Hyundai A-League preview: Victory v Roar

​Tantalizingly, Brisbane Roar is just 90 minutes away from the Premiers’ Plate... if they can beat Victory in Melbourne. But the reigning Hyundai A-League Premiers have pride and class and could easily play party-pooper on what will be a night of drama.

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Saturday, 9 April 2016

Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar FC

AAMI Park, Melbourne

Kick-Off: 7:30 PM (Local) (7:30 PM AEST)

Referee: Peter Green

Assistant Referee 1: Paul Cetrangolo

Assistant Referee 2: Ashley Beecham

Fourth Official: Lucien Laverdure

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7:00pm (AEST) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live

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

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

Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2.Jason GERIA, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Gui FINKLER, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.Connor PAIN, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO, 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 23.Jai INGHAM, 24.Thomas DENG

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 11.Connor PAIN (promoted), 15.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO (promoted), 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS (promoted), 23.Jai INGHAM (promoted), 24.Thomas DENG (promoted)

Jai Ingham celebrates setting up Fahid Ben Khalfallah for Melbourne Victory's second goal on Sunday.

Outs: 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI (omitted), 8.Besart BERISHA (suspended), 16.Rashid MAHAZI (omitted)

Unavailable: 4.Nick ANSELL (quad)

Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Shane STEFANUTTO, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.CORONA, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.HENRIQUE, 13.Jade NORTH, 14.Daniel BOWLES, 15.James DONACHIE, 17.Matt McKAY (c), 18.Javier HERVAS, 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 24.Tommy OAR, 28.Brandon BORRELLO

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 3.Shane STEFANUTTO (promoted), 18.Javier HERVAS (promoted)

Roar's Javier Hervas takes a slip against Melbourne Victory.

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

#MVCvBRI

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

Can Brisbane  finish the job and secure the Premiers’ Plate? 

As league leaders, Roar is the only side heading into Round 27 to have their destiny in their own hands.

It’s been a dream debut season in charge for coach John Aloisi and you can bet he’d love nothing more than to claim the Premiership at the home of last season’s champions.

Jamie Maclaren celebrates a goal with his Roar teammates.

If the last meeting between these two is anything to go by, Roar will have little problem swatting the hosts aside to clinch the silverware. 

Brisbane crushed Victory 5-0 at Suncorp last month in a dominant display. But this one will be a whole lot tighter.

Kevin Muscat’s side was ultra-impressive in seeing off Wellington last weekend and you get the feeling the mood has lifted with skipper Carl Valeri back on board.

Much will depend on how the hosts recover from their mid-week ACL trip to Korea, while the absence of talisman Besart Berisha through suspension is a big blow.

Victory is unable to move from sixth spot leaving many to believe Muscat may rest a host of his stars to have them in peak shape for the opening week of the Finals Series.

And Muscat has promoted the likes of Pain, Makarounas and Deng omitting Georgievski and Mahazi. But regardless of who plays for Victory, they’ll take it to Brisbane. 

Thomas Deng

OPTA DATA

*Only once in their last nine Hyundai A-League matches have Melbourne Victory conceded more than two goals, that instance was the 5-0 loss to Brisbane in Round 23.

*Brisbane Roar has won four of their last five matches in the Hyundai A-League, though all four of those wins have been on home soil.

*Victory’s Fahid Ben Khalfallah is two crosses shy of becoming the third player this Hyundai A-League season to make 100 crosses from open play behind Mitchell Austin (115) and Craig Goodwin (103).

*Roar attacker Henrique has scored eight goals from just 17 shots giving him the best shot conversion rate (47%) of any player in the Hyundai A-League who has attempted at least 10 shots.

ROUTE TO GOAL

Muscat will have to find someone new to lead the line with Berisha banned for the next two games (Victory are appealing). 

It’s a massive hole to fill. No one else in the Victory side has the same scoring ability, will-to-win. 

Just how much his absence affects Victory’s attacking style and penetration remains to be seen. In a positive, Fahid Ben Khalfallah is showing signs of finding his best form at the right time of the season.

Scott Neville and Romeo Castelen challenge Fahid Ben Khalfallah for the ball in Round 10.

The Tunisian played arguably his best game against Phoenix last Sunday. On his day, Ben Khalfallah is one of the most dangerous players in the competition. 

Not much has changed with the Roar all season. Aloisi has depended a lot on the speed and goals of Maclaren to hurt teams in behind on transition.

It caused Victory all sorts of problems at Suncorp last month and you can bet Roar will look to do the same.

Brisbane are also getting plenty of thrust out of midfield, especially through Petratos, who is enjoying his most consistent season and chipping in with vital goals as well.

Like Ben Khalfallah, Broich is also firing at the right time. The German playmaker lives for this time of the year which is a huge plus for Roar over the next few weeks.

Roar star Thomas Broich fights for the ball with Victory midfielder Leigh Broxham.

With so much attacking talent on display, there should be plenty of entertainment and goals on what will be a sensational Saturday in Melbourne.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

George Howard. With Victory’s star striker Berisha out for the next two weeks, the youngster is the one most likely to fill the Albanian’s huge scoring boots. Howard scored his first A-League goal last weekend against Wellington. Can he do it again to possibly deny Roar the Premiership?

FORM LINES

Victory: WLDWW

Roar: WWLWW

PREDICTION

Melbourne Victory 0-2 Brisbane Roar