The Clash of the Capitals Part Two takes place this weekend as Canberra United welcome Wellington Phoenix to McKellar Park for the penultimate home game of the 2023/24 Liberty A-League season.

Revenge will be the order of the day as United seek redemption for a 2-0 loss in the New Zealand Capital earlier this season, but the visitors to the Australian Capital Territory have reasonably happy memories of their trips here, registering one win and a loss in the brace of games played.

Canberra first met Wellington back in February 2022, the Phoenix had never won a Liberty A-League match before they stormed Viking Park with a display of exuberance and effervescence that left the crowd, just shy of a thousand at an announced 957, in the main stand completely bewildered.

And United have lost the last two to their rivals, both away from home, conceding seven goals in the process without reply. In happier times, United did send Wellington packing on their last trip here, Michelle Heyman scoring twice to add to Grace Maher’s opener in a 3-0 win.

Having lost twice in the past week, a brace of 1-4 losses to Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast Mariners, United enter the match needing an upturn in fortunes, and facing the prospect of two home matches within the space four days as Sydney FC travel South on Wednesday.

As has ben well documented, Canberra have had no issues scoring goals this season, the thirty-five in the for column being bettered only by the thirty-eight that Melbourne Victory have struck and being even with both Western United and Melbourne City who sit third and fourth, respectively.

Unfortunately, there have been forty-six goals conceded at the other end, a figure certainly not helped by the consistent changing of the guard in defence, a combination of injuries an unavailability meaning that Njegosh Popovich has rarely been able to call on the same unit two weeks in succession.

Phoenix are used to Australia of course as they played the entirety of their debut season based out of Wollongong due to the Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time. Canberra will be out to make sure that their visit this time around goes the same way as their last jaunt across the Tasman and bring with it three very welcome points.


Liberty A-League Round 20

Sunday 24 March 2024

Canberra United v Wellington Phoenix

(McKellar Park, 14:00)

Live on Paramount+ and 10Play