Match preview: Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix
This one has classic written all over it as Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix look set to repeat their high-quality encounter back in Round 10.
While only two goals were scored at AAMI Park, the sides simply couldn’t be split in a match that had a real finals intensity to it.
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Four rounds later and this much-anticipated second bout is just around the corner with both teams continuing their winning ways.
Victory made another emphatic statement of their title credentials, thumping Brisbane Roar 5-0 at Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday night.
With Kosta Barabrouses scoring a sublime hat-trick - and James Troisi at his creative best - Victory have seemingly overcome the absence of marquee man Keisuke Honda with relative ease.
Aside from a 2-0 loss away to Adelaide United, they have managed to pick up some hard-fought wins and remain in touch with league-leaders Perth Glory.
The Phoenix meanwhile have been on a roller-coaster ride in recent weeks, emerging victorious in some crazy games.
This season’s entertainers came from behind twice in the space of two weeks to beat Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast Mariners 3-2 on each occasion.
Mark Rudan’s men will probably have to be more defensively sound at AAMI Park against a Victory side who can quickly put the game beyond reach for anyone in the Hyundai A-League.
Key Opta stats
- Three of the last four A-League games between Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix have been won by the team trailing at half-time.
- Melbourne Victory have lost their last two Hyundai A-League games immediately after having scored five or more goals in a game. The last time they backed up a five-goal performance with another win was in November 2014 with a 2-0 win against Wellington Phoenix.
- The Phoenix are undefeated in their last four Hyundai A-League games away from home. The last and only previous time they won more was a club record-equalling five-game stretch from March to October in 2015.
Ins and outs
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Matt ACTON (GK), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Corey BROWN, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Kenny ATHIU, 8.Terry ANTONIS, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.James TROISI, 11.Ola TOIVONEN, 13.Birkan KIRDAR, 14.Tommy DENG, 15.Raul BAENA, 16.Josh HOPE, 19.Rahmat AKBARI, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21.Carl VALERI (C), 24.Elvis KAMSOBA, 25.Anthony LESIOTIS **two to be omitted**
Ins: 7. Kenny ATHIU (promoted), 13. Birkan KIRDAR (promoted)
Unavailable: Jai INGHAM (quad – TBC), Keisuke HONDA (Hamstring – 2 weeks), Nick ANSELL (Hamstring – TBC), Georg NIEDERMEIER (Calf – TBC)
Wellington Phoenix Squad: 1.Filip KURTO (gk), 4.Mandi SOSA, 6.Dylan FOX, 7.Cillian SHERIDAN, 9.Nathan BURNS, 11.David WILLIAMS, 13.Liberato CACACE, 14.Alex Rufer, 15.Michal KOPZCYNSKI, 16.Louis FENTON, 18.Sarpreet SINGH, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Max BURGESS, 27.Steven TAYLOR **two to be omitted**
Ins: 4.Mandi SOSA (return from suspension), 6.Dylan FOX (promoted), 14.Alex RUFER (return from suspension), 9.Nathan BURNS (promoted)
Outs: 5.Ryan LOWRY (not selected), 17.Callan ELLIOT (not selected)
How to watch
Tune in to FOX SPORTS 505 to catch Sunday's enticing contest, which kicks off at 5:00pm (AEDT). You can also stream it live on the MyFootball Live App.
Secure your tickets for his much-hyped match here!