The Wellington Phoenix’s run in the 2022 Australia Cup is over, after bowing out of the competition to Macarthur FC.
The Bulls have beaten the Phoenix 2-0 in an entertaining Cup quarter-final at Campbelltown Stadium in Sydney.
Winger Al Hasan Toure opened the scoring late in the first half but it wasn’t until the 88th minute that substitute Lachlan Rose secured Macarthur’s place in the semi-finals when he pounced on a mistake to score their second.
Wellington had their chances in an end-to-end match, but ultimately weren’t as clinical as their opponents.
Phoenix head coach Ufuk Talay named an unchanged XI for the quarter-final, with Callan Elliot keeping his place at right back despite Tim Payne’s return to fitness.
Payne was named amongst the substitutes, alongside new Brazilian attacking midfielder Yan Sasse.
The Phoenix were inches away from making a dream start to the match, with Ben Waine rattling the near post from a third minute corner.
The Nix were forced to do some last ditch defending at the opposite end of the pitch moments later as Macarthur forced three successive corners.
Bozhidar Kraev and Nicholas Pennington were also called upon to make a couple of goal-line clearances in the 16th minute to deny the hosts the opening goal.
Apart from Waine hitting the woodwork, Wellington’s best opportunity of the first half came in the 21st minute when Kosta Barbarouses skied a shot off target after an intricate lead-up from the team’s front four.
Macarthur though had the best of the goalscoring opportunities. Toure should have opened the scoring in the 24th minute when he was one-on-one with Oli Sail and 11 minutes later Scott Wootton had to produce a timely intervention to deny Bulls striker Anthony Carter a tap-in.
The hosts got their goal four minutes from halftime when Carter was able to turn in the box and find Toure, who curled a shot around Josh Laws and into the Phoenix net.
Talay went to his bench nine minutes into the second-half, with Sasse and Payne replacing Ben Old and Sam Sutton.
The changes also made an immediate impact with Sasse forcing Kurto to quickly come off his line and smother his shot just moments after coming on to the pitch.
The Phoenix had their best chance to equalise in the 57th minute, when Kraev delivered a perfectly weighted ball to Waine down the left touchline. Waine then picked out Barbarouses, who was thwarted by Macarthur’s ‘keeper.
Sail had to produce a sharp save of his own moments later to deny former team-mate Ulises Dávila from scoring the Bulls’ second.
Kraev called Kurto into action a couple of times over the final half an hour, but the Nix struggled to create a clear cut goalscoring opportunity.
Two minutes from fulltime Rose ended Wellington’s hopes when he pounced on a mishit Payne pass and slotted a first-time shot past Sail.
The Wellington Phoenix will now turn their attentions to the upcoming A-League season.
The squad will remain in Sydney this weekend to play a pre-season match against the Newcastle Jets on Sunday.
Main photo: A disappointed Phoenix captain and goalkeeper, Oli Sail.
Game played Wednesday August 31, 2022
Macarthur 2 (Al Hasan Toure 41′, Lachland Rose 88′)
Wellington Phoenix 0
20. Oli SAIL (c), 4. Scott WOOTTON, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Ben OLD (31. Yan SASSE 54th), 11. Bozhidar KRAEV, 13. Nicholas PENNINGTON (24. Oskar VAN HATTUM 76th), 17. Callan ELLIOT, 18. Ben WAINE, 19. Sam SUTTON (6. Tim PAYNE 54th), 21. Joshua LAWS, 23. Clayton LEWIS
Unused substitutes: 40. Alex PAULSEN (gk), 3. Finn SURMAN, 35. Noah KARUNARATNE, 36. Riley BIDOIS
12. Filip KURTO (gk), 2. Jake MCGING, 5. Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 6. Tomislav USKOK, 7. Daniel DE SILVA, 10. Ulises DAVILA (c) (24. Charles M’MOMBWA 79th), 11. Kearyn BACCUS, 13. Ivan VUJICA, 35 Al Hasan TOURE (8. Jake HOLLMAN 79th), 94. Anthony CARTER (19. Jesper WEBBER, 66th), 99. Daniel ARZANI (31. Lachlan ROSE 66th)
Unused substitutes: 1. Nick SUMAN (gk), 27. Jerry SKOTADIS, 41. Oliver JONES