Hyundai A-League preview: Victory v Mariners

Fresh from their F3 Derby heroics in the Hunter, the Mariners head south to take on the rampaging A-League champions in Victory, who have seemingly rediscovered their mojo.   MATCH DETAILS

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners

AAMI Park, Melbourne

Kick-Off: 8:00 PM (Local) (8:00 PM (AEDT))

Referee: Ben Williams

Assistant Referee 1: George Lakrindis

Assistant Referee 2: Wilson Brown

Fourth Official: Lucien Laverdure

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)

#MVCvCCM

Radio Broadcast: 774 ABC Melbourne, 92.5 ABC Central Coast, ABC Local Radio Vic, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. SEN 1116 AM (Melbourne)

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

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

Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM (c), 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 11.Connor PAIN, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE, 18.Dylan MURNANE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 22 Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 24.Thomas DENG

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 3.Scott GALLOWAY (returns from international duty), 11.Connor PAIN (returns from international duty), 15.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO (returns from international duty)

Victory's Connor Pain celebrates scoring against the Mariners.

Outs: 32.Stefan NIGRO (omitted)

Unavailable: 2.Jason GERIA (injured), 4.Nick ANSELL (injured), 10.Archie THOMPSON (injured), 21.Carl VALERI (injured)

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Paul IZZO (GK), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Mitch AUSTIN, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Nick FITZGERALD, 14.Daniel HEFFERNAN, 15.Matthew SIM, 16.Liam ROSE, 19.Josh BINGHAM, 20.Anthony KALIK, 21.Michael NEILL, 24.Jake ADELSON, 30.Adam PEARCE (GK)

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 5.Harry ASCROFT (returns from injury), 21.Michael NEILL (promoted), 24.Jake ADELSON (promoted)

Chris Harold fights for the ball with Mariners defender Michael Neill in the opening round.

Outs: 22.Jake McGING (suspension 1 week)

Unavailable: 7.Fabio FERREIRA (hamstring – 2 weeks), 18.Glen TRIFIRO (back – 5 weeks)

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

Central Coast's focus on entertaining football has won admirers this season, with all six games involving Tony Walmsley's charges having seen both teams score.

But the Mariners' tactics could also be dubbed 'all power, no responsibility' with the club's reputation for solid defence seemingly thrown out the window - leaving them with just one win this term.

The Mariners celebrate scoring at Central Coast Stadium.

Last week's 1-1 draw with 10 men was arguably the Mariners' best display this season but they will have to find at least another gear when they meet the reigning champions.

Victory outgunned former leaders Sydney FC 4-2 in a scintillating Big Blue last week and a two-goal win at AAMI Park would see them overhaul Brisbane Roar at the top of the table.

The Big V underlined their reputation as the A-League's most dangerous side against Sydney with Besart Berisha, Gui Finkler and Kosta Barbarouses all getting on the scoresheet.

It is hard to see Central Coast's back four dealing with the weapons at Victory's disposal.

OPTA DATA

  • Victory have won their last five consecutive matches against Central Coast in the A-League scoring exactly three goals on four of those occasions.
  • Mariners haven't beaten Victory away from home since November 2009.
  • Central Coast's Anthony Caceres has had 12 shots (incl. blocks) so far this season without a goal. No player has had more shots without scoring.Besart Berisha has scored 13 goals in his last 14 games (incl. finals and FFA Cup).

ROUTE TO GOAL

With Scott Galloway and Giancarlo Gallifuoco returning to Kevin Muscat's squad, Victory's defence should be tougher to break down than they were during the first half of the Big Blue.

That does not bode well for Central Coast, regardless of Walmsley's attacking philosophy.

The Mariners still await the return of Fabio Ferreira (hamstring), meaning Roy O'Donovan (3 goals) will be the visitors' main goal-scoring threat.

Victory have also brought back Connor Pain following Olyroos duty - yet another option up front for Muscat - but Berisha (5 goals) remains the Big V's leading man in the final third.

Besart Berisha celebrates after scoring Victory's opener in their 4-2 win.

Berisha was lethal against Sydney and the former Brisbane Roar striker should relish the space he is likely to find against Central Coast.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

The Mariners' phones. The Gosford-based club have launched an inquiry due to reported leaks of tactical details to opposition teams. The phone records of players and staff have been requested.

FORM LINES

Victory: DWLWW
Mariners: WLLDD

PREDICTION

Melbourne Victory 3-1 Central Coast Mariners