Nothing splits Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix in another A-League draw

Wellingtonn Phoenix and Melbourne Victory have combined for another thrilling A-League draw, highlighted by goals to respective stars Roy Krishna and Keisuke Honda.

A pulsating game at Auckland’s Eden Park on Friday couldn’t find a winner, as was the case in two other memorable fixtures at AAMI Park this season.

For the third time, Wellington failed to defend a lead late in the game.”/>
media_cameraKevin Muscat, head coach of the Victory reacts during the Round 19 A-League match between Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory. Picture: AAP Image

It was Japanese playmaker Honda who came off the bench to slot an equalising penalty after Krishna slammed the hosts in front early in the second spell. The Phoenix attracted a crowd of 23,648 to the one-off game at New Zealand’s famous rugby ground, easily the largest to watch them in a regular season home match.

The result does little to help the cause of either team.

Second-placed defending champions Melbourne reduce the gap to leaders Perth by a point but Glory could stretch the margin to nine if they win at home to struggling Brisbane on Sunday.”/>
media_cameraKeisuke Honda of the Victory is tackled by Michal Kopczynski of the Phoenix. Picture: AAP Image/David Rowland

The Phoenix remain sixth, with work to do if they’re to achieve their top-four finish target.

However, Wellington again proved they can hold their own against the league’s strongest teams.

Victory had the better of a scoreless first half, highlighted by Phoenix goalkeeper Filip Kurto’s excellent save when Kenny Athiu was through one-on-one. Kurto blocked a deflected Athiu shot soon after the break, maintaining the Sudan-born striker’s goalless run this season.

Krishna’s killer instinct was on show in the 57th minute when he pounced after Storm Roux failed to control a cross, volleying home from close range for his 12th goal of the season. Krishna is level again with Sydney FC’s Adam le Fondre in the golden boot race.

Honda sent Kurto the wrong way from the spot in the 67th minute after Louis Fenton bundled over fullback opposite Leigh Broxham.”/>
media_cameraRoy Krishna of the Phoenix turns for the ball during the A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and the Melbourne Victory. Picture: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

The marquee midfielder, who has struggled with a hamstring injury for two months, entered in the second half for a second straight week. Honda delivered 11 balls into the box in his 40 minutes on the field and later declared himself ready to start next week’s derby against Melbourne City. “I’ve been getting better and I think I’ll be OK for the next game,” Honda said. Playmaking counterpart Sarpreet Singh was equally frustrated the Phoenix couldn’t take their opportunities.

“We played really well in patches but I still think we can get a lot better,” Singh said.

Fit-again defender Georg Niedermeier made his first start for Victory since November and was later replaced by James Donachie in his first appearance since rejoining the club on loan two weeks ago.

Midfielder Anthony Lesiotis, 18, was handed a maiden start, in place of the suspended Terry Antonis.


WELLINGTON PHOENIX 1 (Roy Krishna 57m) drew MELBOURNE VICTORY 1 (Keisuke Honda 67m pen) at Eden Park. Referee: Peter Green.

Originally published as Victory, Phoenix finish even again

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