At Casey Fields in Melbourne: Wellington Phoenix 2 (Kosta Barbarouses 19’, Ben Waine 36’) Melbourne City 1 (Mathew Leckie 84’) HT: 2-0
First-half goals from two All Whites strikers have sent Wellington Phoenix into the quarterfinals of the Australia Cup.
Kosta Barbarouses and Ben Waine both found the back of the net inside the first 45 minutes to secure a shock 2-1 win over Melbourne City in the round of 16 at Casey Fields on Wednesday.
The Phoenix have now eliminated City from the knockout tournament in each of the last two seasons, having also beaten the 2021-22 A-League Men premiers on penalties in the quarterfinals last year.
They will now meet another A-League side, Macarthur, in the last eight.
Coach Ufuk Talay made two changes to the team that routed NPL Tasmania team Devonport City Strikers 4-0 in the round of 32 with new signing Bozhidar Kraev and Ben Old coming into the starting XI for Oskar van Hattum and Tim Payne, who was ruled out with a hamstring issue.
* Extended stay in Australia has Wellington Phoenix primed for another cup upset
* Wellington Phoenix sign Brazilian playmaker Yan Sasse
* Ben Waine nabs brace as Wellington Phoenix advance to Australia Cup round of 16
Bulgarian international Kraev teed up Barbarouses for the opening goal in the 19th minute. After being unleashed down the left by Waine, Kraev had two pops at the City goal.
The first attempt deflected off a City defender while the second struck the body of Barbarouses, and the returning striker was able to control the ball and slot it past Tom Glover for his first goal since rejoining his hometown club from Sydney FC.
Waine made it three goals from two games in the Australia Cup after netting a brace against Devonport when he rose high to meet a looping cross from Sam Sutton and directed the ball past Glover in the 36th minute.
City threw everything at the Phoenix in the second half but Patrick Kisnorbo’s side initially struggled to find a way past Oli Sail before Socceroos forward Mathew Leckie finally made one of their 19 shots count by pulling one goal back in the 84th minute.
City right-back Callum Talbot gathered a poor clearance from Scott Wootton and swung a dangerous ball in at the back post for Leckie to head home, setting up a nervy finish.
Earlier, Waine had a great chance to score a second when the Phoenix broke clear in the 64th minute but he rifled his shot straight at Glover.
Clayton Lewis also had a free-kick tipped over the bar in the 81st minute.
New signing Yan Sasse was a surprise inclusion on the Phoenix bench after only arriving in Australia last week ahead of his unveiling. He was handed a debut in the final few minutes of stoppage time but did not have a chance to make a meaningful contribution.
City’s exit at the round of 16 stage at the hands of the Phoenix was their earliest since the inaugural Australia Cup in 2014.
© 2022 Stuff Limited