Massive six-pointer against Wellington suggests Izzo
With Adelaide United and Wellington Phoenix on the same points and competing to remain in the top six, Paul Izzo says Saturday’s game is huge in the context of each side’s respective seasons.
The Reds and the Phoenix lie in fifth and sixth respectively in the Hyundai A-League table, possessing identical statistics.
Both have the same amount of points (15), the identical number of goals scored (14), and the same total of goals conceded (13).
Only Adelaide’s head-to-head record against the ‘Nix this campaign – a 3-1 away win back in November, the deciding factor.
Mark Rudan’s men were unbeaten in the month of December, recording three wins and two draws in a resurgence that has caught the attention of many after several impressive displays.
Izzo said the team were under no illusions just how important it is to secure a crucial victory against an in-form opponent.
“They’re a team you kind of watch and you don’t know what you’re going to get,” Izzo warned.
“We watched them against Sydney and they won 3-1 and we’re thinking, ‘alright maybe they’re the real deal’.
“And then they put in a performance against Victory and they drew away from home as well.
“So they’re a very good side and I think it’s a huge game between us and them, we’re kind of battling in the same positions and it’ll be vital to get the three points at home.”
Izzo added that these are the defining matches that can shape a season, particularly on home soil.
“These are the types of games at home especially you want to win and you leave nothing behind,” he said.
“And come the end of the season these are the points that matter.”
The ‘Nix boast a plethora of pace with the likes of Roy Krishna, David Williams, Sarpreet Singh and Nathan Burns.
The 23-year-old shot-stopper said restricting their involvement will be pivotal.
“It’s definitely something we prepare for,” he said.
“They’ve got a lot of danger not just up front and they’ve recruited very well.
“It’s shown with their results this season so we did just have to do our homework and prepare as well as we can and hopefully we do the job.”
Izzo also discussed the return of George Blackwood, who played 21 minutes as a second-half substitute against Newcastle Jets, following a lengthy injury lay-off with a broken collarbone.
“It’s great having George back,” he continued.
“It adds more for us depth wise and options and ways to play.
“He needs minutes and it was a shocking game probably to come back to against Newcastle.
“It wasn’t really too ideal for him, it was very tough but he did a fantastic job so onwards and upwards for him.”
Adelaide United host Wellington Phoenix in Round 11 of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 season on Saturday, 5 January at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 5.05pm ACDT. Gates open 4.05pm.