A coach-less Wellington Phoenix have been bounced out of the FFA Cup on debut, falling 1-0 to Adelaide United in South Australia overnight.
There was drama before kickoff and drama in extra time, as Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick was banned from the technical area pre-game before Adelaide goalkeeper Paul Izzo withstood a frantic late push from the visitors.
Sergio Cirio scored the first-half winner, with a great touch from an Awer Mabil cross taking him one-on-one with Glen Moss as Adelaide's Spanish star made no mistake.
The Phoenix hit the post in an extra time goalmouth scramble before Izzo made a point blank save to deny Roy Krishna in the round of 32 clash.
The loss burst the bubble of the Phoenix, who late last month had shocked English Premier League club West Ham United in a 2-1 win.
Phoenix midfielder Alex Rodriguez (groin) was a late scratching, as was Merrick who was denied access to the technical area for what a club spokesman said was a ''paperwork'' issue.
Assistant coach Chris Greenacre instead signed his name on the team sheet.
A crowd of 2804 watched on at Marden Sports Complex, with many reports from the ground suggesting the Phoenix had the better of much of the play.
In other games, Ireland striker Andy Keogh bagged a brace in Perth Glory's 2-0 win over the Newcastle Jets, while St Albans Saints defeated Parramatta FC 1-0.
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