3 Feb 2018

Phoenix struggles continue

6:08 am on 3 February 2018

It wasn't far off the massacre they'd planned, and Sydney FC never looked like conceding a goal in Friday night's 4-0 A-League win over an error-ridden Wellington Phoenix.

Wellington Phoenix's caoch Darije Kalezic

Wellington Phoenix's caoch Darije Kalezic Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Immediately after coach Graham Arnold confirmed the signing of Portuguese winger Fabio Ferreira until the end of the season, his defending champions widened their league lead to 12 points at Allianz Stadium and extend their unbeaten home run to 26 games.

Alex Brosque, Adrian Mierzejewski, Milos Ninkovic and David Carney did the honours in a contest that could have been worse for the last-placed Phoenix.

By the 15-minute mark the match had the makings of a rout of epic proportions as two Phoenix defensive miscommunications gave Sydney an early 2-0 lead.

New Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk watched from the stands as the evergreen Brosque drew first blood, the skipper losing Marco Rossi and rounding on Lewis Italiano to tap the ball home after the defender ran into his goalkeeper.

Mierzejewski rammed home the second with force thanks to a backheel from Brosque, who pounced when Andrew Durante appeared to try and tackle Goran Paracki while in possession.

The Polish winger soon delivered a perfect free-kick around the wall to draw a top save from Italiano who, seconds later, was forced to rush back for a last- ditch goal-line clearance after Durante misfired a backpass.

The Sky Blues were not at their most brutal, and league top-scorer Bobo may have added to his 18 goals had he not dragged his shots wide before he was replaced with just over 20 minutes remaining.

The Phoenix, meanwhile, saw out the match with 35 per cent possession and rarely troubled their hosts except when Andrew Redmayne raced off his line to deny Adam Parkhouse.

They only compounded their own woes when Daniel Mullen committed a third costly mistake.

Mullen's heavy first touch allowed a circling Ninkovic to steal the ball and skirt away on a solo run that two chasing defenders couldn't stop before the Johnny Warren Medallist lobbed Italiano for Sydney's third.

Brosque ran riot and bent a volley narrowly wide of the far post and Simon put his body on the line for a goal-mouth header.

In the end Carney completed the rout, provided by young defender Aaron Calver in his first minutes of the season.