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Phoenix confidence not shaken

25 March 2012 13:41

Wellington captain Andrew Durante said successive losses in the final two games of the A-League regular season have not dented their confidence.

The Phoenix were beaten 2-1 by Central Coast Mariners in Wellington on Sunday, a result that saw the visitors crowned minor premiers and Ricki Herbert's side finish fourth.

That loss followed a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to the Victory in Melbourne last week - not the ideal preparation for a side heading into an elimination final against Sydney at Westpac Stadium on Friday night.

But Durante is not unduly concerned.

"The finals series is a completely different kettle of fish," he said.

"You go in there and, as they say, throw the form guide out the window.

"It's a big one Friday. Hopefully we're going to have a bumper crowd. We'll be up for it."

Despite Sunday's defeat, Durante believed there were plenty of positives to take from the game.

They trailed 2-0 after John Sutton and Bernie Ibini scored either side of half-time, before a long-range free-kick from Leo Bertos gave them hope of a draw.

The Phoenix had their chances but did not convert them – something that has been an issue for several weeks now.

"Obviously the result wasn't what we wanted but the first half we kept the ball quite well. We created a lot of chances and we should have gone up a goal," Durante said.

"In the second half towards the end I thought we really took it to them. We had them on the back foot and probably could have pinched a goal.

"Although we lost we've got our heads up high and we're looking forward to Friday."

On the plus side Wellington will face a side they have not lost to this season.

The enjoyed a comfortable 2-1 home win in November before beating Sydney 4-2 at Westpac Stadium.

And they staged a smash and grab raid at the Sydney Football Stadium last month to sneak a 1-0 win.

"I don't think they will fancy coming over here to play us. We are going to have the upper hand I think," Durante said.

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Tuesday 28 March

Monday 27 March

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Sunday 26 March

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A-League table

# Team MP D P
5 24 -3 32
6 24 -3 31
7 24 -7 26
8 24 -18 22
9 24 -20 21

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