Phoenix lose opening tour match
New Serbian striker Andrija Kaludjerovic made his bow for Wellington Phoenix but couldn't prevent the A-League side going down 2-1 to Blacktown City.
On the first game of their three-match tour of Australia to get themselves prepared for the upcoming campaign, the Phoenix fell to the part-timers who have made the FFA Cup quarter-finals.
Blacktown beat A-League opposition last month in the opening round of the cup and again showed their ability at Lily's Football Centre.
It was in-form striker Joey Gibbs who fired City to victory as he netted both their goals in the first half. Gibbs netted two of the goals that put out Central Coast in the FFA Cup Round of 32, and again grabbed a brace in their win over APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
Wellington used the outing to get vital minutes into the legs of key first-team players like Ali Abbas and Marco Rossi.
They went in front on 22 minutes when Alex Rufer fired home from outside the area after good work by Logan Rogerson.
Blacktown levelled just two minutes later when a sharp counter-attack was finished off by Gibbs.
Just before the break Ryan Lowry was penalised for a challenge in the area and Gibbs stepped up to fire his penalty down the middle to make it 2-1.
That was how it finished, although both sides had good chances in the second half. Kaludjerovic, sent on for his debut with 20 minutes to go, almost marked his arrival with a goal while Matt Ridenton was denied an equaliser when his free-kick smacked against the crossbar.
Wellington are 250/1 to win the 2017/18 Grand Final while the Phoenix are 2/1 to win their first game of the league season against Adelaide, who are 7/5 with the draw 12/5.
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