Defending Hyundai A-League Champions Melbourne Victory commence the defence of their crown with a derby clash against Melbourne City on Saturday, kick-off 7.50pm (AEDT).
Kevin Muscat’s side enters the clash as favourites having won four of the last five fixtures against their fierce rivals.
And Victory will be buoyed further by the potential Hyundai A-League debuts of Keisuke Honda and Ola Toivonen.
But Warren Joyce’s Melbourne City might sense a grand opportunity to spoil the fanfare and cement their own title ambitions.
KEY OPTA STATS
- Melbourne Victory will be on the hunt for their 100th victory on home soil, becoming the first team in Hyundai A-League history to do so.
- Melbourne City won five penalties when playing away from home last season, more than any other team in the competition; however, they managed to convert just three of those penalties into goals.
- Kosta Barbarouses has been directly involved in two of Melbourne Victory’s last three open play goals against City (1 goal, 1 assist), and has scored seven goals against them in total across his Hyundai A-League career, his joint-most against any team.
THEY SAID IT
“It will be a very difficult game, a sensitive game, even the experienced players cannot play comfortably. It's important to prepare mentally. I've been preparing for two or three months...and finally we can play against Melbourne City on Saturday. I'm so excited." - Victory marquee Keisuke Honda
“We’re excited for the season to start, not just because it’s a derby, but because it’s been a long pre-season. The boys have been jumping to the bits really just to get the season started.” - City defender Ritchie De Laet
INS AND OUTS
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Matthew ACTON (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Corey BROWN, 4.Keisuke HONDA, 5.Georg NIEDERMEIER, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Kenjok ATHIU, 8.Terry ANTONIS, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.James TROISI, 11.Ola TOIVONEN, 14.Thomas DENG, 15.Raul BAENA, 16.Joshua HOPE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Nicholas ANSELL, 23.Jai INGHAM ** two to be omitted **
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 2.Ritchie De LAET, 3.Scott JAMIESON (c) , 4.Harrison DELBRIDGE, 5.Bart SCHENKEVELD, 7.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 8.Riley MCGREE, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 17.Anthony CACERES, 18.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 19.Lachlan WALES, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 25.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 26.Luke BRATTAN, 27.Florin BERENGUER-BOHRER, 39.Anthony LESIOTIS, 43.Lucas PORTELLI ** two to be omitted **
Unavailable: 6.Osama MALIK (calf), 11.Michael O’HALLORAN (hamstring), 13.Nathaniel ATKINSON (international duty), 36.Dylan PIERIAS (international duty), 42.James DELIANOV (international duty), 21.Ramy NAJJARINE (international duty), 38.Joshua CAVALLO (international duty), 30.Moudi NAJJAR (international duty), 34.Connor METCALFE (international duty), 22.Curtis GOOD (fitness)
HOW TO WATCH
Tune in to FOX SPORTS 505 or Network Ten to catch the first Melbourne derby of the season, with kick off at 7.50pm (AEDT), or stream the match live on the MyFootball Live App.
You can secure your tickets to the first Melbourne derby of the season here.