15 Feb 2019

Phoenix and Victory play out 1-1 thriller

10:13 pm on 15 February 2019

Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory have combined for another thrilling A-League stalemate drawing one-all at Eden Park.

Wellington striker Roy Krishna scoring goal

Wellington striker Roy Krishna scoring goal Photo: © Copyright Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz Photosport Ltd 2019

A pulsating game at Auckland's Eden Park on Friday couldn't find a winner, as was the case in two other memorable fixtures at AAMI Park this season.

For the third time, Wellington failed to defend a lead late in the game.

It was Japanese playmaker Honda who came off the bench to slot an equalising penalty after Krishna slammed the hosts in front early in the second spell.

The evening was a win in some respect for the sixth-placed Phoenix, whose surprisingly strong showings this season attracted a crowd of 23,648 to the one- off game at New Zealand's famous rugby ground.

It was easily the largest ever audience to watch a Phoenix home match in the regular season.

The result does little to help the cause of either team.

Second-placed defending champions Melbourne reduce the gap to leaders Perth by a point but Glory could stretch the margin to nine if they win at home to struggling Brisbane on Sunday.

The Phoenix remain sixth, with work to do if they're to achieve coach Mark Rudan's stated goal of a top-four finish.

It is a second straight 1-1 draw for Wellington, who achieved that result away to Newcastle and once again proved they can hold their own against the league's strongest teams.

Victory had the better of a scoreless first half, highlighted by Phoenix goalkeeper Filip Kurto's excellent save when Kenny Athiu was through one-on-one.

Kurto blocked a deflected Athiu shot soon after the break, maintaining the Sudan-born striker's goalless run this season.

Krishna's killer instinct was on show in the 57th minute when he pounced after Storm Roux failed to control a cross, volleying home from close range for his 12th goal of the season. Krishna is level again with Sydney FC's Adam le Fondre in the golden boot race.

Goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas kept Krishna out shortly afterwards before Honda sent Kurto the wrong way from the penalty shot in the 67th minute.

The marquee midfielder, who has struggled with a hamstring injury for two months, entered the game midway through the second half for a second straight week.

There was little dispute over the penalty after Louis Fenton bundled over fullback opposite Leigh Broxham in the box.