Preview: Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United
This intriguing battle of two of the form teams of the competition featured more than just a few layers.
Date: Friday September 12 Kick-off (local time): 8:00pm AEST Venue: Telstra Dome TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 2 and Sky Sports 3. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is FRESH FM (Adelaide). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketmaster.com.au
Head-to-head 12 A-League matches: Melbourne Victory - 4 wins, Adelaide United - 5 wins, Draws - 3
Previous meeting Melbourne Victory 2, Adelaide United 2, Telstra Dome, Round 16, December 2007
Results so far Melbourne: Round 1: Sydney FC 0, Melbourne Victory 0, SFS Round 2: Wellington Phoenix 2, Melbourne Victory 4, Westpac Stadium Round 3: Melbourne Victory 5, Newcastle Jets 0, Telstra Dome
Adelaide: Round 1: Adelaide United 1 Perth Glory 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 2: Queensland Roar 1, Adelaide United 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 3: Adelaide United 3, Wellington Phoenix 0, Hindmarsh Stadium
Analysis This intriguing battle of two of the form teams of the competition featured more than just a few layers. Over the short life of the Hyundai A-League these two teams have developed if not the biggest than one of the biggest rivalries in the competition.
The high point for Melbourne was clearly the 6-0 drubbing it handed out to Adelaide in the 2006/07 Grand Final, while the Reds got a measure of revenge with a 4-1 win in their first clash last year. Melbourne and Adelaide matches have featured some of the most memorable and controversial moments in the A-League and with both teams flying high, this looms as a blockbuster.
Melbourne has scored nine goals in its past two matches and the consummate ease in which it dismissed defending champion Newcastle in Round 3 stamped them as a real contender. Danny Allsopp scored two goals, Archie Thompson and Carlos Hernandez and Grant Brebner scored the others.
Merrick backed his players to play attacking football and they delivered with emphatic results. The integration of the new players into the teams has been seamless. However, two of those players, Jose Luis Lopez and Michael Thwaite will be missing from this match through international commitments and injury respectively.
Nick Ward will miss another two weeks with a recurrence of a calf injury, while in come Sebastian Ryall, likely to replace Thwaite at the back, Leigh Broxham and Stephen Pace.
Aurelio Vidmar's side have strung together a succession of games without defeat which now totals 13. That impressive effort has been based on the rock solid defence, which is sure to be fully tested if Melbourne elects to play all four attacking players.
Cristiano looms as a key player in this match having scored twice against Melbourne in the Pre-Season Cup and then twice against Wellington in Round 3. Paul Agostino continues to improve his fitness and is sure to be dangerous. Diego returns for this match along with Daniel Mullen, but Alemao has a groin injury and will miss.
Having played each other 12 times, there is little to separate these teams, with Adelaide just ahead on the head-to-head ledger with five wins to Melbourne's four. Melbourne has won two and lost one of the four matches at Telstra Dome against the Reds.
Melbourne Victory Squad 1.Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (Captain), 4.Steven PACE, 5. Sebastian RYALL, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.NEY FABIANO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 18.Leigh BROXHAM, 19.Evan BERGER, 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk).
*One to be omitted.
In. Steven PACE (promoted), Leigh BROXHAM (promoted), Sebastian RYALL (promoted). Out. Jose Luis LOPEZ (international duty - 1 week), 3.Michael THWAITE (injured - ankle, one week). Unavailable. Nick WARD (calf - 1 week).
Adelaide United Squad. 20. Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2. Robert CORNTHWAITE, 4. Angelo COSTANZO, 7. Lucas PANTELIS, 9. Paul AGOSTINO, 10.CRISTIANO, 13.Travis DODD (capt.), 14. Scott JAMIESON, 15.Jonas SALLEY, 16. Daniel MULLEN, 18. Fabian BARBIERO, 19. Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 22. DIEGO, 24. Paul REID, 30 Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk).
In. Diego (returns from injury), Daniel Mullen. Out. Alemao (groin - 2 week). Unavailable. Daniel Beltrame (knee - season), Isyan Erdogan (hamstring - indefinite).