With a total of eight changes to the starting line-up, newly crowned Asian Champions Western Sydney Wanderers travelled to New Zealand to take on Wellington Phoenix in Round 5 of the Hyundai A-League.Despite a number of chances and a penalty save from Ante Covic, the Red & Black fell to a 79th minute winner from Nathan Burns to go down 1-0.
It wasn’t all bad for the Wanderers. On the contrary, for a line-up that was playing together for the first time and included two debutants the signs were very positive going into the future.
Nikita Rukavytsya and Seyi Adeleke both made their debuts while Matthew Spiranovic started a match for the first time since the World Cup.
Youngsters Alusine Fofanah and Jaushua Sotirio also played some rare minutes while Romeo Castelen continued his impressive start to the season.
In fact it was the front three of Rukavytsya and Romeno, led by Tomi Juric, which showed the most promise for the team – especially in the opening 45 minutes.
An exciting brand of football was on display with the pace of Rukavytsya and the smarts of Castelen combining with Juric to create a number of openings.
The second half continued in a similar vein with Spiranovic recipient of the best chance of the match.
After a scramble in the box the defender stuck a toe out to shoot the ball towards goal only for an impressive Glen Moss save to keep the score even.
The Wanderers were made to rue their missed opportunities when Nathan Burns scored with barely ten minutes left in the match.
Troubles looked to have doubled when Adeleke was shoved by a Wellington attacker only for the referee to aware a penalty to the home team!
Justice was served though when Ante Covic once again saved the dot-shot.
In the end though a promising display of attacking football was all that the Red & Black could take out of the match as the score remained 1-0 at fulltime.
Wanderers travel to Perth next week to continue their globe-trotting adventures.