Domestic Leagues

Sydney FC clinch Premiers Plate as Phoenix are denied by Adelaide


Sydney: Sydney FC were confirmed as A-League Premiers after their closest challengers Wellington Phoenix drew 1-1 against a revitalised Adelaide United on Saturday.

Wellington now trail the runaway leaders by 11 points with only three games left to play after substitute Ulises Davila saw his 88th-minute penalty saved by in-form Reds gloveman Paul Izzo at Bankwest Stadium.

Jaushua Sotirio levelled five minutes after Kristian Opseth had put Adelaide ahead on the hour mark and, although the draw lifts Phoenix ahead of Melbourne City into second place, the Sky Blues cannot be caught in the race for the Premiers Plate.

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Talay rung the changes, bringing in six fresh faces from the midweek win against Perth Glory, and Carl Veart’s side had the better of a closely-contested first half with Opseth landing the only attempt on target with a bullet header that forced a fingertip save from Stefan Marinovic as half-time approached.

Mexican playmaker Davila sparked Wellington into life when he came off the bench at half-time but Opseth dented the ’Nix's chances when the Norwegian forward ghosted between two defenders to convert Ben Halloran’s cross on the hour.

Sotirio hit back on 65 minutes and the Kiwi club piled forward in the closing stages, as Davila saw his curling strike parried on to the crossbar by Izzo. The Aussie ’keeper would not be beaten again as a late spot-kick save earned a point for the Reds, who tighten their grip on sixth place with their first draw in 23 matches this campaign.

Photo: Sydney FC

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