Preview: Melbourne Victory v Gold Coast United
Strap yourself in for this huge battle between finals rivals as Victory seek the scalp of free-scoring Gold Coast
Melbourne Victory v Gold Coast United Sunday 30th January 5:00pm
Strap yourself in for this huge battle between finals rivals as Victory seek the scalp of free-scoring Gold Coast United.
It's the last time that Melbourne Victory will turn out at AAMI Park in the regular season, so get along and give your boys the support they need to push on and make one of those top six places their own. While Ernie Merrick-s men are well positioned to end the season on a high, their home form can be inconsistent, so they need another huge crowd to turn up and, as always, get 100 per cent behind them on Sunday afternoon in what will surely be the toughest of tests.
In this six-pointer, Victory will be keen to avoid a repeat of the last time they played at AAMI Park. Then, it ended in massive disappointment for the home faithful. Having beaten Adelaide ten times in a row, it seemed to be a home banker, but The Reds ended their drought in emphatic fashion, stuffing their hosts 4-1.
As if being humbled at home wasn-t bad enough, Ernie Merrick-s day was made even worse by the fact that Kevin Muscat was red-carded on 65 minutes, while Adrian Leijer picked up a groin injury. Since then, they-ve suffered more disappointment in Melbourne, after letting a 2-0 lead slip in a derby thriller at Etihad Stadium. With the blue and whites flying out of the traps, you would have put your house on them going on to pick up three crucial points, but they allowed their cross-city rivals to get back into it through John Aloisi-s goals either side of half-time in front of a in front of a record 32,231 crowd.
To make matters worse, captain Kevin Muscat was once again red-carded after his awful challenge on Heart-s Adrian Zahra. Still, to look on the positive side, Victory worked really hard to hold on for a draw despite being at a numerical disadvantage.
Now, Ernie Merrick-s side have the chance to get their home form back on track - and also take points from one of their top-six rivals - with the first of two home games in four days. But they-ll face a tough opponent in Gold Coast United, who are flying, having struck ten goals in the last three games and picked up seven points from a possible nine. Their last match saw them destroy Newcastle Jets in front of a record 14,738 crowd last Saturday night.
And so Victory - minus the banned Muscat - will certainly need to be wary of a dynamite United front-line on Sunday. With Shane Smeltz having a 100 per cent scoring record since returning to The Beach and in-form striker Bruce Djite hitting a brilliant hat trick against Jets, they will be bursting with confidence as they take on a Melbourne defence that, as last weekend proved, is far from watertight. With this in mind, will Miron Bleiberg once again field a three-pronged attack, or will we see a more typical counter-attacking away display?
Whatever formation the visitors play, they are sure to make it very tough for Melbourne, so it-s up to the home fans to once again turn out in force. The atmosphere at Etihad last week was absolutely mind-blowing, so anything like that level of noise, colour and passion will go some way towards helping Victory prevail this tricky encounter.
Get yourself down to AAMI Park for Melbourne Victory-s last game at this stadium in the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season and get ready for a nail-biter against a side in irresistible form.
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