Five must-see clashes in thrilling conclusion to Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Regular Season

The draw for the remainder of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 regular season has arrived and there’s some enthralling matches to whet the appetite.

A total of 27 matches will be played in 28 days from July 16 to August 12, with almost every game having some sort of impact on the battle for the Premiership and Top Six.

It’s going to be an action-packed, adrenaline-fuelled month of football and we’ve picked out five show-stoppers that are sure to have some added spice.

Back with a bang

Melbourne Victory v Western United FC
When:
Thursday, July 16
Where: Venue TBC
Kick-off: 7.30pm (AEST)

An agonising 125 days since the last Hyundai A-League match was played, the competition returns with a bumper clash between the two Victorian rivals.

It will be a special occasion for interim Victory boss Grant Brebner, who will take charge of the Navy Blues for the first time since taking over from Carlos Salvachua for the remainder of the campaign.

Brebner, a two-time Championship winner as a player with Victory, will demand his side plays same with the same bullish attitude and never-say-die spirit which epitomised his career.

And Victory will need all that and more to overcome a United side – currently in sixth spot – that is desperate for three points as they chase a finals berth in their maiden season in the competition.

Grant Brebner
Interim Victory head coach Grant Brebner takes charge of his first match against Western United

New beginnings for Roar and Reds

Brisbane Roar v Adelaide United
When:
Sunday, July 19
Where: CBUS Stadium
Kick-off: 7.30pm (AEST)

Both the Roar and Reds will have new men at the helm when they meet in a clash that could have a significant impact on where each club finishes this season.

Roar – one of the form sides of the competition before the season was put on hold -  are yet to appoint a new boss following the departure of Robbie Fowler earlier this month.

Whoever the new boss is he’ll be excited to work with a squad that is in fourth spot and appears to be peaking at just the right time.

With Gertjan Verbeek heading back to Europe, Adelaide legend Carl Veart is in the Reds’ hot-seat for the remainder of the campaign.

Having lost four games on the bounce prior to the competition hiatus, Veart will need to work his magic quickly if the Reds are to break back into the top six.

Scott McDonald is having a big impact at Roar after his mid-season move to the club

Fireworks guaranteed between two teams in Sky Blue

Melbourne City v Sydney FC
When:
Saturday, August 1
Where: Venue TBC
Kick-off: 5pm (AEST)

Potential Grand Final preview? The current league table suggests it’s possible with both clubs assured of finals football.

But don’t expect either side to take their foot off the gas in this one, especially with the chance to land a psychological blow on the other before the Finals Series.

Steve Corica’s defending champions Sydney FC have been ultra-impressive for much of 2019/20 and recorded one of their best wins in the previous meeting with City this season.

Despite losing Rhyan Grant to a red card in the first half, the Sky Blues came from a goal down to beat City 2-1 in one of the games of the season.

If this clash is half as dramatic as that one back in December, it will be a ripper!

Connor Metcalfe

Top four spot on the line?

Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar
When:
Wednesday, August 5
Where: Bankwest Stadium 
Kick-off: 6pm (AEST)

History shows that to be a good chance to be there on Grand Final day, finishing in the Top Four is mightily important.

And Phoenix’s battle with the Roar in early August could well decide which one of these in-form sides gets one of those coveted positions.

Both teams are high on attacking flair with the likes of Ulises Davila and David Ball starring for Wellington, while Scott McDonald and Brad Inman proving plenty of ammunition for Roar.

Each side has won once in the two previous meetings this season and whatever happens in this clash, it’s sure to be tight.

Brisbane Roar; Wellington Phoenix

Battle of the west likely to be pivotal

Western United FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
When:
Friday, August 7
Where: venue TBC
Kick-off: 7.30pm (AEST)

The finals will come early for Western United and the Wanderers in this one, which is likely to determine just which of these clubs makes the Top Six.

Just one point separates the two clubs as the competition resumes, with United in sixth spot and the Wanderers just behind in eighth.

And if both clubs are in similar positions come early August, then this could be a straight-out battle to play finals football in 2019/20.

Aaron Calver