Wellington Phoenix and Western United will renew their rivalry in the A-League Men elimination final at AAMI Park in Melbourne next Saturday.
Western have been confirmed as the Phoenix’s first-round playoff opponent after falling to Adelaide United 2-1 on Sunday and finishing third.
Adelaide clinched fourth place with a win over Western and can no longer be caught by the Phoenix, who have one game left, or the Central Coast Mariners, who are only three points ahead but have a vastly superior goal difference of 28.
City, on the other hand, still has everything to play for if they want to reclaim first place and the Premier League title after Melbourne Victory moved two points clear with a 4-1 win over Sydney FC on Saturday.
Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay said ahead of Monday’s game, before their playoff opponent was announced, that he did not have a preference for who he would rather play in the elimination final.
But he should be overjoyed to have drawn Western because the Phoenix have had wood on them for the majority of their existence.
It also meant they avoided Adelaide and the Mariners, both of whom had won their previous five games.
This season, they have already defeated Western three times.
The Phoenix defeated them 1-0 in the Australia Cup round of 32 on December 7, 2-1 in the league on January 21, and 4-1 on April 9 thanks to a double from Jaushua Sotirio.
The Phoenix received a significant boost on Sunday ahead of the elimination final when Talay confirmed that key midfielder Clayton Lewis had recovered from an ankle injury and would start against City.