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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