Preview: Adelaide Utd v Melbourne Victory
Adelaide United finished last week on a high with its 0-1 result against Bunyodkor earning it a place in the AFC Champions League final while a 2-1 win over Perth Glory seeing it move to the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder.
Date: Friday October 31 Kick-off: 7.30pm local (8pm AEST) Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and Sky Sport 2. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is FRESH FM (Adelaide) and SEN (Melbourne) 1116AM. To purchase tickets visit www.venuetix.com.au
Head-to-head 13 Hyundai A-League meetings: Adelaide - 5 wins, Melbourne - 5 wins, Draws - 3
Previous meeting Melbourne 1, Adelaide United 0, Telstra Dome, Round 4, September 12 2008
Past Five Games Adelaide: Round 5: Sydney FC 3, Adelaide United 0, Sydney Football Stadium Round 6: Adelaide United 2, Newcastle Jets 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 7: Adelaide United 3, Central Coast Mariners 3, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 8: Queensland Roar 0, Adelaide 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 9: Adelaide United 2, Perth Glory 1, Hindmarsh Stadium
Melbourne: Round 5: Central Coast Mariners 2, Melbourne Victory 2, Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium Round 6: Melbourne Victory 0, Queensland Roar 2, Telstra Dome Round 7: Melbourne 4, Perth Glory 0, Telstra Dome Round 8: Newcastle Jets 1, Melbourne Victory 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 9: Melbourne Victory 0, Sydney FC 2, Telstra Dome
Analysis Adelaide United finished last week on a high with its 0-1 result against Bunyodkor earning it a place in the AFC Champions League final while a 2-1 win over Perth Glory seeing it move to the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder.
It won the second of those clashes with captain Travis Dodd and Cassio starting on the bench and with Ang Costanzo and Eugene Galekovic watching from the stands. Michael Valkanis, Jonas Salley and Robbie Younis enjoyed some valuable game time while 17-year-old goalkeeper Mark Birighitti continued to impress with another solid defensive performance.
Galekovic, who could be seen wincing and hobbling during the Reds' ACL game in Uzbekistan, will miss his second consecutive A-League clash with a hope his groin will have recovered enough to play in Japan. Midfielder Paul Reid is also struggling with a groin injury and won't play. But apart from their absence, United will be looking to get all hands on deck against their rivals the Melbourne Victory.
Costanzo returns to the fold after resting his weary body against Perth while Jason Spagnuolo has overcome a virus and will be looking to cement a spot in the starting line-up.
The Victory's 6-0 Grand Final victory over the Reds always sticks in the minds of supporters but overall the teams have been evenly matched during their history, both sides recording five victories.
Back in Round 4, Melbourne's Kevin Muscat had a penalty kick stopped but swooped on the rebound to give his side the edge in 2008-09. The clash featured the usual friction and Ney Fabiano is still sitting in the naughty corner for his indiscretion in that game.
But United coach Aurelio Vidmar says his side has improved since then and is hardened after so many games on the road with the ACL.
Their Brazilians Cristiano and Alemao have grown in confidence and touch while Robbie Cornthwaite and Scott Jamieson are in career-best form.
Life hasn't been as easy for Melbourne Victory having lost three of its last four games, with the slump seeing them slip to third place.
The club would downplay the loss of Fabiano and Archie Thompson but their suspensions have been costly while the quad injury to Carlos Hernandez is a further blow for a team trying to arrest a slide. Nathan Elasi and Sebastian Ryall are also away on Socceroos duties.
It's backs to the wall stuff for the Victorian side but the positive is it does open up opportunities for the squad's young or second-tier players. National Youth League captain Mathew Theodore will start on the bench but could add some spark in attack if he gets the call up.
And Matthew Kemp is keen to put some indifferent form behind him and have an impact against his old club.
Meanwhile Muscat is always public enemy number one at Hindmarsh Stadium and he should milk that for all its worth against players that'll be keen to stay out of trouble and out of harm's way.
A physical presence against some of the team's young defenders is sure to shake up the home side and leave them vulnerable.
But the Victory will have to improve dramatically on its past month if they are to return to the winner's circle.
Expect the Reds to continue on their merry way with a tight and hard-fought win.
Adelaide United Squad. 30.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.ALEMAO, 4.Angelo COSTANZO, 5.Michael VALKANIS, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 8.Kristian SARKIES, 10.CRISTIANO, 13.Travis DODD (capt.), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 15.Jonas SALLEY, 19.Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 21.Jason SPAGNUOLO, 22.DIEGO, 25.Robert YOUNIS, 40.Lucas ANDREUCCI (gk).
*Two to be omitted.
In. Jason Spagnuolo (returns from illness), Angelo COSTANZO (promoted). Out. Nil.
Unavailable. Daniel MULLEN (international duty), Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (groin - 1 week), Paul REID (groin - 1 week), Fabian BARBIERO (calf - 1 week), Paul AGOSTINO (calf - 4 weeks), Daniel BELTRAME (knee - season), Isyan ERDOGAN (hamstring - indefinite).
Melbourne Victory Squad. 1.Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (Captain), 3.Michael THWAITE, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 17.Jose Luis LOPEZ, 18.Leigh BROXHAM, 19.Evan BERGER, 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 22.Nick WARD, 24.Mathew THEODORE.
In. Mathew THEODORE (promoted from National Youth League). Out. Carlos HERNANDEZ (quad - 3 weeks).
Unavailable. NEY FABIANO (suspended - 1 match), Nathan ELASI (international duty - 3 weeks), Sebastian RYALL (international duty - 3 weeks), Archie THOMPSON (suspended - 1 match).