by Brisbane's Corey Brown wasn't controlled by one of his teammates, leading Sydney's Josh Brillante to thump the ball as hard as he could for a clearance up field.

Unfortunately for Lee, the ball lined up squarely with her face on the sideline. 

Brillante and Brown immediately checked the fourth official was fine - a grin and thumbs up proving she was.

Lee remained in her position for the rest of the match which Sydney comfortably won 3-0.



Goalkeeper wins year's supply of pizza after FA Cup shutout

Fleetwood Town's goalkeeper earned himself a year's supply of pizza, following his shot-stopping heroics in his side's 0-0 draw in the FA Cup against Leicester City overnight.

Chris Neal, the gloveman for the League One side, managed to keep a clean sheet against the Premier League side, earning himself a year's supply of free pizza from Papa John's - who sponsored the team for the match.

Speaking afterwards, Neal didn't have to think too hard about what he'd do with his winnings.

"Eat it!" he joked to Yahoo Sports.

"I'm guessing after games we'll probably fire into a few of them."

"It's an added bonus games like this bring, companies like to come to us."

Neal's Fleetwood Town will face Leicester again at the King Power Stadium to settle the tie after the 0-0 result.