Phoenix fails to rise as Reds book place in finals
WELLINGTON'S A-League season is all but over after losing 1-0 at home to Adelaide United yesterday.
With games against Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory to come, the Phoenix is in eighth place, five points adrift of sixth-placed Sydney.
Adelaide, on the other hand, is certain to play finals, sitting fourth, only two points behind the second-placed Central Coast Mariners.
The Reds scored their winner in the 57th minute thanks to a brilliant one-two move featuring Tarek Elrich and Marcelo Carrusca.
Elrich was brought down in the penalty box by a mistimed Andrew Durante challenge, leaving referee Peter Green no choice but to award a penalty. Carrusca then showed his class from the spot, cheekily chipping the ball into the top of the net after noticing Phoenix goalkeeper Glen Moss's first movement.
The Phoenix could have equalised in the 81st minute, but Michael Boxall's volley sailed over the bar.
In other games, the Brisbane Roar beat Melbourne Heart 2-1 on Friday night despite Roar striker Besart Berisha becoming the first player in A-League history to be sent off three times in one A-League season. On Saturday, the Mariners beat Wanderers 2-1 and Sydney FC drew 1-1 with Melbourne Victory.