Melbourne Victory vs Wellington Phoenix Prediction: Draw specialists could strike again on Sunday

 | 11th May | 

5 mins read

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Fresh from a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory in the Melbourne derby Elimination Final last week, Melbourne Victory must now turn their attention to Wellington Phoenix, whom they host at AAMI Park in the first leg of their Australian A-League semi-final tie on Sunday (07:00, TNT Sports 1).

Below you can find my Melbourne Victory vs Wellington Phoenix prediction, in addition to all the latest team news and match odds heading into this crunch clash.

Melbourne Victory vs Wellington Phoenix Betting Tips

  • Draw @ 13/5
  • First half total goals - under 0.5 @ 9/4

Melbourne Victory ended the regular season in third place, 11 points behind second-placed Wellington Phoenix, to set up an Elimination Final with local rivals Melbourne City.

The Melbourne derby didn't disappoint, as a thrilling first half produced a missed penalty and goal for City, and a red card for Victory. Despite events going against them, Victory battled back to level in the 88th minute through substitute Nishan Velupillay and force extra time, before triumphing 3-2 on penalties.

Wellington Phoenix have had over two weeks to prepare for this fixture, with their last game - a 3-0 win over Macarthur FC - coming on April 27. At that point, the Nix still had a chance of picking up the Premier's Plate, but they were denied by Central Coast Mariners, who beat Adelaide United in their final fixture four days later.

Victory and Wellington Phoenix have met three times already this season and there was nothing to separate the sides in the first two games as they played out 1-1 draws, at AAMI Park in November and at Sky Stadium in January.

The Nix were narrow winners in the most recent encounter, however, with Finn Surman's 95th-minute strike in Wellington breaking Victory hearts late on.

Intriguingly, the New Zealand club have not beaten Victory in Melbourne since April 2017, failing to triumph in 11 subsequent games.

Team News

Zinedine Machach, one of the stars of Victory's season so far, will sit out both legs of his side's semi-final tie after being served with a two-match suspension for the red card he was given against Melbourne City last week.

The Frenchman will be a tough act to replace, with Salim Khelifi or Velupillay most likely to deputise in his absence.

Connor Chapman, Fabian Monge and Roly Bonevacia have all been added to Victory's extended squad ahead of Sunday's game.

It's as you were for the Nix, who have named the same extended squad as last time out. The big question mark is over last season's top scorer Oskar Zawada, who has spent a significant portion of the current campaign injured but returned to make a brief cameo in his side's last two games.

Kosta Barbarouses has led the line superbly for Giancarlo Italiano's side in the Pole's absence, so it may be a case of utilising Zawada from the bench again as he continues to build up his fitness.

Match Odds

Sunday's hosts have been installed as 8/11 favourites to triumph at AAMI Park, giving them an implied win probability of 57.9%, while the visitors can be backed at 3/1 (25%).

The draw, meanwhile, is available at 13/5, and Victory striker Bruno Fornaroli, who struck 18 times in the regular A-League season, is 100/30 to open the scoring.

Draw @ 13/5

Considering we were mere minutes away from a third straight stalemate between these sides in April, I'm happy to back a draw on Friday at 13/5.

The table shows the Nix as the superior side this season as they finished second, 11 points ahead of their next opponents, but there has been little to nothing between them in the three head-to-heads, and Victory have home advantage this weekend.

It's away from Wellington where Italiano's side have struggled, certainly relative to what they have achieved at Sky Stadium. They collected at least three more points (32) than any other side at home in the regular season, but their away tally of 21 points was matched by Macarthur and beaten by both Central Coast Mariners (26) and Western Sydney Wanderers (23).

The Nix have failed to win any of their last four away games and have drawn half (three) of the last six on their travels, while only Victory (eight) have drawn more away games than their total of six.

Victory are actually the league's stalemate specialists, drawing 12 of their 27 matches before tying their Elimination Final with Melbourne City and only advancing via penalties.

Tony Popovic's side can take confidence from the way they battled back with 10 men against their local rivals, but the Nix are a much better team than City and the loss of Machach could hurt them sorely on Sunday.

A draw would probably be an acceptable result for Italiano and co, who will be confident of doing the business on home turf next week.

Draw in Melbourne Victory vs Wellington Phoenix at 13-5

First half total goals - under 0.5 @ 9/4

There were a couple of goals shared in the opening half of the November meeting between these sides, but the subsequent two games failed to produce a first-half strike, and we could be in for another goalless first 45 minutes this weekend.

41% of Wellington's league matches this season have failed to produce a first-half goal - the joint-lowest figure alongside the Mariners - while 33% of Victory's games have ended in a goalless opening period.

This selection has also landed in four of the Nix's last six away games.

Under 0.5 first half total goals in Melbourne Victory vs Wellington Phoenix at 9-4

Check out the rest of our Football Betting Tips here.

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