Preview: Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar
Date: Saturday August 15, Kick-off: 7:30pm AEST Melbourne heads into it second consecutive home game to start the season looking to get it’s championship defence off the mark after a spluttering 2-0 opening defeat to Central Coast.
Date: Saturday August 15 Kick-off: 7:30pm AEST Venue: Etihad Stadium TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 3. To purchase tickets visit www.ticketmaster.com.au
Head-to-head 12 Hyundai A-League meetings: Wins: Melbourne 7, Brisbane 4, Draws - 1
Previous meeting Melbourne Victory 2, Queensland Roar 1, Etihad Stadium, Round 17, January 2009
Season so far: Melbourne Victory: Round 1: Melbourne Victory 0, Central Coast Mariners 2, Etihad Stadium
Brisbane Roar: Round 1: Brisbane Roar 1, Gold Coast United 3, Suncorp Stadium
Analysis: Melbourne heads into it second consecutive home game to start the season looking to get it-s championship defence off the mark after a spluttering 2-0 opening defeat to Central Coast. Brisbane too is looking for its first points of the campaign after losing to Gold Coast first up.
It's hardly the formline you-d expect from two teams which finished first and third last season, but they have both received reminders that reputations count for little in Hyundai A-League season 5.0 and reputation count for little.
Melbourne was made to pay for a very sluggish start against the Mariners, conceding two goals inside the first 15 minutes before being unable to get back into the game. Both goals had an ounce of fortune, but the Mariners did well to pounce on their chances.
The disappointing aspects for Melbourne were the way it defended in the first half and the way it attacked in the second. Uncharacteristically, Victory gave the Mariners too much room to work with in the first 45, while poor finishing cost them any chance of getting back into the match.
To add injury to insult, Kevin Muscat tore a hamstring and he will miss between 4-6 matches, including this one. Surat Sukha, the Thai international, comes in to the squad, while Matthew Kemp will move into the centre of defence as cover. There are three or four players contending for the spot in the right side of defence, including Nick Ward and Leigh Broxham.
That's the only change to the Melbourne squad, but Carlos Hernandez and Evan Berger both left the training track early on Thursday.
The Roar's first-up loss was also a lesson in the value of finishing. Gold Coast won the match 3-1 despite having just seven shots on goal to Brisbane's 13. The Roar dominated the first half, but trailed 1-0 at half time and in the end were overwhelmed with the new club's swift ball-movement and classy finishing proving too much. The Brisbane goal came from a penalty in injury time.
The other cost from that match was a long-term injury to Andrew Packer, who is set to miss 2-3 months with an adductor tear. David Dodd and Matt Mundy have both been promoted into the squad.
Bob Malcolm and Craig Moore will shoulder much of the defensive load against a dangerous Melbourne attack. Their partnership needs some work, but they will get some help in terms of stopping the supply from Danny Tiatto who was in great form last week. Hernandez will be having a few nightmares about the experienced Roar anchor this week, knowing that he will be in for a torrid night.
Victory has won the past two encounters against the Roar, including a 2-1 win in January, where the Roar really struggled with Melbourne's attack. But Farina may look back to the first encounter last season, when his side's speed down the flanks troubled Melbourne greatly and Tahj Minniecon (now with Gold Coast) and Michael Zullo scored late goals for a 2-0 win at Etihad Stadium.
Robbie Kruse was preferred to Zullo last week, while Mitch Nichols had a frustrating evening. It will be interesting to see if Farina opts for the two wingers in combination with Sergio van Dijk, in order to exploit Melbourne's lack of experience out wide, particularly on the right, or whether he gives Nichols another shot.
It will be a match of high stakes given both sides are desperate for a win. Melbourne always hold an edge at home, but the absence of Muscat may even things out in what should be a very close match.
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 5.Surat SUHKA, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.NEY FABIANO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS (c), 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 19.Evan BERGER, 20.Glen MOSS (gk), 22.Nick WARD In: 5. Surat SUHKA (promoted) Out: 2. Kevin MUSCAT (hamstring - 4-6 weeks) Unavailable: Nil
Brisbane Roar: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 3. Luke DEVERE, 4. Craig MOORE (c), 5. Josh McCLOUGHAN, 6. David DODD, 7. Michael ZULLO, 9. Sergio VAN DIJK, 10. Charlie MILLER, 12. Matt MUNDY, 13. HENRIQUE, 15. Matt McKAY, 16. Bob MALCOLM, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Danny TIATTO, 20. Griffin McMASTER (rgk), 24. Robbie KRUSE. *one to be omitted
In: 6. David DODD (promoted), 12. Matt MUNDY (promoted) Out: 2. Andrew PACKER (torn adductor 2-3 months) Unavailable: Massimo Murdocca (fractured leg - 3-4 months)