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Luckless Phoenix edged by 10-man City

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 8/10/2016 Cathy Walshe
Roly Bonevacia of the Wellington Phoenix during the round one A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne City at Westpac Stadium on October 8, 2016 in Wellington, New Zealand. © Getty Images Roly Bonevacia of the Wellington Phoenix during the round one A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne City at Westpac Stadium on October 8, 2016 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Melbourne City have shaken off a second-half red card and battled to a gritty 1-0 win over Wellington Phoenix in their A-League season opener at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

City looked firmly in control after Anthony Caceres's 31st-minute goal, but a 58th-minute red card to keeper Thomas Sorensen turned the game upside down.

Phoenix striker Roy Krishna had pounced on a loose back pass and the ball struck a rushing Sorensen on the arm as the Fijian speedster closed in on goal.

Referee Peter Green produced a red card from his pocket and Sorensen marched to the sidelines as the game erupted into life for the home side.

But despite pressing hard into seven long minutes of extra time, and urged on by the 10,034-strong crowd, Wellington couldn't find the equaliser.

City's accuracy and pace on attack, coupled with their composure in defence, was apparent right from the first whistle.

Pacy Argentinian winger Nicolas Colazo proved a real handful, combining with last year's golden boot Bruno Fornaroli and new signing Fernando Brandan to keep Glenn Moss on his toes.

In contrast, Wellington looked cramped in the attacking third, struggling to find their timing and leaving Sorensen largely untested.

City continued to ramp up the pressure as the first half wore on, forcing a superb reflex save from Wellington keeper Moss after a searching cross from Luke Brattan produced a brilliant diving header from Fornaroli on the far post.

Former Adelaide United winger Bruce Kamau's pace down the right and accuracy in finding the always-dangerous Fornaroli continued to prove problematic for the Phoenix, but it was Caceres who put the visitors ahead in the 31st minute.

The former Central Coast Mariners midfielder latched onto Kamau's pinpoint cross, rounded Moss with ease and bundled the ball into the net.

Wellington's best chances came on the counterattack and one of those forced Sorensen to tip over a 40th minute snap shot from Krishna after a surging run down the right.

City went into halftime with a 1-0 lead, having dominated possession and peppered the Phoenix goal with 11 shots to Wellington's two at the other end.

The visitors looked to have the game well under control in the second stanza until Sorensen's red card galvanised Wellington into life.

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