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Wellington Phoenix see off 10-man Avondale to reach FFA Cup quarterfinals

Avondale’s Blake Carpenter was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Phoenix defender Louis Fenton.

Mike Owen/Getty Images

Avondale’s Blake Carpenter was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Phoenix defender Louis Fenton.

Wellington Phoenix are through to the FFA Cup quarterfinals for the first time after beating 10-man NPL club Avondale 4-1 in a fiery encounter at ABD Stadium in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Most of the damage was done inside an eventful first half.

Jaushua Sotirio scored a quickfire double inside the first 15 minutes before strike partner Ben Waine got the final touch on a goal-bound Alex Rufer header to make it 3-0 in the 24th.

Avondale were an ill-disciplined team and played most of the game with just 10 men after Blake Carpenter was shown a straight red card for an awful studs up challenge on Louis Fenton in the 25th minute, effectively ending the game as a contest.

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Led by their New Zealand captain Scott Hilliar, Avondale made a promising start to the game with Carpenter forcing a good save out of Oli Sail after Stefan Valentini burst down the left wing.

But the Phoenix, desperate to atone for their 4-0 defeat to Newcastle Jets in the A-League Men last Friday, flexed their muscles with Sotirio bursting onto a perfectly weighted pass from birthday boy David Ball to open the scoring with an emphatic finish in the fourth minute.

Continuing to apply the pressure, Sotirio then had a second nine minutes later, sprinting onto a flick-on from Ball and sending a powerful, looping shot over the top of goalkeeper Rory Brian.

Phoenix striker Jaushua Sotirio scored twice inside the opening 15 minutes.

Mike Owen/Getty Images

Phoenix striker Jaushua Sotirio scored twice inside the opening 15 minutes.

Rufer, who has never scored in the A-League Men, thought he had broken his long-running drought when he rose high at the back post to meet a Reno Piscopo cross but Waine was credited with the 24th minute goal after getting the last touch on the line.

The second half was a more even affair and Avondale came close to scoring when they caught the Phoenix on the counter midway through the second half, but Tim Payne sprinted back and pulled off a crucial block to deny Kristian Trajceski.

The semi-professional club eventually got their goal when Jonatan Gremano headed a lofted ball back across goal and Matthew Reid emerged from a crowd of bodies to score past Sail in the 74th minute.

But any hope of a miraculous comeback was dashed when substitutes Luka Prso and Callan Elliot combined and Prso tapped in from close range to score his first goal for the Phoenix in the 81st minute.

Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay named a reasonably strong team for the round of 16 clash, making five changes to his starting XI after last week’s heavy defeat to the Jets but retaining his spine of Rufer, Ball, Piscopo, Payne, Joshua Laws and Sail.

The Phoenix will meet defending A-League Men champions Melbourne City in the FFA Cup quarterfinals next Wednesday. They are back in action against Sydney FC in the A-League Men this Sunday.

Wellington Phoenix 4 (Jaushua Sotirio 4’, 14’, Ben Waine 24’, Luka Prso 81’) Avondale 1 (Matthew Reid 74’)

HT: 3-0



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