Preview: Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory

Erase Racism

Another week another huge match in the Hyundai A-League: bitter state enemies and finals rivals the Reds and Victory meet in the City of Churches for a showdown of epic proportions.

MATCH DETAILS

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Coopers Stadium, Adelaide

Kick-Off: 7:00 PM (Local) (7:30 PM AEDT)

SQUADS:

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (GK) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 5.Osama MALIK, 7.PABLO SÁNCHEZ, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Bruce DJITE, 14.Cameron WATSON, 16.Craig GOODWIN, 18.Jimmy JEGGO, 19.Miguel PALANCA, 20.Paul IZZO (GK), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 24.Bruce KAMAU, 32.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS 
***two to be omitted***

Ins: 14.Cameron WATSON (promoted), 32.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 17.Awer MABIL (quadricep – 2-3 weeks), 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – indefinite)

Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Nathan COE (GK), 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Mark MILLIGAN (c), 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.Connor PAIN, 13.Andrew NABBOUT, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21.Carl VALERI, 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 24.Scott GALLOWAY

***two to be omitted***

Ins: 2.Jason GERIA (returns form injury), 13.Andrew NABBOUT (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES (injury)

TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.30pm (AEDT)

Radio Broadcast: Full call - online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app. Second half or when cricket from NZ is finished – 891 ABC Adelaide, ABC Local Radio SA & Grandstand Digital Adelaide

Hashtag: #ADLvMVC

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Referee: Peter Green

Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream

Assistant Referee 2: Paul Cetrangolo

Fourth Official: Rick Schneider

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

By far the biggest game of #EraseRacism Round 22 is the showdown between Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory at Coopers Stadium on Saturday night.

The Big V go into the weekend third on the table, two points behind league leaders Wellington Phoenix, while the Reds are one point worse off than their visitors in fifth spot.

With seven rounds of the season remaining and just three points separating the top five teams, there's still everything to play for.

And the fact that Adelaide and Victory are both in contention for the premiership and the title adds importance to what is always an eagerly anticipated contest between these two traditional rivals.

The Reds haven't been able to beat the Big V in five meetings since Josep Gombau took charge in South Australia, a hoodoo which the home side will be keen to shake before a potential finals meeting between these two.

Victory meanwhile will be determined to maintain their stranglehold on the fixture and pick up important points before losing a host of players to international duty in the coming weeks. 

OPTA DATA

- Adelaide have won none of their last five meetings with Victory (D2 L3), conceding 13 goals in the process.

- Victory have won none of their last six away games against Adelaide (D2 L4).

- United are unbeaten in four home games (W3 D1), scoring 12 goals in that run.

- Meanwhile, Victory have lost none of their last four on the road (W2 D2), scoring 11 goals in that time.

- No side has conceded fewer goals than Adelaide this season (24).

- Victory have scored 43 goals this season, more than any other side.

ROUTE TO GOAL

Playmaker Marcelo Carrusca is Adelaide's attacking fulcrum but the Argentine will be well guarded by Mark Milligan and Carl Valeri on Saturday night, meaning Jimmy Jeggo must  contribute going forward against his former club, even if it's just to draw attention away from the creator in chief.

Victory can be caught out down the flanks and with quick balls over the top. 

With that in mind, the Reds could well look to the pacy Miguel Palanca, Pablo Sanchez, Sergio Cirio and Craig Goodwin to get in behind Scott Galloway and Daniel Georgievski respectively before cutting it back for centre-forward Bruce Djite, who is set for a physical tussle with Matthieu Delpierre.

Victory meanwhile will press Adelaide's back four aggressively in an attempt to disrupt their patient build-up. 

Guilherme Finkler will pull the strings behind Besart Berisha and Archie Thompson will deputise for the injured Kosta Barbarouses, but it's Fahid Ben Khalfallah, who produced one of the performances of the season in Victory's win away to the Western Sydney Wanderers last time out, who looms as the away team's biggest threat.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

It's been a good couple of weeks for Osama Malik, who returned to fitness ahead of schedule and signed a new deal keeping him at Coopers Stadium for two more seasons. 

Versatile, technically gifted and mobile, the utility player has flourished under Gombau and will need to be at his best on Saturday to keep the dangerous visitors quiet.