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Phoenix vs. Roar A-League Round 16 first goal-scorer predictions

  • MATCH UP STATS

    Wellington Phoenix vs. Brisbane Roar

    • Season record:

      Wellington Phoenix: 5-3-7
      Brisbane Roar: 5-6-4
    • Last 5 results:

      Wellington Phoenix: WWLDD
      Brisbane Roar: LLLDW
    • First goal pick:

      Wellington Phoenix: Kosta Barbarouses ($9 @ WilliamHill)
      Brisbane Roar: Kamie Maclaren ($5.50 @ WilliamHill)

Saturday, January 21, 2016, 5.35pm AEDT, Westpac Stadium, Brisbane, watch on Fox Sports.

A MASSIVE match up that could have ramifications on the A-League’s top four is brewing between the Wellington Phoenix and Brisbane Roar.

The Phoenix are just about the form side of the competition with back to back wins, including a 3-0 demolition of second placed Melbourne Victory, helping them rise to fifth on the A-League ladder.

At the other end of the spectrum – but still three points ahead of the Phoenix in fourth place – are the Brisbane Roar, who are now on a three match losing streak and in need of something special to stop themselves from falling out of the top four.

As soon as the Phoenix game with Melbourne Victory was rescheduled, following the New Zealand earthquakes causing damage to Westpac Stadium last year, they would have targeted this three game stretch at home as a period where they could make a real run at the top six.

And they have done it mightily so far, holding off the lowly Central Coast Mariners last week, 1-0, and then absolutely shredding the Victory, piling on three goals to go ahead of Perth Glory on goal difference.

In a remarkable match, the game hung in the balance for all 90 minutes, with Roly Bonavacia’s 33rd minute finish the only score.

But then the Phoenix completely gutted the Victory with goals first to Jacob Tratt and then to former Melbourne star Kosta Barbarouses, both in injury time.

They will he hunting fourth spot here, with a two goal or more win enough for them to leapfrog the Roar.

The Roar have only given a yelp in their last three outings, going down 3-2 in back to back matches, following a 2-0 loss to Sydney FC.

Translation: It has not been a happy couple of weeks for the formerly flying club.

The could not even get past a 10 man Melbourne Victory outfit, that is beginning to seriously stumble in its pursuit of Sydney FC at the top of the table.

In fact, they saved their blushes, falling behind 3-0 inside the opening 20 minutes.

A stunning Dimitri Petratos free kick from long range pegged one back and then Brandon Borrello’s lashing cross was turned into his own net by Victory defender James Donachie.

This was all inside the first half and, despite Victory striker Besart Belisha being show a straight red, the Roar could not find the net again.

A loss here would put a severe dent in the Roar’s finals hopes, with the Phoenix drawing level on points and the Glory looming.

The last time these two teams met was over a year ago and that match petered out into a 0-0 draw, and before that it was in December 2015 when the Roar edged the Phoenix 2-1.

It’s a new year and a new day and times have changed.

First goal scorer picks

Wellington Phoenix:

Kosta Barbarouses ($9 with WilliamHill.com.au)

The former Victory man is still among the best attacking midfielders in the game and has been a key figure in the Phoenix’s resurgence. They are a dangerous proposition every time this guy steps on the park and, while he is often the man providing the set up work for other players to finish off, he bobs up at regular intervals with goals. Roy Krishna is the side’s leading goal scorer, but given that Barbarouses fired in against his former club last time out, we reckon he might just use that as the impetus to score in consecutive matches.

Brisbane Roar:

Jamie Maclaren ($5.50 with WilliamHill.com.au)

If Maclaren isn’t the best striker in the A-League, he has to be close. The Roar’s midfield has had its problems this season, but Maclaren has still fired in seven goals – three more than next best Danish import Thomas Kristensen. This bloke just knows where the goals are and has the poise and precision to deliver. Can’t go wrong if you think the Roar will get off to a good start.

Match predictions

Match result: Wellington Phoenix to win ($2.60 with Sportsbet.com.au)

Correct match score: Wellington Phoenix to win 2-1 ($9 with Sportsbet.com.au)

Total match goals: Over 2.5 match goals ($1.67 with Sportsbet.com.au)

Bonus bet: Both teams to score – Yes ($1.53 with Sportsbet.com.au)

Why on earth are the Roar favourites here? We get it, the Phoenix have had a tough schedule, but wins are wins and they make the aches hurt less and provide more drive than a pair of 3-2 losses in a row ever possibly could. Gauge the last team both played – the Melbourne Victory – the Roar fell, while the Phoenix flew. On paper, these two teams appear to match up well and, given the fact the Phoenix are at home for the third game in a row, the exposed form is about as good as it gets and the fact Brisbane have to hop a plane for this clash, we don’t think you can go wrong with Wellington, especially at the ridiculous $2.60 quote. Money for jam. Just quietly, the Roar have scored in four of their past five matches, while the Phoenix have struck in five of their past six. Even though they have not conceded a goal in three of four matches, we think both teams have at least one in them and the $1.53 looks a good bet, especially if you are worried about the match result.