Paracki happy with Phoenix de­but

The Wellingtonian - - Sport - LIAM HYS­LOP

The Welling­ton Phoenix’s first game of the sea­son was tai­lor­made for Go­ran Paracki.

The com­bat­ive Croa­t­ian de­fen­sive mid­fielder was in his el­e­ment in the 1-1 draw against Ade­laide United on Sun­day as a dour mid­field strug­gle played out at West­pac Sta­dium.

Few peo­ple’s faces would’ve lit up like the 30-year-old’s did when asked on Tues­day about the bat­tle for as­cen­dancy in the mid­dle of the pitch.

‘‘Yeah, I like it when the game hap­pens in the mid­dle, when I’m con­stantly on the ball and con­stantly in some tack­les. For mid­field­ers, it was a good game.’’

The Phoenix ended up with 46.5 per cent of pos­ses­sion, which Paracki said was a stat they would ide­ally like to turn around.

‘‘I hope in the fu­ture we will have the ball more, like we want to play.’’

Still, there was enough in their first match un­der coach Dar­ije Kalezic to sug­gest they should be a tough side to break down this sea­son.

They have also been pretty hard on them­selves, if right back Scott Gal­loway was any­thing to go by.

He was an­other mak­ing his Phoenix de­but on Sun­day after 78 A-league games for the Mel­bourne Vic­tory and Cen­tral Coast Mariners, and said it was his fault they con­ceded in the 10th minute to a Jo­han Ab­sa­lon­sen header.

‘‘I put my hand up for it. We worked on dur­ing the week that their wide play­ers look to come across to the front post, that was my man to fol­low, he got there in front of me and there wasn’t much I could do. I’ve just got to be bet­ter there.’’

Out­side of that, it was a solid start for Gal­loway in Welling­ton.

Gal­loway was im­pressed by 18-year-old goal­keeper Kee­gan Smith, who per­formed ad­e­quately in his A-league de­but after beat­ing out pro­fes­sion­als Lewis Ital­iano and Oliver Sail to the start­ing job.

‘‘For an 18-year-old in goal play­ing his first A-league game I thought he did very well. He kept his head, he was vo­cal, credit to him com­pletely. He pulled off an un­be­liev­able save that kept us a point, he can hold his head proud, he did re­ally well.’’

While a point was a de­cent re­sult first-up, it was hard to get a read on just how ei­ther side was trav­el­ling at this very early stage of the sea­son.

The Phoenix have Syd­ney FC away this Sun­day.

Go­ran Paracki, cen­tre, says he rel­ished the mid­field bat­tle in his Welling­ton Phoenix de­but against Ade­laide United on Sun­day. MARTY MELVILLE/PHOTOSPORT

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.