Sanchez's return ends in defeat for A team

Last updated 05:00 08/11/2012
KEY PLAYER: Dani Sanchez is set to make his long-awaited return from injury for the Wellington Phoenix.

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Spaniard Dani Sanchez made his return from knee surgery but the attacking midfielder couldn't prevent Wellington Phoenix A from losing 3-1 against Auckland City last night.

Sanchez scored five goals in 25 A-League games for the Phoenix last season but has not been sighted this season as he recovers from knee surgery.

The 27-year-old was introduced in the 62nd minute at Kiwitea Street, with Phoenix A already 3-1 down.

His return is likely to mark the end of Ricardo Clarke's stay in Wellington. The Panamanian was signed on loan as an injury replacement for Sanchez, but has not been a part of Ricki Herbert's recent A-League plans.

German midfielder and Phoenix academy member Tobias Bertsch had given the visitors the lead in the second minute before Auckland returned serve twice in a frantic start.

Dan Saric and Emiliano Tade scored in the fourth and fifth minutes respectively before Tade lobbed goalkeeper Scott Basalaj just before halftime for 3-1.

The Phoenix A side is coached by Herbert's assistants Chris Greenacre and Jonathan Gould and is a combination of senior players out of first-team reckoning and members of the academy.

The side will play each national league club midweek through to February.

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