Hyundai A-League preview: Victory v City
From one derby to another, the Hyundai A-League's focus switches to Melbourne Victory versus Melbourne City on Saturday night, with both clubs expecting to challenge for silverware this season.
Saturday, 15 October 2016
Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City FC
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 7:50PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: Anton Shchetinin
Assistant Referee 2: Luke Brennan
Fourth Official: Jonathan Barreiro
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (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), 3AW (Melbourne).
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MelbDerby
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Melbourne Victory squad: 2.Jason GERIA, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Marco ROJAS, 8.Besart BERISHA, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Alan BARO, 17.James DONACHIE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Stefan NIGRO, 23.Jai INGHAM, 25.Sebastian PASQUALI, 27.Alastair BRAY (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 4.Nick ANSELL (returns from injury), 7.Marco ROJAS (returns from national team duty), 22.Stefan NIGRO (promoted), 25.Sebastian PASQUALI (promoted)
Outs: 10.James TROISI (collarbone – 3-4 weeks), 19.George HOWARD (omitted)
Melbourne City FC squad: 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, Yaren SOZER (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 17.Tim CAHILL (returns from international duty), 21.Ruon TONGYIK (promoted), Yaren SOZER (gk) (promoted)
Outs: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk) (suspended – 1 match)
Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (ACL – season), 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (international duty)
After a Hyundai A-League record crowd of 61,880 turned up to last week's Sydney derby, the gauntlet has been thrown down for Victoria's capital.
The Melbourne derby will be unable to break that record this week - Etihad Stadium's capacity is 56,347 - but a new best attendance for a Victory-City fixture would do just nicely.
The biggest crowd for a Melbourne derby came in the 2014-15 A-League finals when 50,873 saw Victory cruise past City 3-0 on their way to the championship.
City should fancy themselves of ending a run of six games without a win at Etihad Stadium - stretching back to the Melbourne Heart era - that has seen them lose five times.
John van 't Schip's side started the new campaign with a 1-0 win at Wellington Phoenix and will welcome Socceroos forward Tim Cahill into their squad this week for his A-League debut.
Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen will miss the derby due to his red card against Phoenix but Dean Bouzanis impressed as his replacement, while Nicolas Colazo was lively in his maiden start as he created five chances from the left wing.
Victory will be without James Troisi (broken collarbone) but will be able to call upon fellow recruit Marco Rojas, who missed last week's 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar due to international duty with New Zealand.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Troisi is a big loss for Victory, with the 28-year-old out for a month following surgery this week.
But with Rojas having scored for the All Whites during their United States tour and Mitch Austin opening his Victory account against Brisbane, Kevin Muscat will still have plenty of options up front.
Against Roar, Victory's ball movement wasn't as sharp as it could be but if they can improve in that area and feed derby specialist Besart Berisha often enough, the three points could be going their way.
City will get the chance to start all three of their marquees - Cahill, Colazo and Bruno Fornaroli - together for the first time on Saturday night, which will be a nightmare scenario for Victory's back four.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Tim Cahill. Where Australia's all-time leading scorer goes, cameras usually follow and with the derby set to give an early indication of Cahill's impact on the A-League, the focus has ramped up even more than usual.
Victory remained unbeaten throughout the A-League pre-season but looked quite rusty against Roar, although if they had just held on for one more minute, they would have won 1-0 at Suncorp Stadium.
Muscat was pleased with how few chances Brisbane created, with Victory facing the fewest shots (6) of any team in the opening round.
City were more inconsistent in the lead-up to the 2016-17 campaign but showed great resilience on the road to overcome Wellington with 10 men last week.
If that clean sheet in New Zealand is a sign of things to come, Van 't Schip's side will be serious contenders for a trophy this season.
Melbourne Victory 1-1 Melbourne City