Hyundai A-League preview: Jets v Victory

There was late drama for both these sides last weekend. Will we witness more last-gasp excitement when the reigning Hyundai A-League champions bring their sizzling football to Hunter Stadium on Friday night?

MATCH DETAILS

Friday, 23 October 2015

Hunter Stadium, Newcastle

Kick-Off:  7:40 PM (Local) (7:40 PM (AEDT))

TV Broadcast : Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), SBS TWO from 7:30pm AEDT and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)

NEWvMVC

Radio Broadcast:  1233 ABC Newcastle, 774 ABC Melbourne, ABC Local Radio Victoria, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. Crocmedia A-League Live ( www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio ).

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag  #NEWvMVC

To purchase tickets visit:  www.aleague.com.au/tickets

Newcastle Jets

Newcastle Jets:  2.Daniel MULLEN, 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (C), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Cameron WATSON, 7.Enver ALIVODIC, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 9.Milos TRIFUNOVIC, 10.LEONARDO, 14.Mitch COOPER, 15.Themba MUATA-MARLOW, 17.Radovan PAVICEVIC, 20.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.David CARNEY, 24.Nicholas COWBURN, 25.Brandon LUNDY, 40.Blake TUXFORD (gk)

**two to be omitted**

Ins:  4.Nigel BOOGAARD (returns from suspension), 15.Themba MUATA-MARLOW (promoted), 17.Radovan PAVICEVIC (promoted), 22.Lachlan JACKSON (promoted), 40.Blake TUXFORD (Gk) (promoted - FNYL)

Outs:  1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (face – 1-2 weeks), 11.Labinot HALITI (knee – indefinite), 29.Andrew PAWIAK (omitted)

Unavailable:  Nil

Melbourne Victory squad:  1. Danny VUKOVIC, (GK), 2. Jason GERIA, 3. Scott GALLOWAY, 5. Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 7. Gui FINKLER, 8. Besart BERISHA, 9. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 11. Connor PAIN, 13. Oliver BOZANIC, 14. Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 16. Rashid MAHAZI, 17. Matthieu DELPIERRE, 18. Dylan MURNANE, 20. Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21. Carl VALERI (C), 22. Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 24. Thomas DENG

**Two to be omitted**

Ins:  2. Jason GERIA (promoted), 3. Scott GALLOWAY (promoted), 6. Leigh BROXHAM (return from suspension)

Outs:  15.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO (omitted)

Unavailable:  4. Nick ANSELL (injury), 10. Archie THOMPSON (injury)

Referee:  Strebre Delovski

Assistant Referee 1:  Ryan Gallagher

Assistant Referee 2:  Scott Edeling

Fourth Official:  Stephen Lucas

Melbourne Victory - lead

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

These two sides were at opposite ends of the Hyundai A-League spectrum last season. The Jets “won” the spoon, while Victory won the Championship.

On the evidence of the first two rounds at least, they look a little more evenly matched in Season 11.

The rebuilding Jets are everything rookie coach Scott Miller would have wanted so far. Well-organised, hard to beat and playing with pride. The challenge for the Jets will be evolving that game to make them more of a threat in attack, because just defending is unlikely to be enough against Victory, who possess the most potent front-four in the competition.

Kevin Muscat’s side certainly haven’t hit their straps yet but are coming to the boil nicely.

The Jets almost passed a stern test against Sydney FC last week but this will be an even greater challenge.

Hunter Stadium should again be rocking for what should be a cracking contest to open Round 3 on Friday night.

OPTA DATA

  • Newcastle are unbeaten in their last seven home matches against Melbourne Victory in the A-League (W3 D4), their longest run against them in the league, with last three at Hunter Stadium have ended in a score draw.
  • Melbourne Victory has scored in 13 of their last 14 A-League matches against the Jets, although they failed to score in their last encounter.
  • For the second time in 2015, Newcastle Jets failed to have a shot on target in a match in their last A-League match against Melbourne City.
  • Victory is unbeaten in their last nine away Hyundai A-League regular season games. If they avoid defeat, it’ll be their longest away unbeaten streak.

ROUTE TO GOAL

As we’ve already touched on, the Jets reasonable start to the season has centred on a solid base from the back. They are content to absorb pressure and try and hit on the counter attack with the speed of Enver Alivodic, the skill of Leonardo and the experience of David Carney.

The loss of Labinot Haliti to an ACL injury for the rest of the season is a hammer blow for the home side, though.

Not a great deal needs to be said about Victory’s attack. Their three big guns – Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Kosta Barbarouses and Besart Berisha - all got on the scoresheet in the derby last weekend. You can add Gui Finkler to that list as well and the Jets will be smart not to give away too many fouls around the box, with the Brazilian’s set-piece ability so finely honed.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

The injury to Mark Birighitti means Ben Kennedy will start between the sticks for the Jets. And what a game for BK to come in for with the free-scoring champions in town! A good servant to the club over the years, he’ll need to be at his best to stop the new Killer Bs of the A-League – Berisha, Barbarouses and Ben Khalfallah.

After 30 stitches Birighitti surprises Jets teammates

Mark Birighitti leaves Hunter Stadium on Saturday.

FORM LINES

The Jets are now 1-1 for the season after conceding late against Sydney FC. It was a bitter pill to swallow considering they had what looked like a legitimate goal ruled out for offside in the first half. They certainly wouldn’t have lost any admirers on that gritty performance though.

Victory was involved in another pulsating Melbourne Derby; Berisha’s late goal handing them a 3-2 win to jump up to second spot. Interestingly, Victory hasn’t won away at Newcastle since October 2009 in a 3-1 win. A good omen for the Jets?

PREDICTION 

Newcastle Jets 1-3 Melbourne Victory