Extra spice for big rivalry

As if there isn't usually enough spice when Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United play, this time around on Friday night at AAMI Park there are two extra ingredients in the form of Jim Magilton and John Kosmina.

As if there isn't usually enough spice when Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United play, this time around on Friday night at AAMI Park there are two extra ingredients in the form of Jim Magilton and John Kosmina.

The latest clash of arguably the Hyundai A-League's biggest rivalry also serves as Magilton's first game in charge of the hosts just six days after he was unveiled as Mehmet Durakovic's replacement for the rest of the season, while Kosmina recently returned for his second spell as coach of the Reds.

Northern Irishman Magilton, who was interviewed for the top job before Durakovic was appointed midway through last year, comes to the club having previously been in charge of Ipswich Town and Queens Park Rangers.

Assistant Kevin Muscat, a key player along with Kosmina in one of the more infamous incidents in the short history of the competition, guided the club to a 2-1 win last weekend against Newcastle Jets to stop the rot following successive defeats.

But while that win lifted the club from eighth back up to sixth, Magilton will be under no illusions that he must build on that performance if he is to keep the job beyond the current campaign.

Kosmina meanwhile, who of course needs little introduction having had plenty of exposure to Australian football fans both as a player and as a coach, will be looking to continue the momentum his team has generated with eight of a possible 12 points since he replaced Rini Coolen.

United may have only moved up one place since Kosmina took charge but they have taken great strides with 2-2 and 1-1 draws against Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar respectively as well as the ending Melbourne Heart's winning streak 3-1 on the road and also downing Wellington Phoenix.

And on top of those results they are also only adrift of the top six on goal difference thanks in large part to their demoralising 7-1 loss to last season's premiers and champions the Roar, meaning a win this week could lift them to as high as fifth.

These teams have met twice already this campaign, with Adelaide United taking the points at home through Sergio van Dijk in mid-October before Fabian Barbiero snatched a point on the road for the Reds in the closing stages in mid-December after Archie Thompson had given Victory the lead.

Overall, these teams have now met 26 times with Victory claiming the spoils on 14 occasions, including in 6-0 and 1-0 grand final victories in 2006/07 and 2008/09 respectively, while Adelaide have eight wins - three of them in the past four meetings - and there have been just four draws.

Apart from the two championship deciders, the other memorable encounter between the teams came earlier in 2006/07 when Muscat crashed into Kosmina chasing a ball that Kosmina was trying to pick up after it had crossed the sideline.

Kosmina responded by grabbing a grinning Muscat around the throat, earning him banishment to the stands on a night when his team prevailed but it would be Victory who had the last laugh when Thompson bagged five of the six goals in the grand final a few months later.

There won't be any repeat of that stoush on Friday, with Muscat and Kosmina now both pulling strings from the sidelines and actually good mates away from the park but both teams will be desperate for the three points.