Match preview: Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory
What a perfect Sunday afternoon is in store as the Hyundai A-League’s top two sides meet at AAMI Park in a pivotal match-up in deciding the destination of the Premiers’ Plate.
Perth Glory – currently four points clear of Victory – head to Melbourne unbeaten in their last eight Hyundai A-League matches.
Tony Popovic’s men made light work of in-form Wellington Phoenix last weekend, cruising to a 3-0 win at HBF Park.
While the side from the west has won just two of nine games against Victory at AAMI, one of those was earlier this season, a last-gasp 3-2 triumph back in Round 2.
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If this clash is half as exciting as that one back in October, it should be an absolute beauty.
Victory showed their title credentials as they fought back from 2-0 down at the break against Central Coast Mariners last weekend to win 3-2.
Kevin Muscat will be hoping his side bring their second-half display into this match and not what they dished up in the first 45 minutes.
It’s the attacking stars in both line-ups that makes this match so enticing.
Victory have the likes of Ola Toivonen, Kosta Barbarouses, Keisuke Honda (possibly), Elvis Kamsoba and James Troisi, who leads the league with seven assists this season.
But Glory can boast Caltex Socceroos star Chris Ikonomidis, Diego Castro, Joel Chianese, Brendon Santalab, Fabio Ferreira and Andy Keogh, who became the first Perth player to reach 50 Hyundai A-League goals last weekend.
Whatever unfolds, expect late drama in this one with Glory (12 goals) and Victory (10), the scorers of the most goals in the last 15 minutes of matches this season.
Key Opta stats
- Perth Glory have won their last two Hyundai A-League games against Melbourne Victory and will be aiming for a third successive win against them for the first time since August 2009.
- Victory have lost just one of their last 13 Hyundai A-League games at AAMI Park (W9, D3), but have kept their opponents goalless just once in this span.
- No team has scored more goals from headers this season in the Hyundai A-League than Perth Glory (7), while Victory sit third in this category (5).
Ins and outs
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Matt ACTON (GK), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Corey BROWN, 4. Keisuke HONDA, 5. Georg NIEDERMEIER, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Kenny ATHIU, 8.Terry ANTONIS, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.James TROISI, 11.Ola TOIVONEN, 14.Tommy DENG, 15.Raul BAENA, 16.Josh HOPE, 17. James DONACHIE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 24.Elvis KAMSOBA, 25.Anthony LESIOTIS **two to be omitted**
Ins: 2. Storm ROUX (return from injury), 4. Keisuke HONDA (return form injury), 17. James DONACHIE (promoted)
Outs: 21. Carl VALERI (injury)
Unavailable: Jai INGHAM (quad – TBC)
Perth Glory squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jason DAVIDSON, 4.Shane LOWRY, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 9.Andy KEOGH, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 13.Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 17.Diego CASTRO, 19.Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20.Jake BRIMMER, 22.Fabio FERREIRA, 23.Scott NEVILLE, 27.JUANDE, 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 88.Neil KILKENNY **two to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 22.Fabio FERREIRA,
Unavailable: 2.Alex GRANT (thigh – 1 week)
How to watch
It's a massive top-of-the-table clash to bring the curtain down on Round 18. Be at AAMI Park by CLICKING HERE.