Some premature pundits are ready to hand the Hyundai A-League title to Melbourne City but during pre-season many expected Perth Glory to be contenders. A week is a long time in football.
Friday, 21 October 2016
Melbourne City FC v Perth Glory
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 7:50PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))
Referee: Alan Milliner
Assistant Referee 1: Luke Brennan
Assistant Referee 2: Stephen Toth
Fourth Official: Shaun Evans
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), SBS TWO from 7.30pm AEDT and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 774 ABC Melbourne & ABC Local Radio Vic, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio), 1116 SEN (Melbourne), EON Sports Radio (eonsportsradio.com)
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MCYvPER
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Connor CHAPMAN, 6.Osama MALIK, 8.Neil KILKENNY, 9.Nicolas COLAZO, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 12.Nick FITZGERALD, 17.Tim CAHILL, 18.Paulo RETRE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 21.Ruon TONGYIK, 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 26.Luke BRATTAN, 27.Fernando BRANDAN
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk) (returns from suspension), 18.Paulo RETRE, 21.Ruon TONGYIK (promoted)
Outs: 40.Yaren SOZER (gk) (omitted)
Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (ACL – season), 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (international duty)
Perth Glory squad: 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Marc WARREN, 5.Rhys WILLIAMS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 13.Nicholas FEELY (gk), 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Joe MILLS, 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Mitch OXBORROW, 19.Josh RISDON, 21.Jamal REINERS, 24.Milan SMILJANIC, 33.Liam REDDY (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 18.Mitch OXBORROW (promoted), 21.Jamal REINERS (promoted)
Unavailable: 4.Shane LOWRY (hip – 1 week), 22.Adam TAGGART (calf – 1 week)
Melbourne City could be without one of their marquee forwards for their first home game of the season, with Nicolas Colazo struggling with an ear complaint following a blow to the head in last week's derby rout of Melbourne Victory.
Colazo hasn't trained on Wednesday or Thursday, which puts him in doubt for Friday night's clash against Perth Glory at AAMI Park, but City will have veteran goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen available again after he missed the Melbourne derby through suspension.
City will host Perth having made a big statement last week, crushing Victory 4-1 at Etihad Stadium in a performance that included one of the A-League's greatest goals from Tim Cahill.
But although Cahill's 40-yard half-volley grabbed the headlines, City's overall performance was arguably the true story of the match as the Socceroos forward combined with the likes of Colazo, Bruno Fornaroli, Luke Brattan and Bruce Kamau to rip Victory apart.
City will be looking for another strong performance against Glory to prove last week wasn't a one-off, while the club will also hope the hype surrounding Cahill and Co. can inspire plenty of people through the gates at AAMI Park.
Perth head to Melbourne having registered their first win of the season last week when they overcame Wellington Phoenix 2-0.
Glory coach Kenny Lowe will be without Adam Taggart (calf) again, while Shane Lowry (hip) is also injured but the visitors will be confident Andy Keogh, Diego Castro and Nebojsa Marinkovic can test City's defence.
Lowe insisted he's "looking forward" to seeing his team come up against City.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Victory struggled to deal with City's movement in Round 2, with Colazo, Fernando Brandan, Neil Kilkenny and Cahill all changing positions when John van 't Schip's side transitioned from defence to attack.
If Colazo misses out, Anthony Caceres and Nick Fitzgerald are the most likely options to replace him, although neither crosses the ball like the Argentine.
The key to the match could be how well Perth can clog up the midfield, with Glory captain and defensive midfielder Rostyn Griffiths set to be a critical figure for Lowe's men.
At the other end, Glory will need to stretch City's defence with Chris Harold's pace likely to be a weapon for the Western Australia-based club, while Keogh will be desperate to get off the mark in 2016-17 after missing a penalty against Wellington.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Tim Cahill. That man again. Cahill's maiden Hyundai A-League goal will live long in the memory and you wouldn't be surprised if - in the future - many more than the 43,188 at Etihad Stadium last Saturday claim they were there.
Melbourne City 2-1 Perth Glory