Preview: Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Sydney and Melbourne have had a magnificent rivalry since the very start of the Hyundai A-League.
Date: Saturday August 16 Kick-off (local time): 7:00pm AEST Venue: Sydney Football Stadium TV and Radio: TV. Live & Exclusive Fox Sports 3 (www.foxsports.com.au) - Match broadcast commences 6.30pm AEST (6.00pm ACST, 4.30pm AWST), Sky Sports 3 (www.skytv.co.nz) - Match broadcast commences 9.00pm NZST.
Head-to-head Nine Hyundai A-League meetings: Melbourne - 4 wins, Sydney - 1 win, 4 draws
Previous Hyundai A-League meeting Sydney FC 2, Melbourne Victory 2, Round 21, January 2008
Pre-Season Cup Results Sydney Round 1: Sydney FC 2, Queensland Roar 1, Campbelltown Stadium, Saturday July 19 Round 2: Central Coast Mariners 3 Sydney FC 0, Central Coast Stadium, Sunday July 26 Round 3: Sydney FC 2, Wellington Phoenix 3, Wollongong, Saturday August 1
Melbourne: Round 1: Melbourne Victory 1 Adelaide United 2, Aurora Stadium, Sunday July 20 Round 2: Perth Glory 0 Melbourne Victory 1, Members Equity Stadium, Saturday July 26 Round 3: Newcastle Jets 0 Melbourne Victory 1, Port Macquarie, Saturday August 2 Final: Wellington Phoenix 0, Melbourne Victory 0, Wellington, Wednesday August 5 (Melbourne won 8-7 on penalties)
Analysis Sydney and Melbourne have had a magnificent rivalry since the very start of the Hyundai A-League. That has only been enhanced by John Kosmina's appointment as Sydney coach, with the former Reds coach the chief protagonist in the rivalry between Adelaide and Melbourne in the first two seasons.
Kosmina's proclamation that his new-look side deserve to be short-priced favourites early this week has added even more spice to this contest, not to mention the fact that Sydney, in its nine previous matches against Melbourne has only managed one win.
Three of Sydney's big-name signings in the off-season won't play in this match with John Aloisi still sidelined by a foot injury and former Newcastle boys Stuart Musialik and Mark Bridge not back in time from Olympic duty. Unavailable through suspension are Mitchell Prentice, Alex Brosque and Dez Giraldi.
Simon Colosimo comes in for his first match for the Sky Blues, as does exciting prospect Chris Payne. First-choice keeper Clint Bolton comes back from injury while Shannon Cole and Robbie Mileski have also been included. Melbourne skipper Kevin Muscat will play in this match after missing the pre-season with a hamstring injury, while Steve Pantelidis is also into a 17-man squad, which interestingly, also includes two Olympic representatives Leigh Broxham and Billy Celeski, who will arrive back on the eve of the game.
No such luck for Archie Thompson, who picked up an ankle injury against Argentina, while Nick Ward is out with a calf strain. Grant Brebner and Daniel Vasilevski are set to miss a few weeks through injury.
Melbourne has done well to avoid injuries during a tough, but ultimately successful Pre-Season Cup campaign. The only concern is how all the travel - this is its fifth straight match out of Victoria - will affect the Victory. However, there is a real sense of optimism around the club that the new signings, in particular, Michael Thwaite, Jose Luis Lopez and Ney Fabiano, will make them a much tougher team this time around.
Sydney FC Squad: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Iain FYFE, 3. Nick TSATTALIOS, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 6. Tony POPOVIC, 7. Robbie MIDDLEBY, 10. Steve CORICA, 12. Shannon COLE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 16. Chris PAYNE, 17. Jacob TIMPANO, 18. Adam CASEY, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 21. Adam BIDDLE, 24. Ryan WALSH, 25. Robbie MILESKI. *One to be omitted
In. Simon Colosimo (return suspension), Chris Payne (new signing), Clint Bolton (return from injury), Shannon Cole (new signing), Robbie Mileski (replacement player)
Out. John Filan (trial period ended), Chris Van Leur (trial period ended), Alex Brosque (suspended - 1 week), Mitchell Prentice (suspended - 2 weeks) and Dez Giraldi (suspended - 1 week)
Unavailable. Stuart Musialik (national team duty) Mark Bridge (national team duty), John Aloisi (foot injury - 1 week), Brendon Santalab (thigh injury - 2 weeks) and Mike Enfield (knee injury - 6 weeks)
Melbourne Victory Squad. 1.Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (Captain), 3.Michael THWAITE, 4.Steven PACE, 5.Sebastian RYALL, 6.Steve PANTELIDIS, 7.Matthew KEMP, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 11.NEY FABIANO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13.Nathan ELASI, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Jose Luis LOPEZ, 18.Leigh BROXHAM, 19.Evan BERGER, 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk).
*Three to be omitted
In. Kevin Muscat (return from injury), Steve Pantelidis (returned from injury), Billy Celeski (return from national team duty), Leigh Broxham (return from national team duty)
Out. Nick Ward (calf - 1 week)
Unavailable: Grant Brebner (groin - 2 weeks), Archie Thompson (ankle - 2 weeks), Daniel Vasilevski (hip - 4 weeks)