Wellington 1 Glory 1
Bad trip: Cameron Edwards tackles Carlos Hernandez. Photo: Getty Images
The Wellington Phoenix have gone five games without a win but their All Whites emerged unscathed.
Phoenix foursome Glen Moss, Andrew Durante, Ben Sigmund and Jeremy Brockie got through the game at Christchurch's AMI Stadium without incident and Perth's All Whites striker Shane Smeltz was withdrawn after 53 minutes in his first start of the A-League season after off-season surgery.
The five players, and Phoenix reserve goalkeeper Jacob Spoonley, were set to leave for Auckland immediately after the match to catch the All Whites' flight to Los Angeles, where they will prepare for Thursday's World Cup play-off in Mexico City.
|View Match Statistics|
|Players||Durante (4min)||Goals||Nagai (29min)|
Ernie Merrick's Phoenix, ninth in the A-League, had their chances to beat high-flying Perth but could not capitalise on some crucial second-half opportunities.
The Phoenix belied their reputation as notorious slow starters when skipper Durante scored after four minutes on a night he set a club record with his 132nd appearance before 9671 Canterbury fans. Costa Rican playmaker Carlos Hernandez launched a powerfully struck low free kick across the face of the Glory goal. The Perth defence were flummoxed by a Phoenix player hurtling towards the near post and failed to cut out the ball, leaving Durante to bundle it into the net from close range.
The Phoenix's innovative set-piece strategy almost paid dividends later, but Brockie blazed over the bar after finding himself in space.
Perth's Brazilian import Sidnei Sciola was the game's most potent attacker in the first half and it took a determined tackle from Phoenix fullback Louis Fenton to save the day after Sciola broke into the box in the 14th minute.
Sciola's piercing cross-field pass set up a promising Perth attack in the 18th minute, freeing up Steven McGarry, who found Ryo Nagai - but the Japanese winger could not capitalise.
Perth got a deserved equaliser in the 29th minute with Sciola the supplier. He broke down the left flank, cut past Sigmund in the box and slid a square pass to Nagai, who drilled the ball past Phoenix goalkeeper Glen Moss.
Wellington midfielder Vince Lia was narrowly off target with a flying header after a Hernandez cross.